How Effective Is Metoprolol for Anxiety?

Metoprolol might ease anxiety in some people by preventing nerves in the brain from absorbing adrenaline.
Metoprolol is most commonly given to treat heart problems.
Negative drug interactions with certain other medications can limit the use of metoprolol.
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  • Written By: N. Swensson
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 12 October 2014
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Prescribing metoprolol for anxiety would be considered an off-label use of the drug, meaning that it is not specifically developed or sold as a treatment for that type of problem. Metoprolol is a beta blocker that is intended to treat heart problems, including angina and congestive heart failure, and may also be given to prevent heart attacks in people who have already had one or who are at risk for some other reason. The medication has been shown to effectively reduce anxiety symptoms in some patients, and it is believed to work by blocking certain receptors in the body that respond to stress hormones, such as adrenaline. It may also be effective in reducing some of the negative physical effects of stress, such as an elevated heart rate and increased blood pressure.

Chronic anxiety disorder is characterized by persistent worry that can affect a person’s ability to function normally in daily life. People with this type of condition may develop persistent fears of injury or death for themselves or family members. They may also be hypochondriacs or have excessive concerns about health or may experience symptoms of obsessive compulsive disorder, which is characterized by repetitive behaviors that a person has difficulty controlling. In addition to these mental issues, chronic anxiety disorder can also bring about physical effects, and metoprolol may sometimes be used to reduce these symptoms. They include shortness of breath, heart palpitations or arrhythmias, and increased blood pressure.

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Metoprolol for anxiety is believed to work by preventing nerve receptors in the brain from absorbing adrenaline, a hormone that the body releases in response to stress. The process of producing adrenaline as a response to stress is called the fight or flight instinct. During a stressful or life-threatening situation, ancient people would experience a rush of energy and a heightening of the senses, which could have made them more alert and able to fight off danger. Although this instinctive response may have been beneficial in those circumstances, it has become a cause of physical problems in modern people who experience chronic anxiety.

Although the use of metoprolol for anxiety may be effective for some people, it may also have harmful drug interactions with some other medicines that are commonly used to treat these disorders. A person who is already taking other medications should consult with a physician to make sure he or she can safely take metoprolol for anxiety. It is also important to report any negative side effects to a health care professional so that they can be properly addressed.

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anon357463
Post 7

I have suffered from severe anxiety for 15 years and had been put on numerous amounts of different types of anxiety medication. I finally got off of them and realized who I was as a person because those medications would make me feel like a zombie.

My physician prescribed metoprolol back in July. He wanted me to take it every morning but I found that if I only take it when I need it, it works wonders! I only take a half and only during times of panic. It completely takes all the anxiety away because it slows my heart rate down. When my heart starts to race it creates even more anxiety and it's hard to calm down. I can't believe I have found something that actually works and I don't need to take something every day just to function.

I also recommend taking Stress-J by Natures Sunshine. It's all natural and I take them every morning with my other vitamins and sometimes again later on in the day. It is amazing the relief it gives!

anon313756
Post 6

My mother is currently hospitalized and after lengthy investigation, we have realized that she is on metoprolol for chronic anxiety and tremor suppression. She had an aneurysm burst in the back of her brain in 1974 and none of us really questioned the techniques her neurologist used to stabilize her. It was as if he had performed a miracle, and she became functional again.

Now, having determined that her neurologist who passed away in 1989 had used this alternative therapy, we can see a reasonable explanation for the extreme sensitivity she has to all neuroleptic drugs and many others. She has been functional for 38 years on this off-label therapy, and it is proving quite difficult to get her stabilized back on it following a 'spell' that left her without the ability to swallow. It does appear that crushing oral drugs to administer through a PEG tube may be quite difficult when dealing with highly interactive drugs like metoprolol.

She is improving, and will hopefully stabilize completely, but it has been very slow and tedious.

anon313174
Post 5

It has had the opposite effect on me. It increases my anxiety.

bluedolphin
Post 3

As far as I know, beta-blockers lower blood pressure. My mom uses another kind of beta-blocker for this purpose. Is it a good idea to give metoprolol to someone who doesn't have high blood pressure? Won't it lower their blood pressure to dangerous levels?

Even if metoprolol helps with physical anxiety symptoms, it won't really help with the mental aspects which is where anxiety stems from first place. To me, using metoprolol for anxiety sounds like a short-term fix that's not really going to help the person in the long term. I would prefer to take something that works not just on physical symptoms, but psychological ones as well.

literally45
Post 2

@fify-- I don't know about combining drugs, you'll have to ask your doctor about that. But yes, metoprolol will help with the heart palpitations.

I take metoprolol sometimes, usually before a high stress activity to calm myself down. If I have to give a presentation at work for example, I get so worked up that my heart races and I can't even concentrate on what I'm doing. Metoprolol keeps my heart rate under control so I have an easier time presenting.

fify
Post 1

I have chronic anxiety and currently I am taking an anti-anxiety medication for it. I feel that it's helping me, but it has not relieved all of my anxiety symptoms. One symptom I still regularly experience is heart palpitations.

It sounds like this medication would help me and I'm planning on asking my doctor about it during my next appointment.

Has anyone been on this medication for anxiety before?

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