Generic name: labetalol [ la-BAYT-a-lol ]
Drug class: Non-cardioselective beta blockers
Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on Jun 28, 2023.
Uses for labetalol
Labetalol injection is used to treat severe high blood pressure (hypertension). High blood pressure adds to the workload of the heart and arteries. If it continues for a long time, the heart and arteries may not function properly. This can damage the blood vessels of the brain, heart, and kidneys, resulting in a stroke, heart failure, or kidney failure. High blood pressure may also increase the risk of heart attacks. These problems may be less likely to occur if blood pressure is controlled.
This medicine is a beta-blocker. It works by affecting the response to nerve impulses in certain parts of the body, like the heart. As a result, the heart beats slower and decreases the blood pressure. When the blood pressure is lowered, the amount of blood and oxygen is increased to the heart.
This medicine is to be given only by or under the direct supervision of your doctor.
Before using labetalol
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 this medicine, the following should be considered:
Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to this medicine 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.
Appropriate studies have not been performed on the relationship of age to the effects of labetalol injection in the pediatric population. Safety and efficacy have not been established.
Appropriate studies performed to date have not demonstrated geriatric-specific problems that would limit the usefulness of labetalol injection in the elderly. However, elderly patients may require a lower maintenance dose than younger adults.
Studies in women suggest that this medication poses minimal risk to the infant when used during 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. When you are receiving this medicine, it is especially important that your healthcare professional know if you are taking any of the medicines listed below. The following interactions have been selected on the basis of their potential significance and are not necessarily all-inclusive.
Using this medicine with any of the following medicines is usually not recommended, but may be required in some cases. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.
- Iobenguane I 123
- Iobenguane I 131
Using this medicine with any of the following medicines may cause an increased risk of certain side effects, but using both drugs may be the best treatment for you. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.
- Amtolmetin Guacil
- Choline Salicylate
- Flufenamic Acid
- Insulin Aspart, Recombinant
- Insulin Degludec
- Insulin Detemir
- Insulin Glargine, Recombinant
- Insulin Glulisine
- Insulin Human Inhaled
- Insulin Human Isophane (NPH)
- Insulin Human Regular
- Insulin Lispro, Recombinant
- Magnesium Sulfate
- Mefenamic Acid
- Niflumic Acid
- Nimesulide Beta Cyclodextrin
- Salicylic Acid
- Sodium Salicylate
- St John's Wort
- Tiaprofenic Acid
- Tolfenamic Acid
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 this medicine. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:
- Angina (severe chest pain)—May provoke chest pain if stopped too quickly.
- Asthma or
- Bradycardia (slow heartbeat) or
- Cardiogenic shock (shock caused by heart attack) or
- Heart block or
- Heart failure or
- Low blood pressure, severe and prolonged—Should not use in patients with these conditions.
- Diabetes or
- Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)—May cover up some of the signs and symptoms of these diseases, such as a fast heartbeat.
- Liver disease—Use with caution. The effects may be increased because of slower removal of the medicine from the body.
- Lung disease (eg, bronchitis, emphysema)—May cause difficulty with breathing in patients with this condition.
- Pheochromocytoma (adrenal gland tumor)—Use with caution. May require an increased dose.
Proper use of labetalol
A nurse or other trained health professional will give you this medicine in a hospital. This medicine is given through a needle placed in one of your veins. You will need to remain lying down for up to 3 hours after you receive this medicine.
Your doctor will give you a few doses of this medicine until your condition improves, and then switch you to an oral medicine that works the same way. If you have any concerns about this, talk to your doctor.
Precautions while using labetalol
It is very important that your doctor check your progress at regular visits to make sure this medicine is working properly. Blood and urine tests will be needed to check for unwanted effects.
You should not receive this medicine together with verapamil (Calan®).
Dizziness, lightheadedness, or fainting may occur, especially when you get up suddenly from a lying or sitting position. These symptoms are more likely to occur when you begin using this medicine, or when the dose is increased. Getting up slowly may help.
This medicine may cause heart failure in some patients. Check with your doctor right away if you are having chest pain or discomfort, dilated neck veins, extreme fatigue, irregular breathing, an irregular heartbeat, swelling of the face, fingers, feet, or lower legs, or weight gain.
This medicine may cause changes in your blood sugar levels. Also, this medicine may cover up signs of low blood sugar in patients who have diabetes or are fasting (eg, surgery, not eating regularly, vomiting), such as a rapid pulse rate. Check with your doctor if you have these problems or if you notice a change in the results of your blood or urine sugar tests.
Check with your doctor right away if you or your child have pain or tenderness in the upper stomach, pale stools, dark urine, loss of appetite, nausea, unusual tiredness or weakness, or yellow eyes or skin. These could be symptoms of a serious liver problem.
If you plan to have cataract surgery, tell your eye doctor (ophthalmologist) that you are receiving this medicine or that you received this medicine. A serious eye problem called Intraoperative Floppy Iris Syndrome (IFIS) has occurred in some patients who were taking this medicine or who had recently taken this medicine when they had cataract surgery.
Make sure any doctor or dentist who treats you knows that you are receiving this medicine. This medicine may affect the results of certain tests.
Do not take other medicines unless they have been discussed with your doctor. This includes prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicines and herbal or vitamin supplements.
Side Effects of labetalol
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 or nurse immediately if any of the following side effects occur:
- tingling of the scalp or skin
- Black, tarry stools
- blurred vision
- burning, crawling, itching, numbness, prickling, "pins and needles", or tingling feelings
- clay-colored stools
- dark urine
- dizziness, faintness, or lightheadedness when getting up from a lying or sitting position suddenly
- fast, pounding, or irregular heartbeat or pulse
- feeling of constant movement of self or surroundings
- general tiredness and weakness
- itching skin
- light-colored stools
- loss of appetite
- nausea and vomiting
- sensation of spinning
- skin rash
- stomach pain
- unpleasant breath odor
- unusual tiredness or weakness
- vomiting of blood
- yellow eyes or skin
- Chest pain, discomfort, or tightness
- difficulty swallowing
- hives or welts
- joint pain, stiffness, or swelling
- large, hive-like swelling on the face, eyelids, lips, tongue, throat, hands, legs, feet, or sex organs
- lightheadedness, dizziness, or fainting
- puffiness or swelling of the eyelids or around the eyes, face, lips, or tongue
- redness of skin
- slow heartbeat
- stomach pain
- swelling of the eyelids, face, lips, hands, or feet
- trouble breathing or swallowing
Get emergency help immediately if any of the following symptoms of overdose occur:
Symptoms of overdose
- Dilated neck veins
- extreme fatigue
- irregular breathing
- loss of bladder control
- muscle spasm or jerking of all extremities
- noisy breathing
- sudden loss of consciousness
- weight gain
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:
- Stuffy nose
- Acid or sour stomach
- change in taste or bad, unusual, or unpleasant (after) taste
- decreased interest in sexual intercourse
- inability to have or keep an erection
- increased yawning
- loss in sexual ability, desire, drive, or performance
- sleepiness or unusual drowsiness
- stomach discomfort or upset
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.
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