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Mechanism Of Action
The therapeutic effects of diltiazem are believed to be related to its ability to inhibit the cellular influx of calcium ions during membrane depolarization of cardiac and vascular smooth muscle.
Diltiazem produces its antihypertensive effect primarily by relaxation of vascular smooth muscle and the resultant decrease in peripheral vascular resistance. The magnitude of blood pressure reduction is related to the degree of hypertension; thus hypertensive individuals experience an antihypertensive effect, whereas there is only a modest fall in blood pressure in normotensives.
Diltiazem has been shown to produce increases in exercise tolerance, probably due to its ability to reduce myocardial oxygen demand. This is accomplished via reductions in heart rate and systemic blood pressure at submaximal and maximal workloads. Diltiazem has been shown to be a potent dilator of coronary arteries, both epicardial and subendocardial. Spontaneous and ergonovine-induced coronary artery spasm are inhibited by diltiazem.
In animal models, diltiazem interferes with the slow inward (depolarizing) current in excitable tissue. Diltiazem causes excitation-contraction uncoupling in various myocardial. Diltiazem produces relaxation of coronary vascular smooth muscle and dilation of both large and small coronary arteries at drug levels which cause little or no negative inotropic effect. The resultant increases in coronary blood flow (epicardial and subendocardial) occur in ischemic and nonischemic models and are accompanied by dose-dependent decreases in systemic blood pressure and decreases in peripheral resistance.
Like other calcium channel antagonists, diltiazem decreases sinoatrial and atrioventricular conduction in isolated tissues and has a negative inotropic effect in isolated preparations. In the intact animal, prolongation of the AH interval can be seen at higher doses.
In man, diltiazem prevents spontaneous and ergonovine-provoked coronary artery spasm. It causes a decrease in peripheral vascular resistance and a modest fall in blood pressure in normotensive individuals and, in exercise tolerance studies in patients with ischemic heart disease, reduces the heart rate-blood pressure product for any given work load. Studies to date, primarily in patients with good ventricular function, have not revealed evidence of a negative inotropic effect; cardiac output, ejection fraction, and left ventricular end diastolic pressure have not been affected. Such data have no predictive value with respect to effects in patients with poor ventricular function, and increased heart failure has been reported in patients with preexisting impairment of ventricular function. There are as yet few data on the interaction of diltiazem and beta-blockers in patients with poor ventricular function. Resting heart rate is usually slightly reduced by diltiazem. Diltiazem decreases vascular resistance, increases cardiac output (by increasing stroke volume), and produces a slight decrease or no change in heart rate.
During dynamic exercise, increases in diastolic pressure are inhibited, while maximum achievable systolic pressure is usually reduced. Chronic therapy with diltiazem produces no change or an increase in plasma catecholamines. No increased activity of the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone axis has been observed. Diltiazem reduces the renal and peripheral effects of angiotensin II. Hypertensive animal models respond to diltiazem with reductions in blood pressure and increased urinary output and natriuresis without a change in urinary sodium/potassium ratio.
Intravenous diltiazem hydrochloride 20 mg prolongs AH conduction time and AV node functional and effective refractory periods by approximately 20%. In a study involving single oral doses of diltiazem hydrochloride 300 mg in six normal volunteers, the average maximum PR prolongation was 14% with no instances of greater than first-degree AV block. Diltiazem associated prolongation of the AH interval is not more pronounced in patients with first-degree heart block. In patients with sick sinus syndrome, diltiazem significantly prolongs sinus cycle length (up to 50% in some cases).
Chronic oral administration of diltiazem hydrochloride to patients in doses of up to 540 mg/day has resulted in small increases in PR interval, and on occasion produces abnormal prolongation [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].
Diltiazem is well absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract and is subject to an extensive first-pass effect, giving an absolute bioavailability (compared to intravenous administration) of about 40%. Diltiazem undergoes extensive metabolism in which only 2% to 4% of the unchanged drug appears in the urine. Drugs that induce or inhibit hepatic microsomal enzymes may alter diltiazem disposition.
Total radioactivity measurement following short IV administration in healthy volunteers suggests the presence of other unidentified metabolites, which attain higher concentrations than those of diltiazem and are more slowly eliminated; half-life of total radioactivity is about 20 hours compared to 2 to 5 hours for diltiazem.
