Calcium antagonists

Definition 
This is poisoning from ingestion of a calcium antagonist.

Poisonous Ingredient  
any of the following

     
  • amlodipine  
  • bepridil  
  • diltiazem  
  • felodipine  
  • isradipine  
  • nicardipine  
  • nifedipine  
  • nimodipine  
  • verapamil

Note: This list may not be all inclusive.

Where Found  

     
  • amlodipine (Norvasc)  
  • bepridil (Vascor)  
  • diltiazem (Cardizem, Dilacor)  
  • felodipine (Plendil)  
  • isradipine (DynaCirc)  
  • nicardipine (Cardene)  
  • nifedipine (Adalat, Procardia)  
  • nimodipine (Nimotop)  
  • verapamil (Calan, Isoptin, Verelan)

Note: This list may not be all inclusive.

Symptoms  

     
  • body as a whole  
  • weakness  
  • dizziness  
  • drowsiness  
  • confusion  
  • slurred speech  
  • gastrointestinal  
  • nausea  
  • constipation  
  • heart and blood vessels  
  • low blood pressure  
  • slow heartbeat  
  • irregular heartbeat  
  • respiratory  
  • shortness of breath

DefinitionHome Treatment  
Do not induce vomiting unless instructed to do so by Poison Control or a health professional.

Before Calling Emergency  
Determine the following information:

     
  • the patient’s age, weight, and condition  
  • the name of the product (ingredients and strengths if known)  
  • the time it was swallowed  
  • the amount swallowed

Poison Control, or a local emergency number  
They will instruct you if it is necessary to take the patient to the hospital. See Poison Control centers for telephone numbers and addresses. Take the container with you to the emergency room.

What to expect at the emergency room  
Some or all of the following procedures may be performed:

     
  • Induce vomiting  
  • Administer activated charcoal  
  • Administer a laxative  
  • Use gastric lavage  
  • monitor vital signs  
  • treatment of symptoms  
  • maintain blood pressure within normal limits  
  • monitor heart

Expectations (prognosis) 
The prognosis (probable outcome):
Death is not the usual outcome of calcium antagonist poisoning, although some deaths have occurred. Patients with heart beat or blood pressure changes usually require hospitalization.

Johns Hopkins patient information

Last revised: December 8, 2012
by Brenda A. Kuper, M.D.

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