Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on Mar 28, 2022.
Commonly used brand name(s)
In the U.S.
Available Dosage Forms:
Therapeutic Class: Cardiovascular Agent
Pharmacologic Class: Alpha/Beta-Adrenergic Blocker
Uses for labetalol
Labetalol is used alone or together with other medicines to treat 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 .
Labetalol 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 .
Labetalol is available only with your doctor's prescription .
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 labetalol, the following should be considered:
Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to labetalol 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 in the pediatric population. Safety and efficacy have not been established .
No information is available on the relationship of age to the effects of labetalol in geriatric patients .
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 taking labetalol, 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 labetalol 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 labetalol 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. The following interactions have been selected on the basis of their potential significance and are not necessarily all-inclusive.
Other medical problems
The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of labetalol. 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
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), history of or
- Heart block or
- Heart failure or
- Hypotension (low blood pressure), severe and prolonged—Should not use in patients with these conditions .
- Diabetes or
- Hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid) 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. May worsen this condition .
- Lung disease—May cause difficulty with breathing in patients with this condition .
- Pheochromocytoma (adrenal gland tumor)—Use with caution. Unusual increase in blood pressure may occur .
Proper use of labetalol
In addition to the use of labetalol, treatment for your high blood pressure may include weight control and changes in the types of foods you eat, especially foods high in sodium. Your doctor will tell you which of these are most important for you. You should check with your doctor before changing your diet .
Many patients who have high blood pressure will not notice any signs of the problem. In fact, many may feel normal. It is very important that you take your medicine exactly as directed and that you keep your appointments with your doctor even if you feel well .
Remember that labetalol will not cure your high blood pressure, but it does help control it. You must continue to take it as directed if you expect to lower your blood pressure and keep it down. You may have to take high blood pressure medicine for the rest of your life. If high blood pressure is not treated, it can cause serious problems such as heart failure, blood vessel disease, stroke, or kidney disease .
Do not interrupt or stop taking labetalol without first checking with your doctor. Your doctor may want you to gradually reduce the amount you are taking before stopping it completely. Some conditions may become worse when the medicine is stopped suddenly, which can be dangerous .
The dose of labetalol 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 labetalol. 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 form (tablets):
- For high blood pressure:
- Adults—At first, 100 milligrams (mg) two times a day. Your doctor may increase your dose if needed.
- Children—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor .
- For high blood pressure:
If you miss a dose of labetalol, 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.
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.
Ask your healthcare professional how you should dispose of any medicine you do not use.
Precautions while using labetalol
It is very important that your doctor check your progress at regular visits to make sure labetalol is working properly and to check for unwanted effects .
Check with your doctor right away if you start having itchy skin, dark urine, loss of appetite, yellow eyes or skin, flu-like symptoms, or stomach pain or tenderness. These could be symptoms of a liver injury .
Labetalol 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; shortness of breath; swelling of the face, fingers, feet, or lower legs; weight gain; or wheezing .
Labetalol may cause changes in your blood sugar levels. Also, labetalol may cover up signs of low blood sugar, 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 .
Make sure any doctor or dentist who treats you knows that you are using labetalol. You may need to stop using labetalol several days before having surgery or medical tests .
Labetalol 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 immediately if any of the following side effects occur:
- Blurred vision or other changes in vision
- cold sweats
- difficult or labored breathing
- dizziness, faintness, or lightheadedness when getting up from lying or sitting position
- shortness of breath
- swelling of face, fingers, feet, or lower legs
- tightness in chest
Get emergency help immediately if any of the following symptoms of overdose occur:
Symptoms of overdose
- Chest pain or discomfort
- lightheadedness, dizziness, or fainting
- slow or irregular heartbeat
- 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:
- Acid or sour stomach
- change in taste or bad, unusual, or unpleasant (after) taste
- decreased interest in sexual intercourse
- feeling of constant movement of self or surroundings
- inability to have or keep an erection
- lack or loss of strength
- loss in sexual ability, desire, drive, or performance
- not able to ejaculate semen
- sensation of spinning
- stomach discomfort, upset, or pain
- stuffy nose
- Burning, crawling, itching, numbness, prickling, "pins and needles", or tingling feelings
- increased sweating
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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- Drug class: non-cardioselective beta blockers
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