Sounds like 'luh-BET-uh-lol'

Easy-to-read medicine information about labetalol – what is it, how to take labetalol safely and possible side effects.

Type of medicine Also called
  • Belongs to a group of medicines called beta-blockers
  • Hybloc®
  • Trandate®

What is labetalol?

  • Labetalol is used to treat high blood pressure (hypertension). In particular, labetalol is one of the preferred medicines to treat high blood pressure in pregnancy
  • It works by blocking certain chemicals in the body, and in that way slows the heart rate and lowers blood pressure.
  • Labetalol is available as tablets or injection.


  • The usual dose of labetalol tablets is 200 milligrams two times a day.
  • Your doctor will start you on a lower dose of 100 milligrams two times a day and increase your dose if needed. 
  • Always take your labetalol exactly as your doctor has told you. The pharmacy label on your medicine will tell you how much labetalol to take, how often to take it and any special instructions.

How to take labetalol

  • Swallow your labetalol tablets with a glass of water.
  • Take your labetalol doses at the same times each day.
  • Labetalol is best taken with food.
  • If you drink alcohol, ask your doctor for advice about taking labetalol and alcohol. Alcohol may increase your chance of side effects such as dizziness, by adding to the blood pressure lowering effect of labetalol.
  • If you have diabetes, labetalol can block the symptoms of low blood sugar. Speak to your doctor about advice for this.
  • If you forget your dose, take it as soon as you remember that day. But, if it is nearly time for your next dose, just take the next dose at the right time. Do not take double the dose.
  • Do not stop taking labetalol suddenly; speak to your doctor or nurse before stopping.

Possible side effects

Like all medicines, labetalol can cause unwanted side effects, although not everyone gets them. Often unwanted side effects improve as your body gets used to the new medicine.

Side effects What should I do?
  • Tiredness
  • Headache
  • Fingers and toes feel cold
  • Disturbed, unsettled, restless sleep
  • These are quite common when you first start taking labetalol and usually goes away with time.
  • Tell your doctor if troublesome.
  • Dizziness
  • Feeling faint when you stand up
  • This is common when you first start taking labetalol.
  • Be careful when getting up from either lying down or sitting to avoid falls.
  • Signs of problems with your liver such as yellowing of the skin or eyes, dark urine, pain in the tummy (abdomen)
  • Tell your doctor immediately or ring HealthLine 0800 611 116
  • Problems with breathing such as chest tightness, or wheezing or swelling of the ankles or feet.
  • Tell your doctor immediately or ring HealthLine 0800 611 116


  • Check with a pharmacist before taking over the counter medicines such as:
    • Cold or flu tablets containing phenylephrine (e.g. Sudafed PE), or diphenhydramine (e.g. Benadryl Original)
    • Anti-inflammatories such as diclofenac (e.g. Voltaren Rapid), ibuprofen (e.g. Nurofen), mefenamic acid (e.g. Ponstan), naproxen (e.g. Naprogesic)
  • Labetalol may interact with a few medications and herbal supplements, so check with your doctor or pharmacist before starting labetalol or before starting any new medicines.

Learn more

New Zealand Formulary Patient Information: labetalol

Credits: Sandra Ponen, Pharmacist.