Methyldopa

Pronunciation

Generic Name: methyldopa (meth-ill-DOE-puh)
Brand Name: Generic only. No brands available.

Methyldopa is used for:

Treating high blood pressure. It may be used with other high blood pressure medicines. It may also be used for other conditions as determined by your doctor.

Methyldopa is an alpha-2 receptor agonist. It reduces elevated blood pressure by relaxing and dilating (widening) blood vessels. Blood flows more freely and at a lower pressure through dilated blood vessels.

Do NOT use methyldopa if:

  • you are allergic to any ingredient in methyldopa
  • you have liver disease, severe kidney problems, a liver reaction caused by past use of methyldopa, or a history of anemia caused by your immune system
  • you are receiving enteral feedings
  • you are taking a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI) (eg, phenelzine)

Contact your doctor or health care provider right away if any of these apply to you.

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Before using methyldopa:

Some medical conditions may interact with methyldopa. Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have any medical conditions, especially if any of the following apply to you:

  • if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding
  • if you are taking any prescription or nonprescription medicine, herbal preparation, or dietary supplement
  • if you have allergies to medicines, foods, or other substances
  • if you have hemolytic anemia or other blood problems, liver problems, kidney problems, or tumors on your adrenal glands

Some MEDICINES MAY INTERACT with methyldopa. Tell your health care provider if you are taking any other medicines, especially any of the following:

  • Lithium or MAOIs (eg, phenelzine) because their actions and the risk of their side effects may be increased by methyldopa
  • Other medicines for high blood pressure because excessively low blood pressure may occur

This may not be a complete list of all interactions that may occur. Ask your health care provider if methyldopa may interact with other medicines that you take. Check with your health care provider before you start, stop, or change the dose of any medicine.

How to use methyldopa:

Use methyldopa as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.

  • Take methyldopa by mouth with or without food.
  • Do not take iron salts within 3 hours before or 2 hours after taking methyldopa.
  • If you miss a dose of methyldopa, take it as soon as possible. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not take 2 doses at once.

Ask your health care provider any questions you may have about how to use methyldopa.

Important safety information:

  • Methyldopa may cause drowsiness or dizziness. These effects may be worse if you take it with alcohol or certain medicines. Use methyldopa with caution. Do not drive or perform other possibly unsafe tasks until you know how you react to it.
  • Do not drink alcohol or use medicines that may cause drowsiness (eg, sleep aids, muscle relaxers) while you are using methyldopa; it may add to their effects. Ask your pharmacist if you have questions about which medicines may cause drowsiness.
  • Tell your doctor or dentist that you take methyldopa before you receive any medical or dental care, emergency care, or surgery.
  • Lab tests, including blood counts and liver function tests, may be performed while you use methyldopa. These tests may be used to monitor your condition or check for side effects. Be sure to keep all doctor and lab appointments.
  • Use methyldopa with caution in the ELDERLY; they may be more sensitive to its effects.
  • Methyldopa should not be used in CHILDREN; safety and effectiveness in children have not been confirmed.
  • PREGNANCY and BREAST-FEEDING: If you become pregnant, contact your doctor. You will need to discuss the benefits and risks of using methyldopa while you are pregnant. Methyldopa is found in breast milk. If you are or will be breast-feeding while you use methyldopa, check with your doctor. Discuss any possible risks to your baby.

Possible side effects of methyldopa:

All medicines may cause side effects, but many people have no, or minor, side effects. Check with your doctor if any of these most COMMON side effects persist or become bothersome:

Dizziness; drowsiness; dry mouth; headache; weakness.

Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur:

Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); chest pain; continuing fatigue; diarrhea; joint or muscle pain; swelling of the legs or feet; unexplained fever; vomiting; weight gain; yellowing of the skin or eyes.

This is not a complete list of all side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, contact your health care provider. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. To report side effects to the appropriate agency, please read the Guide to Reporting Problems to FDA.

If OVERDOSE is suspected:

Contact 1-800-222-1222 (the American Association of Poison Control Centers), your local poison control center, or emergency room immediately. Symptoms may include constipation; diarrhea; dizziness; drowsiness; lightheadedness; low blood pressure; nausea; slowed heart rate; vomiting; weakness.

Proper storage of methyldopa:

Store methyldopa at room temperature, between 59 and 86 degrees F (15 and 30 degrees C), in a tightly closed container. Store away from heat and light. Keep methyldopa out of the reach of children and away from pets.

General information:

  • If you have any questions about methyldopa, please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • Methyldopa is to be used only by the patient for whom it is prescribed. Do not share it with other people.
  • If your symptoms do not improve or if they become worse, check with your doctor.
  • Check with your pharmacist about how to dispose of unused medicine.

This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take methyldopa or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about methyldopa. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to methyldopa. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using methyldopa.

Issue Date: April 2, 2014
Database Edition 14.2.1.001
Copyright © 2014 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc.

Disclaimer: This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this medicine or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about this medicine. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to this medicine. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using this medicine.

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