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How does this medication work? What will it do for me?
Metoprolol belongs to the class of medications called beta-blockers. Metoprolol is used to treat high blood pressure and prevent the symptoms of angina (chest pain). It is also used to help reduce the risk of death right after a heart attack. It works by reducing the demands put on the heart.
Metoprolol is also taken by people who have had a heart attack to reduce the risk of having another one. Metoprolol is often used in combination with other high blood pressure medications such as diuretics (water pills) when the use of one medication by itself is not enough to control blood pressure.
Your doctor may have suggested this medication for conditions other than the ones listed in these drug information articles. As well, some forms of this medication may not be used for all of the conditions discussed here. If you have not discussed this with your doctor or are not sure why you are taking this medication, speak to your doctor. Do not stop taking this medication without consulting your doctor.
Do not give this medication to anyone else, even if they have the same symptoms as you do. It can be harmful for people to take this medication if their doctor has not prescribed it.
What form(s) does this medication come in?
Ask you pharmacist or doctor for details.
How should I use this medication?
The recommended dose of metoprolol ranges from 100 mg daily to 400 mg daily. Immediate-release tablets are taken in 2 divided doses while slow-release tablets are taken once a day.
The medication may be taken with or without food. Try to take the doses of metoprolol at the same time each day.
The doctor may increase the dose if the desired results have not been achieved within one week. Once the best dose has been found with the immediate-release tablets, the slow-release tablets may be substituted at an equal daily dose for convenience.
Many things can affect the dose of medication that a person needs, such as body weight, other medical conditions, and other medications. If your doctor has recommended a dose different from the ones listed here, do not change the way that you are taking the medication without consulting your doctor.
It is important that this medication be taken exactly as prescribed by your doctor.
If you miss a dose, take it as soon as possible and continue on with your regular schedule. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and continue on with your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one. If you are not sure what to do after missing a dose, contact your doctor or pharmacist for advice.
Store this medication at room temperature, protect it from light and moisture, and keep it out of the reach of children.
Do not dispose of medications in wastewater (e.g. down the sink or in the toilet) or in household garbage. Ask your pharmacist how to dispose of medications that are no longer needed or have expired.
Who should NOT take this medication?
Metoprolol should not be taken by anyone who:
- is allergic to metoprolol, other beta blockers, or to any of the ingredients of the medication
- is scheduled to have anesthesia with an agent that causes myocardial depression (e.g., ether)
- has a condition known as "sick sinus syndrome"
- has a condition known as right ventricular failure caused by excessive blood pressure in the lungs
- has a slow heartbeat caused by heart rhythm problems
- has asthma or other obstructive respiratory diseases (for the intravenous form of metoprolol only)
- has cardiogenic shock
- has overt heart failure
- has serious heart block
- has severe circulatory disorders
- have had a heart attack accompanied by:
- a heart rate less than 45 beats per minute
- significant heart block
- very low blood pressure
- moderate to severe cardiac failure
What side effects are possible with this medication?
Many medications can cause side effects. A side effect is an unwanted response to a medication when it is taken in normal doses. Side effects can be mild or severe, temporary or permanent. The side effects listed below are not experienced by everyone who takes this medication. If you are concerned about side effects, discuss the risks and benefits of this medication with your doctor.
The following side effects have been reported by at least 1% of people taking this medication. Many of these side effects can be managed, and some may go away on their own over time.
Contact your doctor if you experience these side effects and they are severe or bothersome. Your pharmacist may be able to advise you on managing side effects.
- difficulty sleeping
- dizziness or lightheadedness
- drowsiness (slight)
- stomach discomfort
- tiredness or weakness
- vivid dreams
Although most of the side effects listed below don't happen very often, they could lead to serious problems if you do not check with your doctor or seek medical attention.
Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur:
- back or joint pain
- breathing difficulty or wheezing
- chest pain
- cold hands and feet
- irregular heartbeat
- red, scaling, or crusted skin
- shortness of breath
- skin rash
- slow heartbeat (especially less than 40 beats per minute)
- swelling of ankles, feet, or lower legs
- unusual bleeding or bruising
Stop taking the medication and seek immediate medical attention if any of the following occur:
- symptoms of a serious allergic reaction (such as swelling of the face or throat, hives, or difficulty breathing)
Some people may experience side effects other than those listed. Check with your doctor if you notice any symptom that worries you while you are taking this medication.
Are there any other precautions or warnings for this medication?
Before you begin using a medication, be sure to inform your doctor of any medical conditions or allergies you may have, any medications you are taking, whether you are pregnant or breast-feeding, and any other significant facts about your health. These factors may affect how you should use this medication.
Breathing conditions: Patients with asthma and certain other breathing problems should, in general, not take a beta-blocker such as metoprolol. If you have these types of conditions and your doctor prescribed you metoprolol, it may be at a lower dose, and your doctor will monitor you regularly while you are taking this medication.
Diabetes: The signs of low blood sugar may not be as noticeable when taking metoprolol. This medication may make it more difficult for people with diabetes to control their blood sugar. Your doctor will monitor you while you are taking this medication and may need to adjust the doses of antidiabetes medications.
Dizziness or fainting: Dizziness or fainting are side effects of metoprolol and may occur after first starting this medication. Do not drive a car or do anything that requires alertness until you know how this medication affects you.
History of heart failure: Beta-blockers like metoprolol can worsen existing heart failure. It is important take metoprolol exactly as prescribed by your doctor to decrease the chance of this happening.
Hyperthyroidism (high level of thyroid hormones): People with elevated thyroid hormone should discuss with their doctor how this medication may affect their medical condition, how their medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed. Stopping the medication suddenly could worsen this condition.
Liver problems: People with decreased liver function should discuss with their doctor how this medication may affect their medical condition, how their medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.
Severe allergies: People with allergies severe enough to cause anaphylaxis (a severe allergic reaction where swelling of the face, lips, and throat make it difficult to breathe) should talk to their doctor about what to do if they have an allergic reaction. Metoprolol may make it more difficult to treat their allergic reaction with epinephrine.
Stopping the medication: People with heart disease who stop taking this medication abruptly may experience severe effects, such as chest pain, irregular heartbeat, or heart attack. If you have heart disease, do not stop taking this medication without checking with your doctor first. When this medication needs to be stopped, it should be done gradually under supervision of your doctor.
Surgery: If you are scheduled for surgery, inform all doctors involved in your care that you are taking metoprolol.
Pregnancy: The medication should not be used during pregnancy unless the benefits outweigh the risks. If you become pregnant while taking this medication, contact your doctor immediately.
Breast-feeding: Metoprolol passes into breast. If you are a breast-feeding mother and are taking this medication, it may affect your baby. Talk to your doctor about whether you should continue breast-feeding.
Children: The safety and effectiveness of using this medication have not been established for children.
What other drugs could interact with this medication?
There may be an interaction between metoprolol and any of the following:
If you are taking any medications containing this drug, speak with your doctor or pharmacist. Depending on your specific circumstances, your doctor may want you to:
- stop taking one of the medications,
- change one of the medications to another,
- change how you are taking one or both of the medications, or
- leave everything as is.
An interaction between two medications does not always mean that you must stop taking one of them. Speak to your doctor about how any drug interactions are being managed or should be managed.
Medications other than those listed above may interact with this medication. Tell your doctor or prescriber about all prescription, over-the-counter (non-prescription) and herbal medications that you are taking. Also tell them about any supplements you take. Since caffeine, alcohol, the nicotine from cigarettes, or illegal drugs can affect the action of many medications, you should let your prescriber know if you use them.
All material © 1996-2013 MediResource Inc. Terms and conditions of use. The contents herein are for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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