Metoprolol

Sounds like 'met-oh-proe-lol'

Metoprolol has many uses such as after a heart attack (to prevent heart damage), heart failure, high blood pressure and irregular heart beat. Find out how to take it safely and possible side effects. Metoprolol is also called Betaloc CR or Slow-Lopresor.

What is metoprolol?

Metoprolol is used to treat many conditions such as after a heart attack (to prevent heart damage), heart failure, high blood pressure (hypertension), and irregular heart beat. It belongs to a group of medicines called beta-blockers. Metoprolol works by slowing down your heart rate and making it easier for your heart to pump blood around your body. Metoprolol is also used to prevent migraine headaches.   

Dose

In Aotearoa New Zealand metoprolol comes as tablets – immediate release tablets and controlled release tablets.

  • Check with your pharmacist which form you are taking.
  • The dose of metoprolol will be different for different people.
  • Always take metoprolol exactly as your doctor has told you. The pharmacy label on your medicine will tell you how much metoprolol to take, how often to take it, and any special instructions. 
  • If you are not sure how much to take, ask your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.
  • Check with your pharmacist if your tablets are different to what you expect.

How to take metoprolol

  • Immediate release tablets:
    • Take these as you have been prescribed (usually 2 or 3 times a day).
    • Take your doses at the same times each day.
  • Controlled release tablets (usually has CR after the name):
    • Take these tablets once a day.
    • Swallow the tablets whole, with a glass of water – do not crush or chew them.
  • You can take metoprolol with or without food.
  • 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 metoprolol suddenly; speak to your doctor or nurse before stopping.

Things to consider while you are taking metoprolol

  • Avoid alcohol while you are taking metoprolol, especially when you first start treatment. Alcohol can increase your risk of side effects such as dizziness.
  • Metoprolol can interact with other medicines. Tell your doctor or pharmacist about all medicines you are taking including over the counter medicines or herbal and complementary medicines.

If you have diabetes

  • If you have diabetes, metoprolol may cause changes in your blood glucose level. This effect usually settles with time.
  • Beta-blockers may reduce the warning signs of a low blood sugar level (hypoglycaemia – often called a hypo). For example, you may not have the feeling of fast, irregular or strong heartbeats (palpitations) or tremor, which can occur when your blood glucose is going too low.
  • If you are worried about this, talk to your doctor. Do not stop taking your beta-blocker without checking with your doctor first. Read more about hypoglycaemia.

If you have asthma

  • If you have asthma, taking a beta blocker may trigger your asthma symptoms or make them worse. Not everybody with asthma is sensitive to these medicines.
  • If you are worried about this, talk to your doctor. They may be able to prescribe a different medicine or increase the dose of your asthma preventer medication.
  • Do not suddenly stop taking your beta-blocker without talking to your doctor first. This can be dangerous and make you feel unwell. Read more about medicines that may trigger asthma symptoms.

What are the side effects of metoprolol?

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

Side effects What should I do?
  • Tiredness
  • Headache
  • Nausea (feeling sick) or vomiting
  • Problems sleeping
  • These are quite common when you first start taking metoprolol, and usually go away with time.
  • Tell your doctor if troublesome.
  • Dizziness
  • Feeling faint when you stand up
  • This is common when you first start taking metoprolol.
  • Do not drink alcohol.
  • Be careful when getting up from either lying down or sitting to avoid falls.
  • Cold hands and feet
  • Tell your doctor if troublesome.
  • Depression and low mood
  • Sexual problems
  • Tell your doctor
  • 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 
Did you know that you can report a side effect to a medicine to CARM (Centre for Adverse Reactions Monitoring)? Report a side effect to a product

Learn more

The following links have more information on metoprolol.

Metoprolol (Māori) New Zealand Formulary Patient Information

Medsafe Consumer Information Sheets

Metoprolol leaflet Institute for Innovation and Improvement & Waitematā DHB, NZ

References

  1. Metoprolol succinate New Zealand Formulary
  2. Metoprolol tartrate New Zealand Formulary
Credits: Sandra Ponen, pharmacist. Reviewed By: Angela Lambie, Pharmacist, Auckland Last reviewed: 30 Sep 2018