Diltiazem is a calcium channel blocker that works to relax the muscles of the heart and blood vessels. It is used to treat hypertension, angina and heart rhythm disorders. This drug makes it easier for the heart to pump blood, thus reducing stress on the heart. Diltiazem is sold under the names Cardizem, Cardizem CD, Cardizem LA, Cardizem SR, Cartia XT, Dilacor XR, Diltia XT and Tiazac. It has also been prescribed for off-label uses and is thought to reduce cocaine cravings in men.
Recent studies have discovered a link between Diltiazem and infertility in men. The drug has been seen to slow down sperm and decrease its potency. It can also increase the cholesterol level of the sperm, making it difficult to bind to an egg. Because of this effect, some doctors have used it as a vase irrigation at the time of vasectomy. Although some doctors believe that this side effect can be reversed after discontinuing the use of Diltiazem, others believe that this side effect could be permanent.
Serious side effects may include:
- A red, blistering skin rash
- Swelling in your hands or feet
- Trouble breathing
- Slow heartbeats
- Dizziness, fainting, fast or pounding heartbeat
- Upper stomach pain, itching, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes)
- Severe skin reaction — fever, sore throat, swelling in your face or tongue, burning in your eyes, skin pain, followed by a red or purple skin rash that spreads (especially in the face or upper body) and causes blistering and peeling
Less serious side effects may include:
- Dizziness, weakness, tired feeling
- Upset stomach, nausea
- Sore Throat, cough, stuffy nose
- Flushing (warmth, redness, or tingly feeling)