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What Is Metoprolol Tartrate?

Metoprolol may be given to a patient after a heart attack.
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  • Written By: Jacquelyn Gilchrist
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 15 July 2014
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Metoprolol tartrate is a medication prescribed to treat high blood pressure and angina. A doctor may also prescribe it to patients who have just suffered a heart attack in order to improve their chances of survival. This medication can also work to prevent occurrences of angina, or chest pain. Metoprolol tartrate is a beta blocker that works by decreasing the heart rate and relaxing blood vessels in order to lower blood pressure.

This drug is available as an extended-release tablet and as a regular tablet. Patients may take the former once daily, while the latter is typically prescribed one to two times daily, taken with food. It is strongly recommended that this drug not be abruptly discontinued, because this can worsen the patient's medical condition. Instead, the doctor will gradually reduce the dosage and the patient will have to limit physical activity while getting off metoprolol tartrate. While reducing the dosage, the patient must seek emergency medical help if he experiences a rapid or irregular heartbeat, problems breathing, or chest pain that spreads to the arm, neck, or jaw.

Some side effects may occur while using metoprolol tartrate, which should be reported to the prescribing physician if they become severe. Patients may experience insomnia, vision problems, and unusual dreams. Vomiting, diarrhea, and dizziness may also occur. Drowsiness, lightheadedness, and fatigue have also been reported. These side effects may diminish as the patient's body becomes accustomed to the drug.

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More serious side effects require immediate medical attention. These can include jaundice, dark urine, and a persistent fever or sore throat. Persistent nausea, unexplained weight gain, and increased urination have also been reported. Other serious side effects can include fainting, mood changes, and a slowed heartbeat. Bluish discoloration of the toes or fingers, numbness or tingling, and decreased sexual ability have also occurred with the use of metoprolol tartrate.

Before using metoprolol tartrate, patients must disclose their other medical conditions. It is strongly recommended that women who are pregnant avoid this drug. Those who are breastfeeding should discuss potential risks with their doctors. This drug may be contraindicated for use by those who have diabetes, liver disease, or blood circulation problems. Certain muscle diseases, irregular heartbeats, and some skin conditions may also prevent a patient from taking metoprolol tartrate.

This medication may interact with other drugs. Patients must disclose all other medications and supplements they take, including calcium channel blockers, epinephrine, and diabetes medications, including insulin. St. John's wort, antidepressants, and other high blood pressure medicines may also interact with it.

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