Papaverine is used to improve blood flow in patients with circulation problems. It works by relaxing the blood vessels so that blood can flow more easily to the heart and through the body.
This medication is sometimes prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
Papaverine comes as a tablet and extended-release (long-acting) capsule to take by mouth. The tablet usually is taken three to five times a day at evenly spaced intervals. The extended-release capsule usually is taken every 8-12 hours. Do not crush, chew, or divide the extended-release capsules. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take papaverine exactly as directed.
Papaverine may be habit-forming. Do not take larger doses, take it more often, or for a longer period than your doctor tells you to.
Papaverine controls high blood pressure but does not cure it. Continue to take papaverine even if you feel well. Do not stop taking papaverine without talking to your doctor.
Papaverine is also used to treat impotence in men. Talk to your doctor about the possible risks of using this drug for your condition.
Before taking papaverine,
- tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to papaverine or any other drugs.
- tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications you are taking, especially levodopa (Larodopa, Sinemet) and vitamins.
- tell your doctor if you have or have ever had heart disease, an AV block (a heart rhythm disturbance), or glaucoma.
- tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. If you become pregnant while taking papaverine, call your doctor.
- if you are having surgery, including dental surgery, tell the doctor or dentist that you are taking papaverine.
- you should know that this drug may make you drowsy or dizzy. Do not drive a car or operate machinery until you know how it affects you.
- ask your doctor about the safe use of alcohol while you are taking papaverine. Alcohol can make the side effects from papaverine worse.
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.
Papaverine may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
- flushing (feeling of warmth)
- skin rash
- upset stomach
- loss of appetite
- stomach pain
If you experience either of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately:
- yellowing of the skin or eyes
- irregular heartbeat
If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online [at Web Site] or by phone [1-800-332-1088].
Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom). Throw away any medication that is outdated or no longer needed. Talk to your pharmacist about the proper disposal of your medication.
In case of overdose, call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. If the victim has collapsed or is not breathing, call local emergency services at 911.
Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. Your doctor may order certain tests to monitor your liver function.
Do not let anyone else take your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.
It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.
AHFS® Consumer Medication Information. © Copyright, The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, Inc., 7272 Wisconsin Avenue, Bethesda, Maryland. All Rights Reserved. Duplication for commercial use must be authorized by ASHP.
Last Reviewed: September 1, 2010.