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Overdosage Or Exaggerated Response
Several literature reports have identified cases of diltiazem hydrochloride overdose, some with multiple drug ingestion, with both fatal and non-fatal outcomes. The reported events affected multiple body systems including the cardiovascular system (bradycardia, complete heart block, asystole, cardiac failure, arrhythmia, atrial fibrillation, palpitations, hypotension, ischemia, ECG changes), respiratory system (respiratory failure, hypoxia, dyspnea, pulmonary edema), central nervous system (loss of consciousness, convulsions, dizziness, confusion, agitation), gastrointestinal system (nausea, vomiting), skin and appendages (increased sweating), and other systems (hypotonia, iliac artery thrombosis, metabolic acidosis, increased blood glucose). The administration of ipecac to induce vomiting and activated charcoal to reduce drug absorption have been advocated as initial means of intervention. In addition to gastric lavage, the following measures should also be considered:
Bradycardia: administer atropine (0.6 mg to 1 mg). If there is no response to vagal blockade, administer isoproterenol cautiously.
High-Degree AV Block: Treat as for bradycardia above. Fixed high-degree AV block should be treated with cardiac pacing.
Cardiac Failure: Administer inotropic agents (dopamine or dobutamine) and diuretics.
Hypotension: Vasopressors (e.g., dopamine or levarterenol bitartrate).
Actual treatment and dosage should depend on the severity of the clinical situation as well as the judgment and experience of the treating physician.
Charcoal hemoperfusion has been used successfully as an adjunct therapy to hasten drug elimination. Overdoses with as much as 10.8 grams of oral diltiazem have been successfully treated using appropriate supportive care.
Diltiazem hydrochloride is contraindicated in: (1) patients with sick sinus syndrome except in the presence of a functioning ventricular pacemaker; (2) patients with second or third degree AV block except in the presence of a functioning ventricular pacemaker; (3) patients with hypotension (less than 90 mmHg systolic); (4) patients who have demonstrated hypersensitivity to the drug; and (5) patients with acute myocardial infarction and pulmonary congestion as documented by X-ray on admission.
Last reviewed on RxList: 7/8/2011
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.
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