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Updated on February 2, 2023
5 min read

Metoprolol and Alcohol Interactions

Mara Sugue
Dr P. E. Pancoast, MD
Written by 
6 Sources Cited
Mara Sugue
Written by 
6 Sources Cited

What is Metoprolol (Beta-Blocker)?

Metoprolol is a beta-blocker medication. It relaxes the blood vessels and slows the heart rate to improve blood flow and decrease blood pressure.

It is commonly used for the following:

  • Preventing chest pain (angina)
  • Improving survival following a heart attack
  • In combination with other medications to treat cardiovascular disease
  • Preventing migraines and headaches
  • Treating an irregular heartbeat
  • Addressing movement disorders from mental illness medications
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Can You Drink Alcohol When Taking Metoprolol?

Doctors strongly advise against drinking alcohol while taking beta-blockers like metoprolol. Beta-blockers reduce your blood pressure and give you a slow heart rate, lessening the force of each beat. This is called bradycardia.

Alcohol can also reduce your blood pressure. When you combine drinking alcohol with metoprolol, the additive effect on your 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 dangerously low blood pressure. 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 adversely affect the health conditions treated with beta-blockers. These include:

  • Heart conditions
  • Tremors
  • Anxiety
  • Glaucoma

Effects of Alcohol on Blood Pressure

If you have high blood pressure, you must avoid drinking alcohol as much as possible. Drinking alcohol when you have high blood pressure can cause it to fluctuate. Over time, this can also cause permanent hypertension and weight gain.

Cut back on your consumption of alcohol if you're already drinking too much. Drinking no more than one drink daily for women and two for men is recommended.

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 call your doctor or for medical attention immediately if you experience any of them:

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

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:

Alpha-Blockers

Alpha-blockers medication causes vasodilation in small blood vessels by blocking the effects of norepinephrine. Vasodilation is when your blood vessels widen due to the relaxation of the blood vessel’s muscular walls.

The medicine also treats the symptoms of benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH). This is a condition in men in which the prostate gland is enlarged and may cause difficulty urinating.

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 discuss whether drinking is safe.

Metoprolol can also have adverse effects when combined with:

  • Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs)
  • CYP2D6 Inhibitors (such as fluoxetine and paroxetine)
  • Clonidine
  • Heart rhythm drugs (such as quinidine and propafenone)
  • Antihistamines (such as diphenhydramine)

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Can You Take Metoprolol if You Are Pregnant or Breastfeeding?

Speak with your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. It is not yet known if metoprolol can adversely affect an unborn baby.

However, having high blood pressure during pregnancy may lead to complications like diabetes or eclampsia. The latter refers to dangerously high blood pressure that can lead to medical issues in both mother and baby.

The advantages of treating hypertension may outweigh any risks to the baby. Babies born to hypertensive mothers have problems separate from their mothers.

You should also speak to a doctor before using metoprolol if breastfeeding. Metoprolol can enter into breast milk. This may lead to the following:

  • Dry skin
  • Dry mouth 
  • Diarrhea 
  • A slow heartbeat
  • Constipation in your baby

Treatment Options for Alcohol Abuse & Addiction

Alcohol addiction can occur when someone drinks heavily. It’s one of the most significant public health problems in the United States. 

There are a variety of methods for treating alcohol use disorders. Understanding the options for treatment is an essential first step.

Here are some common treatments for alcohol use disorders:

Behavioral Treatment

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

Medication

Three medications are 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). They should not be taken except under the care and treatment of a physician who understands and treats addiction and alcohol dependency.

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 additional support.

Summary

Metoprolol is a beta-blocker drug that can treat high blood pressure and chest pain. Doctors do not recommend taking this drug with alcohol since it can cause serious side effects. If you're taking metoprolol and drinking alcohol, you should limit how much alcohol you consume.

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Updated on February 2, 2023
6 sources cited
Updated on February 2, 2023
All Alcoholrehabhelp content is medically reviewed or fact checked to ensure as much factual accuracy as possible.

We have strict sourcing guidelines and only link to reputable media sites, academic research institutions and, whenever possible, medically peer reviewed studies.
  1. Shah et al. "Metoprolol-Associated Central Nervous System Complications." Cureus, 2020.
  2. Morris J, Dunham A. "Metoprolol." Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing.
  3. Tasnim et al. "Effect of alcohol on blood pressure." Cochrane Database Syst Rev, 2017.
  4. “Treatment for Alcohol Problems: Finding and Getting Help.” National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 2014.
  5. “Prostate Enlargement (Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia).” National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, 2014.
  6. “Metoprolol - Drug Usage Statistics.” ClinCalc DrugStats Database, 2018.

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