Labetalol is an alpha- and beta-blocker drug used to lower
high blood pressure during pregnancy. It is sometimes
given in the hospital setting, either through a vein (intravenously,
or IV) or by mouth. Some doctors also prescribe labetalol by mouth for daily
outpatient treatment of high blood pressure.
Labetalol decreases heart rate and blood
flow, which lowers blood pressure.
Labetalol is used to:
Labetalol must be used with caution in pregnant women who
diabetes, kidney or liver disease, an overactive
thyroid gland (hyperthyroidism), or a slow heart rate.
Labetalol is usually effective for
the control of severe high blood pressure at the end of pregnancy or during
All medicines have side effects. But many people don't feel the side effects, or they are able to deal with them. Ask your pharmacist about the side effects of each medicine you take. Side effects are also listed in the information that comes with your medicine.
Here are some important things to think about:
or other emergency services right away if you have:
Call your doctor if you have:
Common side effects of this medicine include:
In rare cases, labetalol may slow the heart rate of a
fetus. To prevent this from happening, the mother's blood pressure is monitored carefully and
the amount of medicine given is reduced if necessary.
See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug Reference is not available in all systems.)
Labetalol lowers blood pressure
quickly. For this reason, both mother and fetus are closely monitored during
Blood pressure medicines are usually not used to treat
mild high blood pressure during pregnancy. Mild high blood pressure does not
usually cause problems for the mother or the baby.
Medicine is one of the many tools your doctor has to treat a health problem. Taking medicine as your doctor suggests will improve your health and may prevent future problems. If you don't take your medicines properly, you may be putting your health (and perhaps your life) at risk.
There are many reasons why people have trouble taking their medicine. But in most cases, there is something you can do. For suggestions on how to work around common problems, see the topic Taking Medicines as Prescribed.
When you are pregnant or breast-feeding, do not use any medicines unless your doctor tells you to. Some medicines can harm your baby. This includes prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, herbs, and supplements. And make sure that all your doctors know that you are pregnant or breast-feeding.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Complete the new medication information form (PDF)(What is a PDF document?) to help you understand this medication.
Cunningham FG, et al. (2010). Pregnancy hypertension. In Williams Obstetrics, 23nd ed., pp. 706–755. New York: McGraw-Hill.
November 5, 2012
Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
& William Gilbert, MD - Maternal and Fetal Medicine
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