metyrosine (Oral route)

me-TYE-roe-seen

Commonly used brand name(s)

In the U.S.

  • Demser

Available Dosage Forms:

  • Capsule

Therapeutic Class: Antihypertensive

Pharmacologic Class: Tyrosine Hydroxylase Inhibitor

Uses For metyrosine

Metyrosine belongs to the general class of medicines called antihypertensives. It is used to treat high blood pressure (hypertension) caused by a disease called pheochromocytoma (a noncancerous tumor of the adrenal gland).

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Metyrosine reduces the amount of certain chemicals in the body. When these chemicals are present in large amounts, they cause high blood pressure.

Metyrosine is available only with your doctor's prescription.

Before Using metyrosine

In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of taking the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For metyrosine, the following should be considered:

Allergies

Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to metyrosine or any other medicines. Also tell your health care professional if you have any other types of allergies, such as to foods, dyes, preservatives, or animals. For non-prescription products, read the label or package ingredients carefully.

Pediatric

Studies on metyrosine have been done only in adult patients, and there is no specific information comparing use of metyrosine in children with use in other age groups.

Geriatric

Many medicines have not been studied specifically in older people. Therefore, it may not be known whether they work exactly the same way they do in younger adults or if they cause different side effects or problems in older people. There is no specific information comparing use of metyrosine in the elderly with use in other age groups.

Pregnancy

Pregnancy Category Explanation
All Trimesters C Animal studies have shown an adverse effect and there are no adequate studies in pregnant women OR no animal studies have been conducted and there are no adequate studies in pregnant women.

Breast Feeding

There are no adequate studies in women for determining infant risk when using this medication during breastfeeding. Weigh the potential benefits against the potential risks before taking this medication while breastfeeding.

Interactions with Medicines

Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. Tell your healthcare professional if you are taking any other prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicine.

Interactions with Food/Tobacco/Alcohol

Certain medicines should not be used at or around the time of eating food or eating certain types of food since interactions may occur. Using alcohol or tobacco with certain medicines may also cause interactions to occur. Discuss with your healthcare professional the use of your medicine with food, alcohol, or tobacco.

Other Medical Problems

The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of metyrosine. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:

  • Kidney disease or
  • Liver disease—Effects of metyrosine may be increased because of slower removal from the body
  • Mental depression (or history of) or
  • Parkinson's disease—Metyrosine may make these conditions worse

Proper Use of metyrosine

Take metyrosine only as directed by your doctor. Do not take more or less of it than your doctor ordered.

To help you remember to take your medicine, try to get into the habit of taking it at the same times each day.

Dosing

The dose of metyrosine will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label. The following information includes only the average doses of metyrosine. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.

The amount of medicine that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. Also, the number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are using the medicine.

  • For oral dosage forms (capsules):
    • Adults and children 12 years of age and older: 1000 milligrams to 3000 milligrams (1 to 3 grams) a day, divided into four doses.

Missed Dose

If you miss a dose of metyrosine, take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not double doses.

Storage

Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light. Keep from freezing.

Keep out of the reach of children.

Do not keep outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed.

Precautions While Using metyrosine

It is important that your doctor check your progress at regular visits to make sure that metyrosine is working properly and to check for unwanted effects.

While taking metyrosine, it is important that you drink plenty of fluids and urinate often. This will help prevent kidney problems and keep your kidneys working well. If you have any questions about how much you should drink, check with your doctor.

metyrosine will add to the effects of alcohol and other CNS depressants (medicines that slow down the nervous system, possibly causing drowsiness). Some examples of CNS depressants are antihistamines or medicine for hay fever, other allergies, or colds; sedatives, tranquilizers, or sleeping medicine; prescription pain medicine or narcotics; barbiturates; medicine for seizures; tricyclic antidepressants (medicine for depression); muscle relaxants; or anesthetics, including some dental anesthetics. Check with your doctor before taking any of the above while you are taking metyrosine.

Before having any kind of surgery (including dental surgery), tell the medical doctor or dentist in charge that you are taking metyrosine.

metyrosine may cause most people to become drowsy or less alert than they are normally. Make sure you know how you react to metyrosine before you drive, use machines, or do anything else that could be dangerous if you are not alert.

metyrosine Side Effects

Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.

Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur:

More common
  • Diarrhea
  • drooling
  • trembling and shaking of hands and fingers
  • trouble in speaking
Less common
  • Anxiety
  • confusion
  • hallucinations (seeing, hearing, or feeling things that are not there)
  • mental depression
Rare
  • Black, tarry stools
  • blood in urine or stools
  • unusual bleeding or bruising
  • muscle spasms, especially of neck and back
  • painful urination
  • pinpoint red spots on skin
  • restlessness
  • shortness of breath
  • shuffling walk
  • skin rash and itching
  • swelling of feet or lower legs
  • tic-like (jerky) movements of head, face, mouth, and neck
  • unusual tiredness or weakness

Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:

More common
  • Drowsiness
Less common
  • Decreased sexual ability in men
  • dryness of mouth
  • nausea, vomiting, or stomach pain
  • stuffy nose
  • swelling of breasts or unusual milk production

After you stop using metyrosine, it may still produce some side effects that need attention. During this period of time, check with your doctor immediately if you notice the following side effects:

More common
  • Diarrhea

Also, after you stop taking metyrosine, you may have feelings of increased energy or you may have trouble sleeping. However, these effects should last only for two or three days.

Other side effects not listed may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your healthcare professional.

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

See also: Side effects (in more detail)

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