Diltiazem overdose: Case report and review

Ford C. Erickson, Louis J. Ling, Gregory A. Grande, Deborah L. Anderson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


We present a case of diltiazem overdose in which the patient ingested 4.2 grams in an apparent suicide attempt. He arrived in the emergency department two hours postingestion with a blood pressure of 60 40 torr and a heart rate of 62 beats/min in a junctional rhythm. Intervention included activated charcoal, gastric lavage, intravenous fluids, calcium (both chloride and gluconate), dopamine, and atropine with improvement in vital signs. Diltiazem levels were obtained and half-life calculated. This ingestion is one of the largest reported in the literature and is remarkable in that the patient recovered without pacing or other extraordinary measures. All eight previously published cases of diltiazem overdose, including all unpublished reports to the manufacturer, are reviewed and their management strategies examined. Successful treatment in which recovery has occurred in less than 48 hours, includes pressors, calcium, glucagon, pacing, and charcoal hemoperfusion. A strategy for emergency physicians to use when approaching this problem is suggested from the review.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)357-366
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Emergency Medicine
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jan 1 1991


  • calcium channel blocker
  • diltiazem
  • overdose
  • toxicology


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