In vitro binding studies show diltiazem is 70% to 80% bound to plasma proteins. Competitive in vitro ligand binding studies have also shown diltiazem hydrochloride binding is not altered by therapeutic concentrations of digoxin, hydrochlorothiazide, phenylbutazone, propranolol, salicylic acid, or warfarin. The plasma elimination half-life following single or multiple drug administration is approximately 3.0 to 4.5 hours. Desacetyl diltiazem is also present in the plasma at levels of 10% to 20% of the parent drug and is 25% to 50% as potent as a coronary vasodilator as diltiazem. Minimum therapeutic plasma diltiazem concentrations appear to be in the range of 50 to 200 ng/mL. There is a departure from linearity when dose strengths are increased; the half-life is slightly increased with dose. A study that compared patients with normal hepatic function to patients with cirrhosis found an increase in half-life and a 69% increase in bioavailability in the hepatically impaired patients. A single study in nine patients with severely impaired renal function showed no difference in the pharmacokinetic profile of diltiazem compared to patients with normal renal function.
CARDIZEM LA Tablets. A single 360 mg dose of CARDIZEM LA results in detectable plasma levels within 3 to 4 hours and peak plasma levels between 11 and 18 hours; absorption occurs throughout the dosing interval. The apparent elimination half-life for CARDIZEM LA Tablets after single or multiple dosing is 6 to 9 hours. When CARDIZEM LA Tablets were coadministered with a high fat content breakfast, diltiazem peak and systemic exposures were not affected indicating that the tablet can be administered without regard to food. As the dose of CARDIZEM LA Tablets is increased from 120 to 240 mg, area-under-the-curve increases 2.5-fold.
Impact Of Diltiazem On Other Co-Administered Drugs
Anesthetics: The depression of cardiac contractility, conductivity, and automaticity as well as the vascular dilation associated with anesthetics may be potentiated by calcium channel blockers. When used concomitantly, anesthetics and calcium blockers should be titrated carefully.
Benzodiazepines: Studies showed that diltiazem increased the AUC of midazolam and triazolam by 3-to 4-fold and the Cmax by 2-fold, compared to placebo. The elimination half-life of midazolam and triazolam also increased (1.5-to 2.5fold) during coadministration with diltiazem. These pharmacokinetic effects seen during diltiazem coadministration can result in increased clinical effects (e.g., prolonged sedation) of both midazolam and triazolam.
Beta-blockers: Controlled and uncontrolled domestic studies suggest that concomitant use of diltiazem and beta-blockers is usually well tolerated, but available data are not sufficient to predict the effects of concomitant treatment in patients with left ventricular dysfunction or cardiac conduction abnormalities.
Administration of diltiazem concomitantly with propranolol in five normal volunteers resulted in increased propranolol levels in all subjects and bioavailability of propranolol was increased approximately 50%. In vitro, propranolol appears to be displaced from its binding sites by diltiazem. If combination therapy is initiated or withdrawn in conjunction with propranolol, an adjustment in the propranolol dose may be warranted [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].
Buspirone: In nine healthy subjects, diltiazem significantly increased the mean buspirone AUC 5.5-fold and Cmax 4.1-fold compared to placebo. The elimination half-life and Tmax of buspirone were not significantly affected by diltiazem. Enhanced effects and increased toxicity of buspirone may be possible during concomitant administration with diltiazem. Subsequent dose adjustments may be necessary during coadministration, and should be based on clinical assessment.
Carbamazepine: Concomitant administration of diltiazem with carbamazepine has been reported to result in elevated serum levels of carbamazepine (40% to 72% increase), resulting in toxicity in some cases.
Clonidine: Sinus bradycardia resulting in hospitalization and pacemaker insertion has been reported in association with the use of clonidine concurrently with diltiazem. Monitor heart rate in patients receiving concomitant diltiazem and clonidine.
Cyclosporine: A pharmacokinetic interaction between diltiazem and cyclosporine has been observed during studies involving renal and cardiac transplant patients. In renal and cardiac transplant recipients, a reduction of cyclosporine dose ranging from 15% to 48% was necessary to maintain cyclosporine trough concentrations similar to those seen prior to the addition of diltiazem. If these agents are to be administered concurrently, cyclosporine concentrations should be monitored, especially when diltiazem therapy is initiated, adjusted, or discontinued. The effect of cyclosporine on diltiazem plasma concentrations has not been evaluated.
Digitalis: Administration of diltiazem with digoxin in 24 healthy male subjects increased plasma digoxin concentrations approximately 20%. Another investigator found no increase in digoxin levels in 12 patients with coronary artery disease. Monitor digoxin levels when initiating, adjusting, and discontinuing diltiazem therapy to avoid possible over-or under-digitalization [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].
Quinidine: Diltiazem increases the AUC (0-∞) of quinidine by 51%, elimination half-life by 36%, and decreases its oral clearance by 33%. Monitor for quinidine adverse effects and adjust the dose adjusted.
