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There is no specific antidote for verapamil overdosage; treatment should be supportive. Delayed pharmacodynamic consequences may occur with sustained-release formulations, and patients should be observed for at least 48 hours, preferably under continuous hospital care. Reported effects include hypotension, bradycardia, cardiac conduction defects, arrhythmias, hyperglycemia, and decreased mental status. In addition, there have been literature reports of non-cardiogenic pulmonary edema in patients taking large overdoses of verapamil (up to approximately 9g).
In acute overdosage, gastrointestinal decontamination with cathartics and whole bowel irrigation should be considered. Calcium, inotropes (i.e., isoproterenol, dopamine, and glucagon), atropine, vasopressors (i.e., norepinephrine, and epinephrine), and cardiac pacing have been used with variable results to reverse hypotension and myocardial depression. In a few reported cases, overdose with calcium channel blockers that was initially refractory to atropine became more responsive to this treatment when the patients received large doses (close to 1g/hour for more than 24 hours) of calcium chloride. Calcium chloride is preferred to calcium gluconate since it provides 3 times more calcium per volume. Asystole should be handled by the usual measures including cardiopulmonary resuscitation. Verapamil cannot be removed by hemodialysis.
Verapamil HCl is contraindicated in:
- Severe left ventricular dysfunction. (See WARNINGS.)
- Hypotension (less than 90 mm Hg systolic pressure) or cardiogenic shock.
- Sick sinus syndrome (except in patients with a functioning artificial ventricula pacemaker).
- Second - or third-degree AV block (except in patients with a functioning artificial ventricular pacemaker).
- Patients with atrial flutter or atrial fibrillation and an accessory bypass tract (e.g., Wolff-Parkinson-White, Lown-Ganong-Levine syndromes). (See WARNINGS.)
- Patients with known hypersensitivity to Verapamil hydrochloride.
Last reviewed on RxList: 10/24/2014
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