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Metoprolol and Depression

Several different side effects may occur with the use of metoprolol, and depression is seen in up to 5 percent of people. However, since depression is so common within the general population, it is difficult to determine whether the drug actually causes this side effect. If you develop depression symptoms while on metoprolol, be sure to discuss this with your healthcare provider.

Is Depression a Metoprolol Side Effect?

There are several possible side effects for people taking metoprolol (Lopressor®, Toprol XL®). Depression does appear to be one of the more common side effects reported in clinical studies. However, like with other beta blockers, it is difficult to say whether depression is actually caused by metoprolol, other specific factors, or a combination of both.

Understanding Clinical Studies

Before medicines are approved, they must go through several clinical studies in which thousands of people are given a particular medicine and compared to a group of people not given the medicine. In these studies, side effects are always documented. This way, it is possible to see what side effects occur, how often they appear, and how they compare to the group taking a placebo (a "sugar pill" with no active ingredients).
For people taking metoprolol, depression was a commonly reported side effect, occurring in up to 5 percent of people taking the drug. However, it is not clear if depression was more common in people taking Toprol-XL, compared to people taking a placebo (this information was not provided in the prescribing information for Toprol-XL).

What Does Other Research Say About Depression and Metoprolol?

The title of one research study published by Ried and colleagues probably most ably states what the literature says about depression and metoprolol: "Beta-blockers and Depression: The More the Murkier?"
Despite a lot of research in this area, healthcare providers cannot say with certainty that beta blockers, including metoprolol, cause depression. They also cannot say with certainty that beta blockers do not cause depression.
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