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Lopressor (metoprolol tartrate) is a beta-adrenergic blocking medication, more commonly known as a beta blocker. The medication dilates blood vessels and reduces heart rate, which improves blood flow and reduces blood pressure. Beta blockers can be used alone or in combination with other medications to treat a range of conditions, most commonly:

  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Angina (chest pain)
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Rapid heartbeat

Lopressor is frequently administered in hospital settings following a heart attack and to prevent atrial fibrillation following heart surgery.

Less commonly Lopressor might be prescribed to help manage migraine headaches, reduce anxiety, relieve eye pressure, and to alleviate symptoms caused by other medications. The active ingredient in Lopressor, metoprolol, is also sometimes used in cases of heart failure, but the longer-acting version found in Toprol XL is usually preferred.

Getting Started with Lopressor

As with most medications that affect heart rate and blood pressure, treatment with Lopressor should be individualized according to patient needs and response to the medication; it's important to work with a doctor for optimal results. That said, treatment of hypertension, angina, and rapid or irregular heartbeat is generally as follows:

  • Treatment starts with 100 mg per day. This should be maintained for at least one week; full effects of the medication will not be seen until then.
  • After one week dosage may be gradually increased if the previous dose was not sufficient, always waiting at least one week for full effects to be measured.
  • Dosage should not exceed 450 mg in one day.
  • The total dose is usually split into two doses taken twice per day, especially at higher doses.
  • Doses should be taken with or immediately following a meal.
  • Tablets may be split if they have a score line, but should not be crushed, chewed, or dissolved.
  • Treatment may continue for as long as it provides benefit.
  • If treatment ceases it should be done so gradually, reducing the daily dosage slowly over several weeks.

Many individuals with hypertension and/or heart problems will be taking other medications, including other medications that influence blood pressure and heart rate; these types of drugs can interact with potentially serious consequences---always check with a doctor or pharmacist before mixing these medications. The above treatment outline can deviate if other medications are being taken along with Lopressor.

Precautions and Side Effects

Many patients starting treatment with this or any blood pressure medication will feel "run down" and experience mild side effects for a few weeks; this should gradually improve as the body adjusts to the medication and reduced blood pressure. Common side effects include:

  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Heartburn
  • Cold hands and/or feet
  • Mild stomach upset
  • Tiredness
  • Runny nose

The above side effects are generally not cause for concern unless severe or if they persist beyond the first few weeks of treatment; if they do, speak with a doctor about adjusting dosage or alternative options.

Serious side effects are rare, but warrant medical attention:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Fainting
  • Rapid or pounding heartbeat
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Swelling of hands, feet or legs
  • Vision changes
  • Mental changes
  • Bruising or bleeding changes

As mentioned above, Lopressor can interact with a wide range of other medications, including those unrelated to heart or blood pressure conditions. Mixing these medications can reduce the effectiveness of the drugs involved; this can have severe consequences. Always check with a doctor or pharmacist before combining medications.

Be sure doctors or dentists are notified that Lopressor (or any blood pressure medication) is being taken before undergoing surgery.

Parents should discuss potential risks with a doctor before starting treatment if pregnant or breastfeeding.


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Medicines have benefits and some have risks. Always read the label and use only as directed. If symptoms persist or you have side effects see your health professional.

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