Metoprolol is a commonly prescribed medication used to treat high blood pressure and a heart disease called angina, which causes chest pain 23. It may also be prescribed to prevent migraine headaches. Metoprolol works by slowing the heart rate and dilating blood vessels 23. Many people take metoprolol in either its short- or long-acting forms, and it is considered generally safe if taken as prescribed 23. Consult your doctor before you stop taking any medications.
If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
People who suddenly stopped metoprolol may have chest pain 23. To prevent this effect, the dose of metoprolol should be reduced slowly over a period of one to two weeks while you are monitored by a doctor 23. These effects may be possible even in people who take metoprolol for something other than angina 23.
Elevated Heart Rate
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One of metoprolol's effects is slowing the heart rate, and when people suddenly stop taking this medication, a rebound effect may occur, causing the resting heart rate to rise above normal limits 23. The effect is temporary, but for people with existing heart disease, an elevated heart rate may cause complications. The rebound effect can be avoided by gradually reducing the dose.
Worsening Heart Disease
Stopping metoprolol may cause worsening heart disease, including increased risk of heart attack 23. To minimize their risk, you should decrease doses gradually under a doctor's supervision. Talk to your doctor about avoiding intense physical exercise for a period after stopping this medication and report any worsening symptoms immediately.
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- First Hospital: Metoprolol
- MedlinePlus: Metoprolol
- Drugs.com: Metoprolol
- MedlinePlus, U.S. National Library of Medicine. Metoprolol. Updated September 15, 2017.
- Texas Heart Institute. Beta-blockers.
- AstraZeneca .Dutoprol (metoprolol succinate extended release/hydrochlorothiazide). [Package Insert]. Updated 2011.
- Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation. Lopressor HCT T2007-77 metoprolol tartrate USP and hydrochlorothiazide USP. [Package Insert]. Updated 2007.
- American Heart Association. What is high blood pressure? 2020.
- MedlinePlus, U.S. National Library of Medicine. Angina. Updated January 3, 2017.
- Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation. Lopressor (metoprolol tartrate) tablet, Lopressor (metoprolol tartrate) injection, solution. [Package Insert]. Updated 2008.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Heart failure. Updated September 8, 2020.
- AstraZeneca. Toprol-XL (metoprolol succinate) extended-release tablets. [Package Insert]. Updated 2009.
- U.S. Food and Drug Administration. High blood pressure—medicines to help you. May 22, 2019.
Kitsey Canaan is a medical-surgical nurse. Since 1983 she has written for the "Bennington Banner," HERE, "New Wives's Tales," and literary magazines. Canaan earned a B.A. at Bennington College and an M.F.A. in writing at Indiana University. At Vermont Technical College she earned an A.D.N. in nursing. A legal nurse consultant, Canaan educates attorneys in medical record review and consults on medically related cases.