Labetalol is used to treat high blood pressure and associated chest pain. It belongs to a class of medicines called ‘alpha and beta-blockers.’
Uses of Labetalol
- High blood pressure (hypertension), including high blood pressure in pregnancy
- Chest pain (that increases on exercise or doing any work called ‘angina pectoris’) in patients with high blood pressure
Contraindications of Labetalol
When should one not use Labetalol
- Allergy to Labetalol or any of its components
- If you have a lower than usual heart rate or missed heartbeats (heart block/ bradycardia) and low blood pressure
- Heart failure that is not responding to treatment
- Sudden fall in the pumping efficiency of the heart which can be fatal (cardiogenic shock)
- If the specialized muscle in the heart that regulates the heartbeat (natural pacemaker of your heart) is not working correctly (sick sinus syndrome)
- Poor blood circulation that requires treatment
- History of asthma or any lung problems
- Do not eat properly/ improper food habits
- High acid levels in blood due to kidney problems (metabolic acidosis)
- Cancer of the adrenal glands (present above the kidney) causing life-threatening high blood pressure (a condition called phaeochromocytoma)
- Chest pain at rest (prinzmetal’s angina)
Side effects of Labetalol
Common side effects of this drug are:
- Allergic reactions causing swelling of the face, lips, throat causing breathing difficulty with or without skin rashes or itching (angioedema)
- Failure of the heart to pump efficiently causing breathing problem, swelling of feet and missed heartbeats
- Difficulty in passing urine
- Difficulty in maintaining erection of the penis or ejaculation
- Feeling dizzy
- Fever, chills, headache, weakness (flu-like symptoms)
- Tingling sensation in the scalp
- Increased blood levels of liver enzymes
- Lung problems (coughing or breathing problems, asthma or worsening of symptoms)
- Change in behavior, sleep issues, depression, confusion, etc
- Very slow heartbeats (rare)
- Severe skin reactions with joint pains and fever (Systemic Lupus Erythematosus or SLE, an immune system disorder). This side effect is sporadic
Precautions and Warnings of Labetalol
Can I take Labetalol during pregnancy?
Though Labetalol is used to treat high blood pressure in pregnancy, it should be dosed carefully and should not be used in later weeks of pregnancy. Higher than usual dosages can harm the unborn baby.
Can I take Labetalol while breastfeeding?
Labetalol is secreted in breast milk though it is not known to cause any potential harm. Discuss with your doctor and it is advisable to use it while nursing, only if other alternatives do not exist.
Can I drive if I have consumed Labetalol?
Labetalol can cause side effects like dizziness or fatigue. Driving for short distances may be permissible but avoid driving if your heart condition is not satisfactory.
Can I consume alcohol with Labetalol?
Alcohol also slows the heart rate and lowers the blood pressure like Labetalol and adds to the drowsiness. It is recommended to avoid alcohol while on this medicine.
Other General Warnings
Talk to your doctor if
- Before taking Labetalol, inform your doctor if you have/ are:
- Liver or kidney disease
- Any conditions that may cause poor blood circulation (obesity, diabetes, tendency to form blood clots, or Raynaud’s disease, a condition which causes severe narrowing of blood vessels)
- Red, scaly patches on the skin (psoriasis)
- Planning a surgery that requires anaesthesia
- Planning an operation and have taken a medicine called Tamsulosin
- Prone for allergic reactions
- Uncontrolled blood sugars (low or diabetes)
Mode of Action of Labetalol
How Does It Work?
Labetalol acts on the muscle and the blood vessels that supply the heart, blocking certain substances that transmit signals (alpha and beta) receptors and thus decrease the heart rate and the force of contraction as well relax the blood vessels lowering the blood pressure.
Interactions of Labetalol
Interactions with other medicines
- Anti-depressants (Amitryptiline, etc.)
- Barbiturates (Phenobarbital etc.)
- Other medicines used to lower blood pressure (Hydralazine, Nifedipine)
- Other similar medicines (Atenolol, Propranolol, Metaprolol)
- Medicines that contain a hormone called adrenaline (a powerful medicine to lower blood pressure)
- Medicines used to treat mental illness (Chlorpromazine, etc.)
- Medicines used to treat stomach ulcers or heartburn (Cimetidine, etc.)
- Antimalarial medicines (Mefloquine, Quinine)
- Migraine medications (Ergotamine, etc.)
- Medicines used to treat impotence (Alprostadil, Moxisylyte)
- Aldesleukin (treats kidney cancer)
- Hormone pills (estrogen and progesterone)
- Injection medicines used to treat abnormal heart rhythm (Verapamil, Diltiazem, Quinidine, Amiodarone, Disopyramide, Digoxin)
- Clonidine (used to treat high blood pressure)
- A class of medicines used to treat depression (Monoamine Oxidase (MAO) inhibitors – Phenelzine, Rasagiline, Selegiline)
Interactions with food items
It is recommended to take Labetalol with food.
Dietary Restrictions of Labetalol
Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, continue your regular diet.
Dosage of Labetalol
Overdose symptoms may include chest pain or discomfort, lightheadedness, dizziness or fainting, slow or irregular heartbeat, sweating, unusual tiredness or weakness. Speak to your doctor if you have taken overdose accidentally but if you experience any of the symptoms mentioned, seek medical attention without any delay.
Missed a Dose
Take the missed dose as early as you remember it. If you are taking Labetalol twice a day, be careful as not to time the two doses jointly (a minimum 6-8 hours gap is recommended). If you are taking it more than two times a day, skip the missed dose and continue with the next one. Do not take a dose twice to compensate for a missed one.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q: Is there anything else I need to know about Labetalol?
- Do not self-medicate or self-adjust the dose with Labetalol
- If you feel any discomfort or do not feel like taking medicine, do not stop on your own
- Sudden discontinuation of Labetalol can worsen the symptoms
- Inform your doctor and he will decide and reduce the dose gradually, if required
Q: Does Labetalol cause impotence in males?
- Due to its effect of lowering blood pressure, the blood supply to penis may not be adequate and thus it will cause erection problems
- This effect is reversible on stopping Labetalol
- If you are facing such issues which is causing you discomfort, you can speak to your doctor and he will change the medication
Last Updated on: 05 Oct 2020 | 10:47 PM (IST)
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