Prescribing metoprolol for anxiety would be considered an off-label use of the drug, meaning that it is not specifically developed or sold as a treatment for that type of problem. Metoprolol is a beta blocker that is intended to treat heart problems, including angina and congestive heart failure, and may also be given to prevent heart attacks in people who have already had one or who are at risk for some other reason. The medication has been shown to effectively reduce anxiety symptoms in some patients, and it is believed to work by blocking certain receptors in the body that respond to stress hormones, such as adrenaline. It may also be effective in reducing some of the negative physical effects of stress, such as an elevated heart rate and increased blood pressure.
Chronic anxiety disorder is characterized by persistent worry that can affect a person’s ability to function normally in daily life. People with this type of condition may develop persistent fears of injury or death for themselves or family members. They may also be hypochondriacs or have excessive concerns about health or may experience symptoms of obsessive compulsive disorder, which is characterized by repetitive behaviors that a person has difficulty controlling. In addition to these mental issues, chronic anxiety disorder can also bring about physical effects, and metoprolol may sometimes be used to reduce these symptoms. They include shortness of breath, heart palpitations or arrhythmias, and increased blood pressure.
Metoprolol for anxiety is believed to work by preventing nerve receptors in the brain from absorbing adrenaline, a hormone that the body releases in response to stress. The process of producing adrenaline as a response to stress is called the fight or flight instinct. During a stressful or life-threatening situation, ancient people would experience a rush of energy and a heightening of the senses, which could have made them more alert and able to fight off danger. Although this instinctive response may have been beneficial in those circumstances, it has become a cause of physical problems in modern people who experience chronic anxiety.
Although the use of metoprolol for anxiety may be effective for some people, it may also have harmful drug interactions with some other medicines that are commonly used to treat these disorders. A person who is already taking other medications should consult with a physician to make sure he or she can safely take metoprolol for anxiety. It is also important to report any negative side effects to a health care professional so that they can be properly addressed.