Labetalol, Oral Tablet

Medically reviewed by University of Illinois on January 12, 2018Written by University of Illinois-Chicago, Drug Information Group on November 24, 2017

Highlights for labetalol

  1. Labetalol oral tablet is available as a brand-name drug and a generic drug. Brand name: Trandate.
  2. Labetalol comes in two forms: a tablet you take by mouth, and an intravenous (IV) injection. The injection is only given by a healthcare provider.
  3. Labetalol oral tablet is used to treat high blood pressure.

Important warnings

  • Asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease warning: You shouldn’t use this drug if you have asthma. If you have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), your doctor may have you use this drug with caution only after other drugs have not worked. This drug may make it harder for you to breathe, or it may stop certain breathing medications from working well.
  • Heart problems warning: You shouldn’t use this drug if you have unstable heat failure, second- or third- degree heart block, or a very slow heart rate (bradycardia). This drug may make these conditions worse. If you have heart disease and you suddenly stop taking this drug, you’re at high risk of chest pain (angina) or a heart attack.
  • Liver damage warning: This drug can cause sudden harm to your liver. Symptoms may include itching, dark-colored urine, loss of appetite, jaundice (yellowing of your skin or the whites of your eyes), and pain in the right side of your stomach. Let your doctor know if you have these symptoms. Your doctor may monitor your liver function while you’re taking this drug.

What is labetalol?

Labetalol is a prescription drug. It comes in two forms: oral tablet and intravenous (IV) injection. The injection is only given by a healthcare provider.

Labetalol oral tablet is available as the brand-name drug Trandate. It’s also available as a generic drug. Generic drugs usually cost less than the brand-name version. In some cases, they may not be available in every strength or form as the brand-name drug.

Labetalol oral tablet may be taken as part of a combination therapy with other medications that lower your blood pressure, such as thiazide and loop diuretics.

Why it's used

Labetalol oral tablet is used to reduce high blood pressure. This lowers your risk of complications from high blood pressure, such as heart attack and stroke.

How it works

Labetalol oral tablet belongs to a class of drugs called beta-blockers. A class of drugs is a group of medications that work in a similar way. These drugs are often used to treat similar conditions.

Labetalol oral tablet works by causing your heart to beat more slowly and with less force. This lowers your blood pressure.

Labetalol side effects

Labetalol oral tablet may cause drowsiness. It can also cause other side effects.

More common side effects

The most common side effects that can occur with labetalol include:

  • dizziness
  • nausea
  • tiredness

If these effects are mild, they may go away within a few days or a couple of weeks. If they’re more severe or don’t go away, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Serious side effects

Call your doctor right away if you have serious side effects. Call 911 if your symptoms feel life-threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency. Serious side effects and their symptoms can include the following:

  • Low heart rate (bradycardia). Symptoms can include:
    • dizziness
    • lightheadedness
    • fainting
    • fatigue
  • Low blood pressure, especially when getting up from a seated position (orthostatic hypotension). Symptoms can include:
    • dizziness
    • lightheadedness
    • fainting
  • Liver damage. Symptoms can include:
    • itching
    • dark-colored urine
    • loss of appetite
    • jaundice (yellowing of your skin or the whites of your eyes)
    • tenderness or pain on the right side of your stomach
    • fatigue
  • Heart failure. Symptoms can include:
    • shortness of breath
    • chronic coughing or wheezing
    • swelling in your legs, ankles, or chest
    • tiredness
    • lightheadedness
    • nausea
    • lack of appetite
    • confusion or trouble thinking
  • Breathing problems. Symptoms can include:
    • shortness of breath
    • trouble breathing

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we can not guarantee that this information includes all possible side effects. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always discuss possible side effects with a healthcare provider who knows your medical history.

Labetalol may interact with other medications

Labetalol oral tablet can interact with other medications, vitamins, or herbs you may be taking. An interaction is when a substance changes the way a drug works. This can be harmful or prevent the drug from working well.

To help avoid interactions, your doctor should manage all of your medications carefully. Be sure to tell your doctor about all medications, vitamins, or herbs you’re taking. To find out how this drug might interact with something else you’re taking, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Examples of drugs that can cause interactions with labetalol are listed below.

