Treatment of calcinosis with diltiazem

Arthritis Rheum. 1995 Nov;38(11):1646-54. doi: 10.1002/art.1780381117.


Objective: To test the hypothesis that the calcium antagonist diltiazem is effective in the treatment of calcinosis.

Methods: Diltiazem, 240-480 mg/day, was given to 4 patients with idiopathic or CREST-related (calcinosis, Raynaud's phenomenon, esophageal dysmotility, sclerodactyly, telangiectasias) calcinosis for 1-12 years. Serial radiographs of the affected areas, using identical technique, and clinical evaluations were obtained. A fifth patient, who did not tolerate diltiazem, received verapamil, 120 mg/day for 18 months.

Results: All patients taking diltiazem had a reduction or disappearance of the calcific lesions, with striking clinical improvement. One patient's case was followed for 12 years. The response to diltiazem during the first 5 years of treatment has been previously reported in detail; however, over 7 years of additional treatment, there was further reduction of the lesions. One patient developed a large calcific lesion while receiving verapamil for hypertension, and after verapamil was replaced with diltiazem, there was a dramatic response. Verapamil was ineffective in the fifth patient, who did not tolerate diltiazem.

Conclusion: Long-term treatment with diltiazem, but not verapamil, is effective in calcinosis.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Calcinosis / drug therapy*
  • Calcinosis / etiology
  • Calcium Channel Blockers / therapeutic use*
  • Diltiazem / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans


  • Calcium Channel Blockers
  • Diltiazem