Metoprolol tablets vary in dosage, color, shape, and release type. They are sold under a variety of regional brand names. No matter the name, this well-known beta blocker is commonly available in two slightly different formulas. These are metoprolol succinate and tartrate, and they have similarities and differences.
In general, metoprolol tablets may come in strengths from 25 milligrams (mg) to 200 mg. Many of the lower strength pills are round, but stronger ones are often oval in shape. Some of these tablets may be scored for easy splitting. Though this varies by manufacturer, pills may be plain white or could be many other colors.
One of the big differences in metoprolol tablets is whether they are made in an extended release (XR) formula. Metoprolol succinate is the XR version of the drug. Most individuals who use the XR formula take one pill daily. In contrast, metoprolol tartrate is not an extended release formula. Most patients will therefore take two to three doses each day.
Additionally, extended and regular release formulas may be used for slightly different conditions. Both tablets can treat high blood pressure and angina. Doctors more frequently prescribe metoprolol succinate, the XR version, as a treatment for congestive heart failure. XR metoprolol tablets are also available in a combined form with hydrochlorothiazide, a diuretic, for more extensive heart failure management. Conversely, physicians often recommend the regular release drug as a protective measure after a heart attack has occurred.
Distinctions between the two types of metoprolol tablets are also noted in their action. Extended release forms have lower initial bioavailability than the regular release drug. Pharmacists note that this tends to catch up within 24 hours, and the two drug types are thought equally effective.
Another difference in metoprolol tablets is patient access. Sometimes metoprolol succinate is less available or it might only be purchasable under a brand name. This may occasionally require patients to use the tartrate form, instead. When the succinate version of the drug is unavailable to a patient, doctors might also recommend a different medication, especially for congestive heart failure.
These types of metoprolol tablets share some things in common, in addition to similar treatment recommendations. They’re both likely to contain some similar inactive ingredients, including cellulose compounds, polyethylene glycol, and titanium dioxide. Different manufacturers may change the inactive ingredients, and people sensitive to certain substances may want to get a list of them before taking any form of the medication.
Other forms of metoprolol exist. It is available for intravenous use or injection in hospital settings. Some pharmacies can prepare an elixir version of the drug for use by young children who are in congestive heart failure.