High blood pressure is an outcome of stressful living conditions. Frequent spells of hypertension (i.e., increase in blood pressure level) can lead to adverse medical conditions such as strokes, cardiac failure and heart attacks. You are advised to take timely medical help when you encounter early signs of hypertension. Your treating doctor may advise a few lifestyle changes – such as exercising / work outs, eating a fiber-rich diet, stopping a few habits such as smoking or drinking, prescription of a medication plan, etc. Drugs belonging to a genre called beta blockers are often prescribed. Metoprolol is one such drug. What are the uses of this drug, and what are the precautions needed?

High blood pressure is a widely encountered medical condition. It requires proper medical help to keep it under control. If left untreated, it can cause severe damages to your blood vessels, cardiac muscles, renal system as well as brain. People living with persistent spells of high blood pressure encountered kidney dysfunction, eyesight-related problems, etc. It is essential to keep your dietary habits under control; intake of excessive amounts of salts and fats are considered to worsen your medical condition.

Metoprolol is a drug belonging to a group of meds known as beta blocking drugs. The chief ingredients of this drug help widen / dilate your blood vessels; in this process, rate of heartbeat is reduced, which eventually increases the flow of blood to your cardiac system. As a result, your blood pressure level gets reduced. Beta blocking drugs are used for the treatment of chest pain (also known as angina) as well as to enhance the odds of survival from a heart failure.

How to use metoprolol?

This beta blocking drug is made available as an extended release variant (which has a long-acting action). It is usually taken orally. The typical dosage plan is a single or double dose every day. These doses may be taken either before or after food. In order to maximize the benefits, it is a good practice to consume this drug at the same time every day. Also, this drug must never be taken as an over the counter (OTC) drug or as a self-medication med. It always needs to be taken under the guidance and supervision of a qualified medical practitioner.

As a safety measure, never bite or crush a metoprolol tablet in your mouth. Such practices may make the active ingredients to start working immediately. You may however split the pill into two – especially while administering it to elders. This practice may also help lower the dose initially; if the drug is found to be safe, dosage strength is increased gradually. Never expect the drug to start working immediately; it may take a few weeks for the drug to start acting. A few users who stopped taking this drug in the interim never received the full benefits of their treatment plan. Hence, it is always recommended to complete your medication plan in full, and discontinue the intake of this drug only as per your doctor’s advice.

Extended use of metoprolol

As an extended use, metoprolol is also used for the treatment of migraines. In some one-off instances, this med is taken to treat impairment of motor function – especially, those caused by using drugs to cure mental ailments like schizophrenia, depression, anxieties, etc. In very rare cases, metoprolol has been used for treating erratic heartbeats and conditions such as tachycardia (i.e., rapid heartbeats).

What are the precautions needed prior to taking metoprolol?

It is important to tell your treating physician about any known allergies or prior spells of hypersensitivity – especially, those associated with intake of beta blocking drugs. Also, keep your doctor informed of allergies to drugs such carvedilol, atenolol, etc. In general, never take another form of beta blocking drug while you are taking metoprolol. You are advised to make a list of the drugs you are currently taking; in this list, care to add OTC drugs, prescription meds, vitamin supplements, protein-based dietary aids, herbal medications, etc.

Those who already have conditions such as slower rate of heartbeat, blood circulation related ailments, respiratory problems (such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease / disorder – COPD), hepatic diseases (like inflammation of liver or cirrhosis), an oversensitive thyroid gland, etc., must tell their caregiving team of such ailments. For those who are planning to go a surgical or dental procedure, the caregiver may tell to stop using it a few weeks prior to the date of such procedure.

Odds of drowsiness and associated precautions

Metoprolol makes you dizzy or drowsy; hence, it is highly recommended to stay away from pursuing adventurous sports such as cycling, swimming or racing. As an added precaution, never drive or work on heavy machinery soon after taking metoprolol. For the same reason, intake of alcohol along with this drug can lead to severe spells of dizziness. So, those who take alcohol regularly must inform their caregiving team of such habits. It is most likely that your doctor will advise to limit intake of alcohol or better still, completely discontinue such practices.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding

Women who are planning to become pregnant must keep away from consumption of beta blocking drugs. It is a safe practice to use a non-hormonal contraceptive (such as vaginal rings, skin patches, etc.) while using this drug. On the other hand, women who are already pregnant must not take metoprolol during the course of their pregnancy. If you are living with high levels of blood pressure, talk to your treating physician for safer alternatives that can control spells of hypertension. Women who have recently delivered an infant, and are breastfeeding must know that the active chemicals of metoprolol can get into mother’s milk. It is hence not a safe thing to feed your newly born baby with such milk.

In sum, metoprolol is a beta blocker. Its extended release version has a long acting action, and is widely used for treating heart attacks, high blood pressure and angina. As an extended use, it is also used for treating headaches as well as to treat side effects caused by drugs consumed for mental conditions. Always remember that metoprolol is never taken as a self-medication drug. Its use is pursued under the care of a qualified clinical professional.

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