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What is Metoprolol?

Metoprolol is the generic form of the brand-name drug Lopressor. It is prescribed to treat high blood pressure and prevent chest pain. Metoprolol is a type of medication called a beta blocker. It works by relaxing blood vessels and slowing heart rate, which improves blood flow and lowers blood pressure. Metoprolol can also improve the likelihood of survival after a heart attack. Doctors prescribe the long-acting form of the drug (Toprol XL) to treat heart failure. In some cases, a doctor may prescribe metoprolol for an irregular heartbeat.

Before taking this medicine

You should not use this medication if you are allergic to metoprolol, or other beta-blockers, or if you have:

  • a serious heart problem such as heart block, sick sinus syndrome, or slow heart rate;
  • severe circulation problems;
  • severe heart failure, or
  • history of slow heart beats that have caused you to faint.

To make sure metoprolol is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:


Metoprolol is used with or without other medications in order to treat high blood pressure. Lowering high blood pressure helps prevent strokes, heart attacks, and kidney problems. This medication is also used to treat chest pain and to improve survival after a heart attack. Metoprolol belongs to a class of drugs known as beta blockers. It works by blocking the action of certain natural chemicals in the body, such as epinephrine, on the heart and blood vessels. This effect lowers the heart rate, blood pressure, and strain on the heart.

How should this medicine be used?

Metoprolol comes as a tablet and an extended-release (long-acting) tablet 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 is generally taken once a day. To help you remember to take metoprolol, it’s best to take it around the same time(s) every day. Make sure to follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor to explain any part you do not understand. Take metoprolol exactly as directed.

The extended-release tablet may be split. Swallow the whole or half tablets whole and do not chew or crush them. Your doctor may start you on a low dose of metoprolol and gradually increase your dose. Metoprolol controls high blood pressure and angina but does not cure them. Metoprolol extended-release tablets control heart failure but do not cure it. It may take few weeks before you feel the full benefit of metoprolol.

Metoprolol side effects

Get immediate medical help if you have any signs of an allergic reaction to metoprolol: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Call your doctor at once if you have:

  • very slow heartbeats;
  • a light-headed feeling, like you might pass out;
  • shortness of breath, swelling, rapid weight gain; or
  • cold feeling in your hands and feet.

Common metoprolol side effects may include:

  • dizziness, tired feeling;
  • confusion, memory problems;
  • nightmares, trouble sleeping;
  • mild itching or rash.

Do not let anyone else take your medication. Ask your doctor 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 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.