Statins: Diltiazem has been shown to increase significantly the AUC of some statins. The risk of myopathy and rhabdomyolysis with statins metabolized by CYP3A4 may be increased with concomitant use of diltiazem. When possible, use a non-CYP3A4-metabolized statin together with diltiazem; otherwise, dose adjustments for both diltiazem and the statin should be considered along with close monitoring for signs and symptoms of any statin related adverse events.
In a healthy volunteer cross-over study (N=10), co-administration of a single 20 mg dose of simvastatin at the end of a 14 day regimen with 120 mg BID diltiazem SR resulted in a 5-fold increase in mean simvastatin AUC versus simvastatin alone. Subjects with increased average steady-state exposures of diltiazem showed a greater fold increase in simvastatin exposure. Computer-based simulations showed that at a daily dose of 480 mg of diltiazem, an 8-to 9-fold mean increase in simvastatin AUC can be expected. If co-administration of simvastatin with diltiazem is required, limit the daily doses of simvastatin to 10 mg and diltiazem to 240 mg.
In a ten-subject randomized, open label, 4-way cross-over study, co-administration of diltiazem (120 mg BID diltiazem SR for 2 weeks) with a single 20 mg dose of lovastatin resulted in 3-to 4-fold increase in mean lovastatin AUC and Cmax versus lovastatin alone. In the same study, there was no significant change in 20 mg single dose pravastatin AUC and Cmax during diltiazem coadministration. Diltiazem plasma levels were not significantly affected by lovastatin or pravastatin.
Impact Of Other Co-Administered Drugs On Diltiazem Include, But Not Limited To:
Coadministration of rifampin with diltiazem lowered the diltiazem plasma concentrations to undetectable levels. Coadministration of diltiazem with rifampin or any known CYP3A4 inducer should be avoided when possible, and alternative therapy considered.
Cimetidine and Ranitidine
A study in six healthy volunteers has shown a significant increase in peak diltiazem plasma levels (58%) and AUC (53%) after a 1-week course of cimetidine at 1200 mg per day and a single dose of diltiazem 60 mg. Ranitidine produced smaller, non-significant increases. The effect may be mediated by cimetidine's known inhibition of hepatic cytochrome P450, the enzyme system responsible for the first-pass metabolism of diltiazem. Patients currently receiving diltiazem therapy should be carefully monitored for a change in pharmacological effect when initiating and discontinuing therapy with cimetidine. An adjustment in the diltiazem dose may be warranted.
In a randomized, double-blind, parallel-group, dose-response study involving 478 patients with essential hypertension, evening doses of CARDIZEM LA 120, 240, 360, and 540 mg were compared to placebo and to 360 mg administered in the morning. The mean reductions in diastolic blood pressure by ABPM at roughly 24 hours after the morning (4 AM to 8 AM) or evening (6 PM to 10 PM) administration (i.e., the time corresponding to expected trough serum concentrations) are shown in the table below:
Mean Change in Trough Diastolic Pressure by ABPM
|Evening Dosing||Morning Dosing|
|120 mg||240 mg||360 mg||540 mg||360 mg|
A second randomized, double-blind, parallel-group, dose-response study (N=258) evaluated CARDIZEM LA following morning doses of placebo or 120, 180, 300, or 540 mg. Diastolic blood pressure measured by supine office cuff sphygmomanometer at trough (7 AM to 9 AM) decreased in an apparently linear manner over the dosage range studied. Group mean changes for placebo, 120 mg, 180 mg, 300 mg and 540 mg were -2.6, -1.9, -5.4, -6.1, and -8.6 mm Hg, respectively.
Whether the time of administration impacts the clinical benefits of antihypertensive treatment is not known.
The effects of CARDIZEM LA on angina were evaluated in a randomized, double-blind, parallel-group, dose-response trial of 311 patients with chronic stable angina. Evening doses of 180, 360, and 420 mg were compared to placebo and to 360 mg administered in the morning. All doses of CARDIZEM LA administered at night increased exercise tolerance when compared with placebo after 21 hours. The mean effect, placebo-subtracted, was 20 to 28 seconds for all three doses, and no dose-response was demonstrated. CARDIZEM LA, 360 mg, given in the morning, also improved exercise tolerance when measured 25 hours later. As expected, the effect was smaller than the effects measured only 21 hours following nighttime administration. CARDIZEM LA had a larger effect to increase exercise tolerance at peak serum concentrations than at trough.
Last reviewed on RxList: 10/17/2016
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.
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