Metoprolol and Alcohol

by on May 14, 2012

When metoprolol and alcohol are taken in combination, there is generally a moderate drug interaction as opposed to a severe one. However, as each patient is different, it is advisable for people taking metoprolol to consult a healthcare provider before drinking.


Alcohol may interact with metoprolol by increasing the risk and severity of the medication’s side effects. Side effects of metoprolol include dry mouth, constipation, heartburn, vomiting, diarrhea, breathing problems, swelling of the hands or feet, easy bruising, unusual bleeding, depression, confusion, memory problems, hallucinations and chest pain. Therefore, if the patient is already vulnerable to any of these conditions or symptoms, he or she should proceed with caution when combining alcohol with this drug.

Other Side Effects

As alcohol is a CNS-active agent, it can have additive effects on blood pressure and orthostasis when combined with metoprolol, causing symptoms such as dizziness, syncope, orthostasis, or tachycardia. A combination of alcohol and metoprolol may also increase drowsiness, potentially impairing the individual’s thinking and reactions. This combination should therefore be avoided if the patient is going to be driving, operating heavy machinery or doing anything else that requires him or her to be alert.


Due to the risk of these side effects, it is advised that alcohol be consumed in moderation when taking metoprolol. The medical community generally defines moderate alcohol consumption as no more than 2 units per day and no more than 14 units per week. To manage alcohol intake responsibly, try keeping a written record of alcoholic drinks consumed and drinking a glass of water after each drink. If necessary, it can also be helpful to consult a healthcare provider on controlling alcohol consumption.

Signs and Symptoms

To tell if a patient is suffering adverse effects from combining metoprolol and alcohol, there are several signs and symptoms to look out for. He or she may be short of breath even after walking just a short distance and they might have a pounding or fluttering heartbeat. Their urine may be dark and their stools clay-colored. They could have red or purple pinpoint spots under their skin. If the patient is exhibiting any of these symptoms to a severe extent, seek medical assistance as soon as possible.

Although expert advice suggests moderate alcohol consumption is okay whilst taking metoprolol, it may be preferable to just avoid alcohol altogether. This is especially the case if the patient is already likely to be particularly vulnerable to the blood pressure lowering effect of metoprolol.