Labetalol

Brand names of labetalol

  • Normodyne
  • Normozide [CD]
  • Trandate
  • Trandate HTC [CD]

Labetalol, which is related to the drug carvedilol, is a medication that is used to treat hypertension (high blood pressure). Nerves in the adrenergic nervous system move from the spinal cord to the arteries, the place where they discharge norepinephrine, a hormone as well as a neurotransmitter. On its part, norepinephrine binds to adrenergic receptors on the arteries and results in the contraction of the arteries - narrowing them and raising the blood pressure. The use of labetalol obstructs the adrenergic nervous system's receptors. When labetalol binds to the arteries and obstructs the receptors, it caused the arteries to dilate (widen) and this, in turn, leads to a fall in the blood pressure. Labetalol was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for sale and use in the United States in August 1984.

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Things you need to tell your physician before taking labetalol

As in the case of taking any prescription drug for the very first time, prior to starting labetalol, it is important to tell your physician or pharmacist whether you have allergies to this medication, any of its ingredients or if you have any additional allergies. Labetalol may enclose a number of inactive elements that may result in allergies or additional problems. If you are not certain about the contents of this drug, ask your pharmacist for a list of the same.

People having specific conditions should not use labetalol. Before you begin treatment with this medication inform your physician or pharmacist if you are suffering from specific problems related to the heart rhythm, for instance, atrioventricular blockage of the second or third degree, sluggish heartbeat; and/ or problems related to breathing, for instance, chronic bronchitis, asthma, emphysema.

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Prior to using labetalol, tell your physician or pharmacist regarding your entire medical history, particularly if you have any kidney ailment; liver disease; a treated stable heart failure; hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid disease); problems related to blood circulation (for instance, peripheral vascular disease, Raynaud's disease); myasthenia gravis (a specific muscle ailment); mental or mood disorder (for instance, depression); and/ or severe allergies, counting those requiring treatment using epinephrine.

In case you are having diabetes, labetalol may thwart the heart pounding rapidly, which you would normally experience when the levels of blood sugar fall drastically (a condition called hypoglycemia). However, this medication does not have any effect on any other symptoms associated with low levels of blood sugar. In addition, labetalol may also make it more difficult to regulate your levels of blood sugar. Therefore, you need to ensure that you regularly test your blood sugar levels according to the instructions of your physician. Contact your physician right away if you develop any symptoms related to high levels of blood sugar, for instance having an intense thirst or passing more urine. In such cases, your physician may require to alter the dose of your diabetes medicine and/ or diet.

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In case you require undergoing a surgery (counting a cataract eye operation or dental surgery), you should tell your surgeon or dentist regarding all the prescription and over-the-counter drugs, herbal remedies and nutritional supplements taken by you. You should know that labetalol may make you feel light-headed. Therefore, it is advisable that while you are undergoing treatment with labetalol you should not undertake tasks requiring alertness till such a time when you are certain about the effects of this medication on your body and when you are able to execute them safely.

It is worth mentioning here that the functioning of your kidney diminishes with your age. As the kidneys remove labetalol from the body, elderly people taking this medication are likely to be more vulnerable to its side effects, which may include light-headedness and dizziness. It is significant to note that this medication is often prescribed to treat hypertension in pregnant women. Regulating high blood pressure in pregnant women is vital for the wellbeing of the mother as well as the still born baby.

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Women taking labetalol for hypertension should consult their physician if they are planning to get pregnant or think that they are pregnant regarding the risks and advantages of this drug during pregnancy. It is seldom found that babies born to women who used labetalol during their pregnancy have symptoms related to low blood pressure; low levels of blood sugar (for instance, abnormal sweating, or trembling); slow breathing during the few days following childbirth. However, contact your physician right away in case you observe any of the above mentioned symptoms in your baby. While it has been found that labetalol passes onto the breast milk, it's consequences on the nursing baby is yet to be ascertained. Hence, it is advisable that you talk over to your physician prior to breast feeding.

Usage

Labetalol is prescribed to treat serious hypertension (high blood pressure).

How to use labetalol

Labetalol is a beta-blocker having alpha-blocker actions and is taken orally, generally two times every day or as instructed by your physician. While this medication may be taken with or without food, it is crucial that you choose any one of these ways and take every dose of it exactly in the same manner.

