By lowering blood pressure, metoprolol can decrease the risks that accompany long-term high blood pressure (see Effects of High Blood Pressure). By decreasing the workload of the heart, the drug can also decrease the number of angina attacks and increase exercise tolerance. Finally, although the exact mechanism is not known, metoprolol can increase the chances of survival in people who have just had a heart attack.
For people with congestive heart failure, the effects of this drug on the heart and blood vessels have been shown to result in a decrease in hospitalizations and loss of life from congestive heart failure.
Some general considerations for when and how to take metoprolol include the following:
- The medication comes in tablet form. Depending on the form and your healthcare provider's recommendation, it is taken either once or twice a day.
- Metoprolol should be taken with or immediately after a meal.
- The extended-release tablets should not be crushed or chewed. However, they may be cut in half along the score line without causing any problems. The immediate-release tablets can be cut, chewed, or crushed if necessary.
- Metoprolol should be taken at the same time(s) each day to maintain an even level in your blood.
- For the medication to work properly, you have to take it as prescribed. Metoprolol will not work if you stop taking it.
- You should not stop taking the drug without first discussing it with your healthcare provider. Stopping it abruptly increases the risk for serious side effects (see Metoprolol Warnings and Precautions).