Metoprolol Tartrate vs. Metoprolol Succinate: What’s the Difference?

Medically reviewed by Philip Gregory, PharmD, MS on August 10, 2016Written by University of Illinois-Chicago, Drug Information Group on August 10, 2016


If you’ve suffered from a heart attack, your doctor may give you metoprolol tartrate. This drug can prevent another heart attack from happening. However, you should be careful not to confuse it with metoprolol succinate. While the two drugs share the same first word and both treat heart-related issues, metoprolol succinate does not prevent or treat a heart attack in people who’ve already had a heart attack. Learn more about the similarities and differences of these two drugs.

Metoprolol tartrate vs. metoprolol succinate

Metoprolol tartrate and metoprolol succinate contain the same active medication – metoprolol. However, they contain different salt forms that are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for different conditions. They both belong to a class of drugs called beta-blockers. These drugs work by relaxing your blood vessels and slowing down your heart rate.

Metoprolol tartrate is used to treat high blood pressure, chest pain due to heart disease, or heart attack. It’s also used to prevent heart attack in people who’ve had a heart attack or other heart disease.

Comparatively, metoprolol succinate is also used to treat high blood pressure and chest pain related to heart disease. It’s also used to treat heart failure. However, metoprolol succinate should not be used to prevent heart attacks.

Used forMetoprolol tartrateMetoprolol succinate
high blood pressure XX
chest pain related to heart diseaseXX
heart attack preventionX
unstable angina X
heart failure X

Although they both treat high blood pressure and chest pain, these drugs are not interchangeable. They are dosed differently.

Metoprolol succinate comes as an extended-release oral tablet. Extended release means the drug releases into your body slowly. You usually take it once per day.

Metoprolol tartrate is available as an immediate-release oral tablet. It does not stay in your body as long as metoprolol succinate does, so you must take it multiple times per day. This drug also comes as a solution for injection that’s used to treat unstable angina and arrhythmia. A healthcare provider gives you this injection. You don’t give it to yourself.

The table below summarizes other features of these medications.

Generic nameMetoprolol tartrateMetoprolol succinate
What is the brand-name version?Lopressor Toprol-XL
Is a generic version available?yesyes
What form(s) does it come in?immediate-release oral tablet
injectable solution
extended-release oral tablet
What strengths does it come in?oral tablet: 25 mg, 37.5 mg, 50 mg, 75 mg, 100 mg
injectable solution: 5 mg/5 mL
25 mg, 50 mg, 100 mg, 200 mg
What’s the typical length of treatment?long-termlong-term
How do I store it?Store at room temperature from 59°F to 86°F (15°C to 30°C) Store at room temperature from 59°F to 86°F (15°C to 30°C)

Cost, availability, and insurance

Metoprolol tartrate and metoprolol succinate are both available as generic drugs. Both medications are commonly prescribed and should be available in most pharmacies. In most cases, generic forms of drugs cost less than their brand-name versions.

Metoprolol succinate costs about twice as much as metoprolol tartrate if you’re paying for the drug out of your pocket without assistance from your health insurance plan. It may cost between $13 and $45 for a one-month supply, while metoprolol tartrate may cost anywhere from $4 to $20 for a one-month supply. For the most current price estimates, visit

If you have prescription coverage through your health plan, the price you pay for these drugs may be less.

Side effects

Because both drugs contain the same active medication, they cause similar side effects. The chart below lists examples of side effects of metoprolol tartrate and metoprolol succinate.

Common side effectsMetoprolol tartrateMetoprolol succinate
slower heart rateXX
Serious side effectsMetoprolol tartrateMetoprolol succinate
slowed heart ratexx
shortness of breath or wheezingxx
low blood pressurex
worsening chest pain x
worsening heart failure x

FDA boxed warning

Metoprolol tartrate and metoprolol succinate both carry a boxed warning, the most serious warning from the FDA. The FDA warns that either drug may cause worse chest pain or a heart attack if you stop taking it suddenly. This risk is higher in people with heart disease. If you need to stop taking either drug, your doctor will slowly lower your dosage over one to two weeks.

Drug interactions

Both drugs share similar drug interactions. Make sure you tell your doctor about all prescription and over-the-counter drugs, supplements, and herbs you take before you start treatment with a new medication.

The following medications may interact with metoprolol tartrate or metoprolol succinate:

  • reserpine
  • monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) such as selegiline, phenelzine, and tranylcypromine
  • heart drugs such as digoxin, diltiazem, and verapamil
  • antidepressants such as fluvoxamine, fluoxetine, paroxetine, sertraline, bupropion, clomipramine, and desipramine
  • antipsychotics such as chlorpromazine, haloperidol, and thioridazine
  • heart rhythm drugs such as quinidine and propafenone
  • antiretroviral drugs such as ritonavir
  • antihistamine drugs such as diphenhydramine
  • antimalarial drugs such as hydroxychloroquine and quinidine
  • antifungal drugs such as terbinafine
  • hydralazine
  • guanethidine, betanidine, alpha-methyldopa, and clonidine
  • ergot alkaloids
  • dipyridamole

Use with other medical conditions

If you have certain health issues, you should tell your doctor about them before you start treatment with metoprolol tartrate or metoprolol succinate. If you’re already taking either drug, you should also tell your doctor if you have plans to have surgery.

Both drugs carry warnings for the same health problems. Discuss the following medical conditions with your doctor before taking metoprolol tartrate or metoprolol succinate:

  • heart problems such as decreased heart rate, irregular heart rhythm, cardiogenic shock, and worsening heart failure
  • severe peripheral arterial circulatory disorder
  • allergies to metoprolol or other beta-blockers
  • lung or breathing problems
  • diabetes and low blood sugar levels
  • adrenal gland tumor
  • thyroid disease
  • liver disease

Talk with your doctor

If your doctor prescribes metoprolol tartrate or metoprolol succinate, it’s important to be sure which drug you’re taking. One drug cannot be substituted for the other. Both drugs come in different forms, are approved for different uses, and cause slightly different side effects. Work with your doctor to decide which drug is best for you.

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