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Brand & Generic Names


Basic Information

  • Habit forming? No
  • Prescription needed? Yes
  • Available as generic? No
  • Drug class: Antihypertensive


  • Treatment of pheochromocytoma* (adrenal gland tumor) that causes high blood pressure.
  • Preoperative medication for removal of the tumor.

Dosage & Usage Information

How to take:
Capsules--Swallow with liquid. If you can't swallow whole, open capsule and take with liquid or food. Instructions to take on empty stomach mean 1 hour before or 2 hours after eating.

When to take:
Usually 4 times a day, approximately 6 hours apart.
If used before surgery, take for at least 5 to 7 days.

If you forget a dose:
Take as soon as you remember up to 2 hours late. If more than 2 hours, wait for next scheduled dose (don't double this dose).

What drug does:
Reduces blood pressure in patients with pheochromocytoma* by reducing synthesis of catecholamines.

Time lapse before drug works:
2 to 3 days.

Don't take with:
Any other medicines (including over-the-counter drugs such as cough and cold medicines, laxatives, antacids, diet pills, caffeine, nose drops or vitamins) without consulting your doctor.


Confusion, sudden shortness of breath, hallucinations, seizures, coma.


  • Dial 911 (emergency) or O (operator) for an ambulance or medical help. Then give first aid immediately.
  • See EMERGENCY Information.

Possible Adverse Reactions or Side Effects


    In case of overdose, see Overdose Section.


  • Severe diarrhea, tremors, drooling, speech difficulties.
  • Drowsiness.


    Skin rash, sexual difficulties in males.


  • Shortness of breath, itching, bloody urine, muscle spasms, swollen feet.
  • Depression.

Warnings & Precautions

Don't take if:
You are allergic to metyrosine.

Before you start, consult your doctor:

  • If you have liver disease.
  • If you have mental depression.
  • If you have Parkinson's disease.
  • If you have kidney disease.

Over age 60:
Adverse reactions and side effects may be more frequent and severe than in younger persons. You may need smaller doses for shorter periods of time.

Studies inconclusive on harm to unborn child. Decide with you doctor whether drug benefits justify risk to unborn child.

No proven problems. Consult doctor.

Infants & children:
No proven problems.

Prolonged use:
Talk to your doctor about the need for follow-up medical examinations or laboratory studies to check blood pressure, heart function, ECG*, kidney function and urinary catecholamine measurements.

Skin & sunlight:
No problems expected.

Driving, piloting or hazardous work:
Don't drive or pilot aircraft until you learn how medicine affects you. Don't work around dangerous machinery. Don't climb ladders or work in high places. Danger increases if you drink alcohol or take medicine affecting alertness and reflexes.

May experience increased energy and insomnia for a short period (2 to 7 days).


  • Advise any doctor or dentist whom you consult that you take this medicine.
  • May affect results in some medical tests.

Possible Interaction with Other Drugs

------------------------ -----------------------
Antidepressants, Increased sedative effect of each.
Clozapine Toxic effect on the central nervous
Phenothiazines* Increased likelihood of toxic
symptoms of each.
Sertraline Increased depressive effects of
both drugs.
Trimeprazine Increased likelihood of toxic
symptoms of each.

Possible Interaction with Other Substances

--------------- ---------------
Alcohol: May cause Parkinson's*-like
disorder. Don't mix.
Beverages: No special problems expected.
Cocaine: No special problems expected.
Foods: No special problems expected.
Marijuana: No special problems expected.
Tobacco: No special problems expected.

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