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Methyldopa

Why is this medication prescribed?

Methyldopa is used to treat high blood pressure. It works by relaxing the blood vessels so that blood can flow more easily through the body.

This medication is sometimes prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

How should this medicine be used?

Methyldopa comes as a tablet and liquid to take by mouth. It usually is taken two to four times a day. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take methyldopa exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.

The liquid should be shaken well before each dose.

Methyldopa controls high blood pressure but does not cure it. Continue to take methyldopa even if you feel well. Do not stop taking methyldopa without talking to your doctor.

Abruptly stopping methyldopa may increase blood pressure and cause unwanted side effects.

What special precautions should I follow?

Before taking methyldopa,

  • tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to methyldopa, sulfites, or any other drugs.
  • tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications you are taking, especially haloperidol (Haldol), levodopa (Larodopa, Sinemet), lithium (Eskalith, Lithobid), other medications for high blood pressure, tolbutamide (Orinase), and vitamins.
  • do not take with iron supplements or vitamins containing iron.
  • tell you doctor if you have or have ever had kidney or liver disease, including hepatitis or cirrhosis.
  • tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. If you become pregnant while taking methyldopa, call your doctor.
  • if you are having surgery, including dental surgery, tell the doctor or dentist that you are taking methyldopa.
  • you should know that this drug may make you drowsy. Do not drive a car or operate machinery for 48-72 hours after you begin to take methyldopa or after your dose is increased.

What special dietary instructions should I follow?

Your doctor may prescribe a low-salt or low-sodium diet. Follow these directions carefully.

What should I do if I forget a dose?

Take the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.

What side effects can this medication cause?

Although side effects from methyldopa are not common, they can occur. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:

  • drowsiness
  • headache
  • muscle weakness
  • swollen ankles or feet
  • upset stomach
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • gas
  • dry mouth
  • rash

If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately:

  • unexplained fever
  • extreme tiredness
  • yellowing of the skin or eyes

Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store tablets at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom). The liquid may be stored in the refrigerator or at room temperature. Throw away any medication that is outdated or no longer needed. Talk to your pharmacist about the proper disposal of your medication.

In case of emergency/overdose

In case of overdose, call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. If the victim has collapsed or is not breathing, call local emergency services at 911.

What other information should I know?

Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. Your blood pressure should be checked regularly to determine your response to methyldopa. Your doctor may order certain lab tests to monitor your red blood cell count and liver function.

Methyldopa may cause your urine to darken when it is exposed to air. This effect is harmless.

Do not let anyone else take your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.

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Last updated: Tue, 06 Jan 2009 00:20:03 GMT
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