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The dose of labetalol is dependent on the patient's medical condition and his/ her response to therapy. In order to diminish the adverse affects of using this medication, it is likely that your physician will instruct you to start taking it in a low dosage and increase it gradually. It is important for you to follow the instructions of your physician closely.

Labetalol should be taken on a regular basis to obtain the maximum benefits of using it. Take this medication at the same time of the day every day as it will help you to remember when to take it.

If you are taking labetalol to treat hypertension (high blood pressure), you may possibly experience the full benefits of taking the medication after many weeks of its use. Even if you start feeling better after some weeks of treatment with labetalol it is important that you continue taking this medication. It is worth mentioning here that majority of the people suffering from hypertension usually do not have any sickly feeling.

Contact your physician right away in case there is no improvement in your condition or it deteriorates further, for instance, if the readings of your blood pressure continue to be high or go up.

How labetalol works

Labetalol hydrochloride belongs to the class of drugs known as beta-blockers having alpha-blocker actions. This type of drugs acts by putting off or obstructing the nerve impulses from applying an intensifying or growing impact on certain areas of the body, particularly the heart and the blood vessels. Dissimilar to other beta-blockers, labetalol does not inhibit the heart rate considerably.

Side effects

Serious:
Common:
  • dizziness
  • drowsiness
  • insomnia
  • light-headedness
  • scalp tingling
  • unusual fatigue
  • weakness
Less common:

Possible interactions

Herbal medicines or minerals:
Specific herbal remedies and mineral supplements have the potential to interact with labetalol and, therefore, it is advisable that they should not be used in conjunction. For instance, using ginseng in combination with this medication may raise your blood pressure, diminishing the benefits of taking labetalol. Other herbs like saw palmetto, hawthorn, ma huang, yohimbe, goldenseal and licorice also have the aptitude to raise the blood pressure. On the other hand, using garlic and calcium may facilitate in lowering the blood pressure. While the herb Indian snakeroot possesses a German Commission E indication for high blood pressure (hypertension), it is advisable that you consult your physician prior to using it. People with high blood pressure should stay away from herbs like ma huang and Siberian ginseng root.
Foods:
Specific foods enhance the assimilation of labetalol into the body and this may cause a blood level higher than what is expected. In addition, patients using labetalol should also keep away from too much intake of salt.
Alcohol:
Using alcohol while undergoing treatment with labetalol may inflate the aptitude of this medication to lower blood pressure and may possibly also enhance its mild sedative action.
Tobacco smoking:
Smoking tobacco is strictly prohibited while taking labetalol because nicotine may possibly diminish the efficiency of this medication.
Exposure to heat:
People taking labetalol should be careful while being exposed to hot surroundings, as they may bring down the blood pressure and also inflate the actions of this drug.
Exposure to cold:
People using labetalol or any other beta-blocker drug may experience augmented problems related to blood circulation to the extremities when exposed to cold environs. In effect, elderly people undergoing treatment with this medication should exercise additional precautions to put off the development of hypothermia.
Occurrence of unrelated illness:
As fever may result in a drop in the blood pressure, you may need lower doses of labetalol. Even vomiting and nausea may disturb the dosing schedule of this medication. Therefore, it is advisable that you consult your physician when you suffer from any unrelated ailments while taking labetalol.
Heavy exercise or exertion:
People taking labetalol for hypertension should be careful to avoid hard work or any rigorous activity that may cause dizziness, extreme weariness or cramping of the muscles. You ought to be aware of the fact that using labetalol may possibly exaggerate hypertensive reaction to isometric exercise.

Discontinuation

Labetalol should not be stopped all of a sudden, but preferably the dose of this medication should be decreased over a period of two to three weeks. If you discontinue this medication abruptly, it may result in the rise in the blood pressure again. Talk to your doctor for more details and seek his/ her help.

Storage instructions

You should always store labetalol at a temperature between 2°C and 30°C and in a dark and dry place. Never store this medication in your bathroom. Ensure that you keep all medications in a place that is beyond the reach of children and pets.

When the medication becomes outdated or is no longer required dispose it off in a safe and proper manner. Unless you have been instructed otherwise, never discard medications by flushing them down the toilet or pouring them into the drain. If necessary, seek the advice of your pharmacist or any waste disposal firm in your locality regarding the safe and appropriate way to discard such medications.

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