Toprol XL® is the brand name for metoprolol succinate, a beta-blocker medication that helps widen the blood vessels and slows the heart rate, making it easier for blood to flow. This helps reduce the pressure that blood can put on the vessels, lowering a person's blood pressure. It can also help reduce the pain caused by blood flow pressure, called angina.
Although there are many beta blockers available on the market, Toprol XL® is different because it is released slowly into the body, only requiring one dose per day to work. People who do not have time to take pills two or three times a day may find this option more convenient and easier to remember. Many beta blockers require multiple doses every day in order to work.
It is important to remember that Toprol XL® can help reduce blood pressure and chest pain, but it cannot eliminate it, especially if a healthy diet and exercise regimen is not followed. Eating fatty foods, not exercising and continuing to overeat can continue to raise blood pressure and cause clots to form — effects that this medication cannot always prevent. Not losing weight when instructed can also make it harder for this drug to lower blood pressure.
Although Toprol XL® is most commonly prescribed to treat high blood pressure, it also has other uses. For example, doctors may prescribed the drug to help prevent migraine headaches in some patients. It also is sometimes used to treat side effects of other medications; it can help reduce the movement disorders or heart arrhythmias caused by some drugs used to treat mental illnesses, for example.
There are serious health concerns to consider before taking this drug. Toprol XL® can affect how the heart pumps blood, which could cause serious complications in people with a slow heart beat or erratic changes in blood pressure. People who are allergic to metoprolol cannot take this drug, as it is Toprol XL's® main ingredient.
Its effects on the heart can also slow a person's reaction time, which can make it harder to process information, operate machinery that requires complete alertness or participate in activities that involve good coordination. Drinking alcohol can worsen these effects, and as such, should not be consumed when taking this drug. Toprol XL® can also affect a person's breathing, making it unsafe for people with serious breathing problems, such as asthma.