Metoprolol and Alcohol Interactions

What is Metoprolol (Beta-Blocker)?

Metoprolol is in a group of medications called beta-blockers. Metoprolol relaxes the blood vessels and slows the heart rate. This helps to improve blood flow and decrease blood pressure.

Other common beta-blockers include propranolol and atenolol.

High blood pressure is a common disease. When left untreated, it can cause damage to the following:

  • Brain
  • Heart
  • Blood vessels
  • Kidneys

Other areas of the body can also be affected by high blood pressure.

Damage to these vital organs can lead to the following side effects and medical conditions:

  • Heart disease 
  • Heart attack
  • Heart failure
  • Stroke
  • Kidney failure
  • Loss of vision

In addition to taking medications like metoprolol, making lifestyle changes can also help to maintain healthy blood pressure.

Metoprolol has a black box FDA warning listed in the drug information.

A black box warning is the most serious warning from the FDA. It notifies doctors and patients about drug effects that could be dangerous or severe.

Patients shouldn’t stop taking metoprolol suddenly. If metoprolol is stopped suddenly, patients may experience the following serious side effects:

  • Chest pain 
  • An increase in blood pressure
  • Heart attack 

If you want to stop taking the drug, speak to your doctor or health care provider for medical advice. Your dosage may be gradually decreased under medical supervision.

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Uses of Metoprolol

Metoprolol is used alone or with other medications to treat high blood pressure. 

The drug is also used to prevent angina, otherwise known as chest pain. It’s also used to improve survival following a heart attack. Metoprolol may also be used with other medications to treat heart failure.

Less commonly, metoprolol is used to prevent migraines and headaches and to treat an irregular heartbeat. Metoprolol is also occasionally used to address movement disorders resulting from medications for mental illness.

Beta-blockers like metoprolol may also be prescribed as a treatment for other conditions. 

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Side Effects of Metoprolol

Metoprolol can cause side effects. Seek medical advice from your doctor if any of these common side effects and symptoms are severe or do not go away:

  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Tiredness
  • Depression
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Dry mouth
  • Stomach pain
  • Gas or bloating 
  • Heartburn
  • Constipation
  • Rash or itching 
  • Cold hands and feet
  • Runny nose

Some side effects of Metoprolol can be more serious. The following symptoms are rare, but if you experience any of these serious side effects, call your doctor or for medical attention immediately:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Wheezing
  • Swelling of the hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs 
  • Weight gain
  • Fainting 
  • Rapid, pounding, or irregular heartbeat 

Metoprolol may also cause other side effects. If you experience any unusual health problems while taking these prescription drugs, call your doctor.

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Metoprolol and Alcohol Interaction

Drinking alcohol while taking beta-blockers like metoprolol isn’t recommended by doctors. Beta-blockers reduce your blood pressure and give you a slow heart rate, lessening the force of each beat.

Alcohol can also reduce your blood pressure.

When you combine drinking alcohol with metoprolol, the additive effect on the blood pressure can cause it to drop to a dangerously low level. This condition is called hypotension.

Dangers of Mixing Metoprolol and Alcohol

The drug interactions between metoprolol and alcohol can give you low blood pressure at a dangerous rate. This can lead to the following side effects and symptoms:

  • Dizziness
  • Lightheadedness 
  • Fainting, especially if you get up too fast 
  • Rapid heart rate 
  • Nausea 
  • Headache
  • Inability to concentrate

Drinking alcohol can also provide adverse effects on the health conditions treated with beta-blockers. These include:

  • Heart conditions
  • Tremors
  • Anxiety
  • Glaucoma
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Risks of Mixing Another Medication With Beta-Blockers and Alcohol

If you take other blood pressure medications combined with beta-blockers and alcohol, your risk of low blood pressure increases. This is especially true for the following classes of drugs. These two medicines lower blood pressure by dilating your arteries.

Alpha-Blockers

Alpha-blockers medication causes vasodilation in small blood vessels. The medicine does this by blocking the effects of norepinephrine. Alpha-blockers also treat the symptoms of benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH). This is a condition in men in which the prostate gland is enlarged and may be cancerous.

Examples of alpha-blockers include:

  • Doxazosin (Cardura) 
  • Prazosin (Minipress) 
  • Terazosin (Hytrin)

Calcium Channel Blockers

Calcium channel blockers cause vasodilation by preventing calcium from entering the cells in your blood vessels.

Examples of calcium channel blockers include:

  • Amlodipine (Norvasc) 
  • Diltiazem (Cardizem, Tiazac) 
  • Nifedipine (Procardia) 
  • Verapamil (Calan)

If you consume alcohol while taking beta-blockers and develop any of the symptoms or side effects above, visit your doctor or health care provider. You can receive medical advice on your symptoms and can discuss whether drinking is safe.

treatment

Treatment Options for Alcohol Abuse & Addiction

Alcohol addiction can occur when someone drinks heavily. It is one of the most significant public health problems in the United States. Many people struggle to control their drinking at some point during their lives.

However, no matter how serious the drinking problem may seem, most people experiencing an alcohol use disorder can benefit from treatment. Many people that undergo treatment for alcohol addiction significantly reduce their drinking or become abstinent.

There are a variety of methods for treating alcohol use disorders. But, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. What may be beneficial for one person may not for another. Understanding the options of treatment is an essential first step.

Here are some common treatments of alcohol use disorders.

Around 17 million adults aged 18 or older have an alcohol use disorder. One in ten children lives in a home with a parent who has a drinking problem. 

Treatment for Alcohol Problems: Finding and Getting Help, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 2014.

Behavioral Treatment

Behavioral treatments focus on changing drinking behaviors through counseling. Behavioral treatments involve working with a health care provider or professional to adjust someone’s behaviors that result in heavy drinking. 

Behavioral treatment often helps patients do the following:

  • Develop the skins required to stop or reduce drinking
  • Build a strong and stable social support system
  • Set reachable goals
  • Cope with or avoid triggers that may lead to a relapse

Medication

There are three medications approved in the United States that help people stop or reduce drinking alcohol. These medications are prescribed by a primary care physician or another medical professional. These medicines may be used alone or during medication assisted treatment (MAT). 

All approved medications are non-addictive. The three medicines are:

  • Naltrexone
  • Acamprosate
  • Disulfiram

Support Groups

Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and other support groups offer peer support for quitting or cutting back on alcohol. 

Support groups are often combined with medical treatment led by health professionals, providing an additional layer of support.

Resources

Metoprolol, MedlinePlus, 2017, https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a682864.html

Maheswaran R, Beevers DG, Kendall MJ, Davies P. The interaction of alcohol and beta-blockers in arterial hypertension. J Clin Pharm Ther. 1990;15(6):405-410, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/2089047/

Treatment for Alcohol Problems: Finding and Getting Help, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 2014, https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/brochures-and-fact-sheets/treatment-alcohol-problems-finding-and-getting-help

Prostate Enlargement (Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia), National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, 2014, https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/urologic-diseases/prostate-problems/prostate-enlargement-benign-prostatic-hyperplasia

Updated on: September 22, 2020
Author
Ellie Swain
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Medically Reviewed: August 6, 2020
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Annamarie Coy,
BA, CADACII/ICADC, ICPR, MATS
About
All content created by Alcohol Rehab Help is sourced from current scientific research and fact-checked by an addiction counseling expert. However, the information provided by Alcohol Rehab Help is not a substitute for professional treatment advice. For more information read out about us.
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