Drugs used to treat depression

Taking labetalol with a tricyclic antidepressant may increase your risk of tremors. Examples of these drugs include:

  • amitriptyline
  • doxepin
  • nortriptyline
  • clomipramine

Asthma inhalers

Taking labetalol may cause narrowing of your airways. This may make it harder for you to breathe. Because of this, if you take asthma medications, your doctor may increase the dosage of your asthma drugs. Examples of these drugs include:

  • albuterol
  • salmeterol
  • aformoterol
  • indacaterol
  • olodaterol

Heartburn medications

Taking labetalol with heartburn medications can increase the amount of labetalol in your body. This can cause more side effects. Examples of heartburn medications include:

  • cimetidine

Heart medications

Taking labetalol with certain medications for the heart may cause you to have very low blood pressure and heart rate. Examples of these drugs include:

  • nitroglycerin
  • digoxin
  • clonidine
  • amiodarone
  • disopyramide
  • calcium channel blockers, such as:
    • nifedipine
    • diltiazem
    • verapamil

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs interact differently in each person, we can not guarantee that this information includes all possible interactions. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always speak with your healthcare provider about possible interactions with all prescription drugs, vitamins, herbs and supplements, and over-the-counter drugs that you are taking.

Labetalol warnings

This drug comes with several warnings.

Allergy warning

This drug can cause a severe allergic reaction. Symptoms include:

  • hives
  • rash
  • itching
  • trouble breathing
  • swelling of your lips, tongue, or face

If you develop these symptoms, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room.

Don’t take this drug again if you’ve ever had an allergic reaction to it. Taking it again could be fatal (cause death).

Alcohol interaction warning

Your body processes alcohol and this drug in similar ways. That means that if you drink alcohol, this drug might take longer to leave your body. This could cause worse side effects from labetalol.

Warnings for people with certain health conditions

For people with heart problems: This drug may cause or worsen heart failure. You shouldn’t use this drug if you have unstable heart failure, second- or third-degree heart block, or a very low heart rate (bradycardia). If you have heart disease and you stop taking this medication suddenly, you’re at high risk of chest pain (angina) and heart attack.

For people with liver problems: If you have liver problems, your body may not process this drug as quickly as it needs to. This can cause the drug to build up in your system, increasing your risk of side effects. During your treatment with this drug, your doctor may keep you at a lower dosage and watch you more closely.

For people with breathing problems: You shouldn’t use this drug if you have asthma. If you have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), your doctor may use this drug with caution only after other drugs have not worked. This drug may make it harder for you to breathe, or it may prevent certain breathing medications from working as well.

For people with diabetes: This drug may mask symptoms of low blood sugar, such as fast heart rate. This drug also lowers the amount of insulin your body releases in response to high blood sugar levels. If you take labetalol, your doctor may need to adjust the dosage of your diabetes medications.

For people with untreated pheochromocytoma: Don’t use this medication if you have untreated pheochromocytoma (a tumor that can cause very high blood pressure). It can mask the symptoms of your condition.

For people with cataracts: If you plan to have cataract surgery, let your doctor know you’re taking this drug. This drug can cause a complication called intraoperative flopping iris syndrome (IFIS) during surgery.

Warnings for other groups

For pregnant women: This drug is a category C pregnancy drug. That means two things:

  1. Research in animals has shown adverse effects to the fetus when the mother takes the drug.
  2. There haven’t been enough studies done in humans to be certain how the drug might affect the fetus.

Tell your doctor if you’re pregnant or plan to become pregnant. This drug should be used during pregnancy only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk.

If you become pregnant while taking this drug, call your doctor right away.

For women who are breastfeeding: This drug may pass into breast milk and cause serious side effects in a child who is breastfed. You and your doctor may need to decide if you’ll take this drug or breastfeed.

For seniors: Older adults may process drugs more slowly. A typical adult dosage may cause levels of this drug to be higher than normal in your body. If you’re a senior, you may need a lower dosage or a different treatment schedule.

For children: This drug hasn’t been studied in children. It shouldn’t be used in children younger than 18 years.

