High blood pressure or hypertension can cause several near-fatal or fatal outcomes. When left untreated, hypertension may cause strokes, kidney-based ailments and heart failure. It becomes necessary to check your blood pressure level on a periodic basis. Upon sensing continuous spells of high blood pressure, you are advised to take needful medial support from a qualified caregiver. Your doctor may recommend beta blockers – such as metoprolol – which work by inhibiting receptors that bind adrenaline or epinephrine. Such an inhibition helps ease your heart muscles as well as relieves stress from your cardiac system. But, what are the likely side effects of metoprolol? It becomes important to know more on this.

Beta receptors play a key role in influencing your heart rate as well as pressure levels. Drugs that help control these receptors are known as beta blockers; these keep the receptors from binding to chemicals and thus exert better control on your blood pressure reading. These drugs are used for a wide range of conditions – such as chest pain, cardiac arrests, glaucoma (a condition linked to pressure level in your eyes), migraines and headaches. Beta blockers lead to slowing down of your heartbeats and can reduce chronic spells of chest pain or angina.

Beta blocking drugs belong to the first generation of drugs used for managing high blood pressure. Since their introduction, many other drugs have been introduced which are more effective. These modern variants include diuretic drugs (i.e., water pills), angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs), ACE inhibitors as well as calcium channel blockers. Owing to these developments, beta blockers have assumed a second-line position in the treatment of hypertension and other heart-based conditions.

Metoprolol and its uses

This drug belongs to the class of meds known as beta blockers. The active ingredients of this drug inhibit the effects of epinephrine (or adrenaline) on beta receptors in your system. Once this blocking action starts, your system witnesses slowing down of impulses linked to your cardiac muscles. The end outcome is a slowdown of heart rate as well as reduction of blood pressure.

Metoprolol has the approval of food and drug administration (FDA) for the treatment of chest pain (angina) as well as hypertension. It is available both as a pill and as an injectable form; it is also sold under an immediate-release variant as well as an extended release pill. The immediate-release version (available as a brand called Lepressor) is taken during spells of acute myocardial infarction or a cardiac defibrillation. On the other hand, the extended release form (one popular brand is Toprol XL) is taken for managing heart failure. In some cases, these beta blockers are taken along with water pills (diuretics) such as hydrochlorothiazide; this combinatorial approach is considered as effective in the treatment of acute levels of hypertension.

Side effects of metoprolol

Like other meds, metoprolol is also likely to cause a few side effects. Most commonly experienced side effects include being dizzy, excessive level of drowsiness, etc. You are advised to stay away from drinking alcohol; upon taking an alcoholic drink, dizziness may become worse and may lead to accidental falls. In general, this drug may make you tired, dehydrated (marked by drying of lips as well parching of tongue), etc. In some cases, users have experienced abdominal discomforts such as gas formation, acid reflux (heartburns), difficulties to pass stools (constipation), etc. Most of these side effects may not persist for long; these may disappear as your body gets used to the key ingredients of metoprolol. However, if any of these discomforts is persisting for more than a week, talk to your caregiving team without any further delay.

In some remote instances, users have experienced a few acute side effects; these include – swelling of lower limbs, respiratory problems (such as wheezing, gasping, panting for breath, etc.), passing out or rapid heartbeats and palpitations. Upon sensing any one or more of these discomforts, you are advised to consult with your caregiving team on an emergency basis. Those living in Canada are advised to call Health Canada or rush to a poison control center without any further delay. On the other hand, those who are residents of US are recommended to call 911 immediately or reach out to the helplines of the food and drug administration (FDA).

Additional pointers to be aware of while using metoprolol

Your caregiver needs to know the other meds that you are presently taking; also, share details about the treatment plans you are currently pursuing. It is a safe practice to make a list of all the drugs featuring of your medication plan(s). While you make this list, ensure to add proteins, vitamin supplements, herbal drugs, over the counter meds as well as prescribed drugs. Once you have shared this list, never make changes to it without telling your caregiving team.

If your current medication plan includes drugs such as cimetidine, quinidine, ranitidine, clonidine, etc., your treating physician must know of the dosages taken and the duration of such medication plans. Also, if you are planning to undergo a surgery, your surgeon needs to know about your intake of metoprolol. It is not a good practice to stop taking this med all of a sudden. It is essential to talk to your caregiver prior to discontinuing this drug – owing to a surgery or a dental intervention.

Above all, if you are living with any of these following medical conditions – it is not safe to use metoprolol: blockages in your heart, arterial disorders, erratic heartbeats, etc. Last but not least, never take multiple forms of beta blockers at the same time; if your medication plan already includes another form of beta blocker (i.e., apart from metoprolol), talk to your treating doctor about it, and make needful changes as quickly as you possibly can.

In sum, metoprolol is a beta blocker, which controls the effects of adrenaline and slows down your heartbeats. Slowing down of heartrate makes way for reduction in blood pressure levels. Typical side effects of metoprolol include dizziness, feeling very tired, gas formation, heartburns, constipation and pain in abdomen. Severe side effects include inflammation of lower limbs – ankles or feet, breathing difficulties, palpitations, etc. If you witness any of these acute side effects, consult with your doctor on an urgent mode. It is highly recommended to seek immediate medical attention either by calling 911 (those in US) or reaching out to Health Canada (if you are a resident of any of the Canadian provinces).

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