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Vegan Heart Medications: Beta-blockers

Approximately 30 million adults in the United States utilize beta-blockers, widely prescribed medications. February, designated as American Heart Month, underscores the significance of beta-blockers as a commonly prescribed drug class. These medications are instrumental in the management of heart conditions, providing essential support for individuals striving to improve heart health.


What are beta-blockers?

Beta-blockers are medications that slow down the heart and reduce its pumping force. There are two types: cardio-selective, which specifically target the heart, and non-selective. The selective ones focus on a receptor in the heart, making it beat less forcefully and helping to lower blood pressure.


What are beta-blockers used for?

Due to the widespread distribution of beta-receptors in various body locations, beta-blockers have the capacity to address a broad spectrum of issues and medical conditions including:

  • Tachycardia

  • Hypertension

  • Myocardial infarction

  • Congestive heart failure

  • Cardiac arrhythmias

  • Coronary artery disease

  • Hyperthyroidism

  • Glaucoma

  • Migraine prophylaxis


What are the side effects of beta-blockers?

Common side effects of beta-blockers include slow heart rate, low blood pressure, fatigue, dizziness, nausea, constipation, sexual and erectile dysfunction. Some people with asthma may experience breathing difficulties, and those with Raynaud Syndrome might have worsened symptoms. Beta-blockers can also raise blood sugar levels and hide signs of low blood sugar. There's a potential risk of heart block, especially in people with existing heart issues.


What are examples of beta-blockers?

The top 5 beta-blockers prescribed in 2023 included:

  1. Metoprolol succinate (Toprol XL)

  2. Metoprolol tartrate (Lopressor)

  3. Carvedilol (Coreg)

  4. Atenolol (Tenormin)

  5. Propranolol (Inderal LA)


According to Definitive Healthcare Atlas Prescription Claims dataset, 36.9% of all dispensed beta- blocker prescriptions, metoprolol succinate stands out as the most commonly prescribed medication in this category.


What is the difference between metoprolol succinate and metoprolol tartrate?

Although similar in name, there are some key differences between metoprolol succinate and metoprolol tartrate:

Generic Name

Metoprolol succinate

Metoprolol tartrate

Brand Name

Toprol XL

Lopressor

Available Dosage

25 mg, 50 mg, 100 mg, 200 mg

25 mg, 37.5 mg, 50 mg, 75 mg, 100 mg

Dosage Forms

Tablets, capsules

Tablets

Indications

Hypertension, angina pectoris, heart failure

Hypertension, angina pectoris, myocardial infarction

Duration of action

Long-acting

Short-acting

How to take

Once a day with or without food

Two times a day with food

Can tablet be cut in half?

No

Yes

Is there a vegan metoprolol?

Our team has identified ONE animal-free metoprolol tartrate tablet manufactured by Rising Pharma, whereas we've discovered SEVEN animal-free metoprolol succinate tablets outlined in the table below:

Drug Name

Manufacturer

Animal-Free?

Metoprolol Succinate Film Coated Tablet, Extended Release

Ascend

Yes

Metoprolol Succinate Tablet, Extended Release

Ingenus

Yes

Metoprolol Succinate Tablet, Extended Release

Slate Run

Yes

Metoprolol Succinate Tablet, Extended Release

AvKare

Yes

Metoprolol Succinate Film Coated Tablet, Extended Release

Camber

Yes

Metoprolol Succinate Tablet, Extended Release

Cipla

Yes

Metoprolol Succinate Tablet, Extended Release 

Teva

Unknown

Conclusion

In conclusion, beta-blockers are vital medications for managing heart conditions, benefiting around 30 million adults in the US. Recognizing their importance during American Heart Month is crucial. Understanding their uses, side effects, and differences between types is key for informed decision-making. Efforts to provide animal-free options show progress in catering to diverse needs for specific patient populations (e.g. vegans, religious beliefs, Alpha-gal Syndrome). By staying informed, we can work towards better heart health outcomes.


Co-author: Ngan (Anna) Nguyen


 

Disclaimer: The product and/or information provided on VeganMed is of a general nature and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. We do not lab test the products to confirm that they are free from animal ingredients, and it is possible that the formulation and ingredients could have changed. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or product. The information provided in this post is accurate and up to date as of the date it was written. However, please note that circumstances and facts may change over time, and new information may become available that could alter the accuracy or relevance of the content. We encourage readers to verify and cross-reference any information provided here with trusted sources or consult relevant professionals for the most current and accurate updates.


 

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Thank you for your awareness and concern for animal-derived ingredients!


As a reminder, please comment on our FDA Citizen Petition, requesting clear labeling of animal-derived ingredients in medications. Together, we can make a difference.


If you have any further questions about ingredients in your medicines and supplements, feel free to reach out to the VeganMed team!


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