How to take labetalol

All possible dosages and forms may not be included here. Your dose, form, and how often you take it will depend on:

  • your age
  • the condition being treated
  • how severe your condition is
  • other medical conditions you have
  • how you react to the first dose

Dosage for high blood pressure (hypertension)

Generic: Labetalol

  • Form: oral tablet
  • Strengths: 100 mg, 200 mg, 300 mg

Brand: Trandate

  • Form: oral tablet
  • Strengths: 100 mg, 200 mg, 300 mg

Adult dosage (ages 18–64 years)

  • Typical starting dosage: 100 mg taken two times per day.
  • Typical maintenance dosage: 200–400 mg taken two times per day.
  • Dosage increases: If needed, your doctor may increase your dosage every 2–3 days.
  • Maximum dosage: 2,400 mg per day taken in 2–3 divided doses.

Child dosage (ages 0–17 years)

This drug hasn’t been studied in children. It shouldn’t be used in children younger than 18 years.

Senior dosage (ages 65 years and older)

The typical maintenance dosage is 100–200 mg taken two times per day.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we can not guarantee that this list includes all possible dosages. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always speak with your doctor or pharmacist about dosages that are right for you.

Take as directed

Labetalol oral tablet is used for long-term treatment. It comes with serious risks if you don't take it as prescribed.

If you don't take it at all: Your blood pressure will stay high and may get worse. You’ll have a higher risk of a heart attack or stroke.

If you stop taking it suddenly: Don’t stop taking this drug suddenly. Doing so could increase your risk of chest pain (angina) or a heart attack.

If you don't take it on schedule: Your blood pressure may not improve or may get worse. You may not feel any different but your blood pressure won’t be well controlled. This can increase your risk of a stroke or heart attack.

What to do if you miss a dose: If you forget to take your dose, take it as soon as you remember. If it’s just a few hours until the time for your next dose, wait and only take one dose at that time.

Never try to catch up by taking two doses at once. This could cause dangerous side effects.

If you take too much: If you take too much of this drug, you may have symptoms such as:

  • slow heart rate
  • low blood pressure
  • dizziness
  • lightheadedness
  • fainting
  • trouble breathing
  • swelling in your legs, ankles, or chest
  • seizures

If you think you’ve taken too much of this drug, call your doctor or local poison control center. If your symptoms are severe, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room right away.

How to tell this drug is working: Your blood pressure should be lower.

Important considerations for taking labetalol

Keep these considerations in mind if your doctor prescribes labetalol for you.

General

  • Don’t crush, chew, or break the tablets.

Storage

  • This drug must be stored at the right temperature. Store it at room temperature between 59°F and 86°F (15°C and 30°C).
  • Keep this drug away from high temperatures.
  • Keep it away from light.
  • Don’t store this medication in moist or damp areas, such as bathrooms.

Refills

A prescription for this medication is refillable. You should not need a new prescription for this medication to be refilled. Your doctor will write the number of refills authorized on your prescription.

Travel

When traveling with your medication:

  • Always carry your medication with you. When flying, never put it into a checked bag. Keep it in your carry-on bag.
  • Don’t worry about airport x-ray machines. They can’t harm your medication.
  • You may need to show airport staff the pharmacy label for your medication. Always carry the original prescription-labeled container with you.
  • Don’t put this medication in your car’s glove compartment or leave it in the car. Be sure to avoid doing this when the weather is very hot or very cold.

Self-management

Your doctor may ask you to check your blood pressure at home. You should keep a log with the date, time of day, and your blood pressure readings. Bring this log with you to your doctor appointments.

You’ll need to purchase a blood pressure monitor to check your blood pressure at home.

Clinical monitoring

While you’re taking this drug, your doctor will monitor your:

  • blood pressure
  • heart rate
  • liver function

Hidden costs

You may need to purchase a home blood pressure monitor to keep track of your blood pressure. These monitors are available at most pharmacies.

Are there any alternatives?

There are other drugs available to treat your condition. Some may be better suited for you than others. Talk to your doctor about other drug options that may work for you.

Disclaimer: Healthline has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up-to-date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or other healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained here in is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.

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