GENERIC NAME: labetalol
BRAND NAMES: Normodyne (Discontinued Brand), Trandate
DRUG CLASS AND MECHANISM: Labetalol is a drug that is used for treating high blood pressure. And is related to carvedilol (Coreg). Nerves from the adrenergic nervous system travel from the spinal cord to arteries where they release norepinephrine. Norepinephrine attaches to adrenergic receptors on arteries and causes the arteries to contract, narrowing the arteries, and increasing blood pressure. Labetalol blocks receptors of the adrenergic nervous system. When labetalol attaches to and blocks the receptors, arteries expand, resulting in a fall in blood pressure. The FDA approved labetalol in August 1984.
PRESCRIBED FOR: Labetalol is used alone or in combination with other drugs to reduce blood pressure.
SIDE EFFECTS AND PRECAUTIONS: The most common side effects of labetalol are:
- edema (fluid accumulation), and
- shortness of breath.
Postural hypotension (a rapid decrease in blood pressure when going from the lying or seated position to the standing position that may cause light-headedness or fainting) occurs rarely. Patients should be observed for this possible side effect within two to four hours of the first labetalol dose and after any changes in dose.
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