Cardizem or Diltiazem

Cardizem is used to treat hypertension, angina pectoris and arrhythmia and belongs to a group of drugs called calcium channel blockers. This drug works by relaxing the heart muscles and blood vessels, which makes it easier for the heart to pump blood—thus reducing stress on the heart. Cardizem was approved by the FDA in 2003 and is manufactured by Biovail Laboratories. It is sold in the US as Cartia XT, Dilacor XR, Diltia XT and Tiazac. Cardizem has been prescribed for off-label uses such as reducing cocaine cravings in men.

Recently, Cardizem has been linked to permanent male infertility. There have been studies conducted that showed that Cardizem effects the motility and viability of sperm by elevating cholesterol levels in the sperm. This can decrease the ability of the sperm to bind to an egg.

Because of this, some doctors have used Cardizem as a male contraceptive. It is thought that Cardizem infertility can be reversed when discontinuing the drug, but some reports of permanent infertility have been seen.

Serious side effects 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:

  • Headache
  • Dizziness, weakness, tired feeling
  • Upset stomach, nausea
  • Sore throat, cough, stuffy nose
  • Flushing (warmth, redness, or tingly feeling)
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