Why is this medicine prescribed?
Metoprolol is used alone or in combination with other medications to treat high blood pressure. It also is used to treat chronic (long-term) angina (chest pain). Metoprolol is also used to improve survival after a heart attack. Metoprolol also is used in combination with other medications to treat heart failure. Metoprolol is in a class of medications called beta blockers. It works by relaxing blood vessels and slowing heart rate to improve blood flow and decrease blood pressure.
High blood pressure is a common condition and when not treated, can cause damage to the brain, heart, blood vessels, kidneys and other parts of the body. Damage to these organs may cause heart disease, a heart attack, heart failure, stroke, kidney failure, loss of vision, and other problems. In addition to taking medication, making lifestyle changes will also help to control your blood pressure. These changes include eating a diet that is low in fat and salt, maintaining a healthy weight, exercising at least 30 minutes most days, not smoking, and using alcohol in moderation.
Are there other uses for this medicine?
Metoprolol is also used sometimes to treat certain types of irregular heartbeats. Talk to your doctor about the possible risks of using this medication for your condition.
This medication may be prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
How should this medicine be used?
Metoprolol comes as a tablet, an extended-release (long-acting) tablet, and an extended-release capsule to take by mouth. The regular tablet is usually taken once or twice a day with meals or immediately after meals. The extended-release tablet and extended-release capsule are usually taken once a day. To help you remember to take metoprolol, take it around the same time(s) every day. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take metoprolol exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
The extended-release tablet may be split. Swallow the whole or half extended-release tablets whole; do not chew or crush them.
Swallow the extended-release capsules whole; do not split, chew, or crush them. If you are unable to swallow the capsules, you may open the capsule and sprinkle the contents over a spoonful of soft food, such as applesauce, pudding, or yogurt and swallow the mixture immediately. Do not swallow the mixture more than 60 minutes after you sprinkle the contents of the capsule.
Your doctor may start you on a low dose of metoprolol and gradually increase your dose.
Metoprolol helps to control your condition but will not cure it. Continue to take metoprolol even if you feel well. Do not stop taking metoprolol without talking to your doctor. If you suddenly stop taking metoprolol you may experience serious heart problems such as severe chest pain, a heart attack, or an irregular heartbeat. Your doctor will probably want to decrease your dose gradually over 1 to 2 weeks and will monitor you closely.
What special precautions should I follow?
Before taking metoprolol,
- tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to metoprolol, any other medications, or any of the ingredients in metoprolol tablets, extended-release tablets, or extended-release capsules. Ask your pharmacist for a list of the ingredients.
- tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking or plan to take. Your doctor may need to change the doses of your medications or monitor you carefully for side effects.
- tell your doctor if you have a slow or irregular heartbeat or heart failure. Your doctor may tell you not to take metoprolol.
- tell your doctor if you have or have ever had asthma or other lung diseases; problems with blood circulation; pheochromocytoma (a tumor that develops on a gland near the kidneys and may cause high blood pressure and fast heartbeat); heart or liver disease;diabetes; or hyperthyroidism (an overactive thyroid gland). Also tell your doctor if you have ever had a serious allergic reaction to a food or any other substance.
- tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding. If you become pregnant while taking metoprolol, call your doctor.
- you should know that metoprolol may make you drowsy. Do not drive a car or operate machinery until you know how this medication affects you.
- you should know that metoprolol may increase the risk of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) and prevent the warning signs and symptoms that would tell you that your blood sugar is low. Let your doctor know if you are unable to eat or drink normally or are vomiting while you are taking metoprolol. You should know the symptoms of low blood sugar and what to do if you have these symptoms.
- you should know that if you have allergic reactions to different substances, your reactions may be worse while you are using metoprolol, and your allergic reactions may not respond to the usual doses of injectable epinephrine.
- if you are having surgery, including dental surgery, tell the doctor or dentist that you are taking metoprolol.
- do not drink any alcoholic drinks or take any prescription or nonprescription medications that contain alcohol if you are taking metoprolol extended-release capsules. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you do not know if a medication that you plan to take contains alcohol.
What special dietary instructions should I follow?
IUnless your doctor tells you otherwise, continue your normal diet.
What should I do if I forget to take a dose?
Skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.
What should I do in case of overdose?
In case of overdose, call the poison control helpline at 1-800-222-1222. Information is also available online at https://www.poisonhelp.org/help . If the victim has collapsed, had a seizure, has trouble breathing, or can't be awakened, immediately call emergency services at 911.
Symptoms of overdose may include the following:
- decreased consciousness or loss of consciousness (coma)
- irregular, fast, or slow heartbeat
- chest pain
- fatigue or weakness
- difficulty breathing
- cough or wheezing
- swelling of the hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs
What side effects can this medicine cause?
Metoprolol may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
- dizziness or lightheadedness
- dry mouth
- stomach pain
- gas or bloating
- rash or itching
- cold hands and feet
- runny nose
Some side effects can be serious. The following symptoms are uncommon, but if you experience any of them, call your doctor immediately:
- shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- swelling of the hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs
- weight gain
- rapid, pounding, or irregular heartbeat
Metoprolol may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.
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 ( http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch ) or by phone (1-800-332-1088).
What should I know about storage and disposal of this medication?
Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom).
It is important to keep all medication out of sight and reach of children as many containers (such as weekly pill minders and those for eye drops, creams, patches, and inhalers) are not child-resistant and young children can open them easily. To protect young children from poisoning, always lock safety caps and immediately place the medication in a safe location – one that is up and away and out of their sight and reach. http://www.upandaway.org
Unneeded medications should be disposed of in special ways to ensure that pets, children, and other people cannot consume them. However, you should not flush this medication down the toilet. Instead, the best way to dispose of your medication is through a medicine take-back program. Talk to your pharmacist or contact your local garbage/recycling department to learn about take-back programs in your community. See the FDA's Safe Disposal of Medicines website ( http://goo.gl/c4Rm4p ) for more information if you do not have access to a take-back program.
What other information should I know?
Keep all appointments with your doctor. Your blood pressure should be checked regularly to determine your response to metoprolol. Your doctor may ask you to check your pulse (heart rate). Ask your pharmacist or doctor to teach you how to take your pulse. If your pulse is faster or slower than it should be, call your doctor.
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.