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Doctors' Answers to "Frequently Asked Questions" - Metaprolol
Metoprolol as opposed to Digoxin
Answer: Metoprolol is a beta-blocker. This is a class of drugs used for many purposes since they clinically block the effect of adrenaline on different organs. They always slow the pulse and lower blood pressure. The pulse lowering is the effect desired by your grandmother's physicians. I'm not clear whether she is in atrial fibrillation or not. Many patients with rate problems are, especially with her drugs. A drug called amiodarone is also occasionally used to control atrial fibrillation and will not lower blood pressure. If she is not in atrial fibrillation there are some other alternatives. These are mainly calcium channel blockers which slow the pulse like verapamil, but, they; will also lower blood pressure. Common side effects of beta blockers are fatigue, low pulse, nausea, nightmares, occasionally shortness of breath, depression, etc. There are others, but these are the most common. Elderly people don't tolerate beta-blockers well, but they don't tolerate any medication well and her heart condition is clearly disabling. This is often a tough problem.