If you were previously taking metoprolol succinate, and your doctor has now switched your prescription to metoprolol tartrate, or vice versa, you may be wondering what the differences are. Is there an advantage to taking metoprolol tartrate vs. succinate? What is the difference between the two drugs? Read on to learn more about the two different types of metoprolol.
The primary difference between metoprolol succinate and metoprolol tartrate is the length of time that the drugs stay in your bloodstream. Metoprolol succinate will stay in a person's bloodstream for 24 complete hours. This means that the medication is a once per day pill. Metoprolol tartrate, on the other hand, will not stay in the bloodstream as long and thus needs to be taken at regular intervals. One potential complication is that while people recognize the need to keep from taking a double dose of a once per day pill, someone who has missed a dose of metoprolol succinate may be tempted to double up to try and catch up. This is dangerous and could lead to a potential overdose. So why are both pills available? It seems like it would be more convenient to just have a once per day pill, but both serve a purpose.
While both forms of metoprolol are used in connection with high blood pressure and are both beta blockers, there are some subtle differences to the way the two drugs work, and thus they are used under different circumstances. For example, if a patient has recently had a heart attack, the doctor will likely prescribe metoprolol tartrate during recovery, since it has benefits in helping a patient to recover quickly. Metoprolol succinate, however, seems to have a better effect on those who are dealing with heart failure rather than a heart attack.
Both drugs have similar side effects, but there are a few that are more common with one drug than the other. Metoprolol succinate has a greater dehydrating effect. Thus, the side effects constipation and dry mouth are primarily associated with this version of the medication. Conversely, metoprolol tartrate may cause diarrhea. It also has the potential to cause sleep issues such as insomnia or unusual dreams.
Your doctor is in the best position to know which of these two types of metoprolol will be best for your particular circumstances. Regardless of which version you are prescribed, be sure to take the medication as directed.