Labetalol is a medication many pregnant people take for high blood pressure (hypertension). It’s usually the first one a provider will use for a pregnant person. Having high blood pressure while pregnant is risky because it can lead to a stroke. Others take labetalol too, even if they’re already taking another blood pressure medicine.


What is this medication?

LABETALOL (la BET a lole) treats high blood pressure. It works by lowering your blood pressure and heart rate, making it easier for your heart to pump blood to the rest of your body.

This medicine may be used for other purposes; ask your health care provider or pharmacist if you have questions.

COMMON BRAND NAME(S): Normodyne, Trandate


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What should I tell my care team before I take this medication?

They need to know if you have any of these conditions:

  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • Liver disease
  • Lung or breathing disease, like asthma
  • An unusual or allergic reaction to labetalol, other beta blockers, medications, foods, dyes, or preservatives
  • Pregnant or trying to get pregnant
  • Breast-feeding

How should I use this medication?

Take this medication by mouth with water. Take it as directed on the prescription label at the same time every day. Keep taking it unless your care team tells you to stop.

Talk to your care team regarding the use of this medication in children. Special care may be needed.

Overdosage: If you think you have taken too much of this medicine contact a poison control center or emergency room at once.

NOTE: This medicine is only for you. Do not share this medicine with others.


What if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, take only that dose. Do not take double or extra doses.

What may interact with this medication?

This medication may interact with the following:

  • Certain medications for lung or breathing disease, like albuterol
  • Certain medications for blood pressure, heart disease, irregular heartbeat
  • Certain medications for depression, like amitriptyline
  • Cimetidine
  • Halothane
  • Nitroglycerin

This list may not describe all possible interactions. Give your health care provider a list of all the medicines, herbs, non-prescription drugs, or dietary supplements you use. Also tell them if you smoke, drink alcohol, or use illegal drugs. Some items may interact with your medicine.


What should I watch for while using this medication?

Visit your care team for regular checks on your progress. Check your blood pressure as directed. Ask your care team what your blood pressure should be. Also, find out when you should contact them.

Do not treat yourself for coughs, colds, or pain while you are using this medication without asking your care team for advice. Some medications may increase your blood pressure.

You may get drowsy or dizzy. Do not drive, use machinery, or do anything that needs mental alertness until you know how this medication affects you. Do not stand up or sit up quickly, especially if you are an older patient. This reduces the risk of dizzy or fainting spells. Alcohol may interfere with the effect of this medication. Avoid alcoholic drinks.

This medication may increase blood sugar. Ask your care team if changes in diet or medications are needed if you have diabetes.

What side effects may I notice from receiving this medication?

Side effects that you should report to your care team as soon as possible:

  • Allergic reactions—skin rash, itching, hives, swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat
  • Heart failure—shortness of breath, swelling of the ankles, feet, or hands, sudden weight gain, unusual weakness or fatigue
  • Liver injury—right upper belly pain, loss of appetite, nausea, light-colored stool, dark yellow or brown urine, yellowing skin or eyes, unusual weakness or fatigue
  • Low blood pressure—dizziness, feeling faint or lightheaded, blurry vision
  • Slow heartbeat—dizziness, feeling faint or lightheaded, confusion, trouble breathing, unusual weakness or fatigue
  • Worsening mood, feelings of depression

Side effects that usually do not require medical attention (report to your care team if they continue or are bothersome):

  • Change in sex drive or performance
  • Diarrhea
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Headache

This list may not describe all possible side effects. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

Where should I keep my medication?

Keep out of the reach of children and pets.

Store at room temperature between 20 and 25 degrees C (68 and 77 degrees F). Throw away any unused medication after the expiration date.

NOTE: This sheet is a summary. It may not cover all possible information. If you have questions about this medicine, talk to your doctor, pharmacist, or health care provider.

Additional Common Questions

What is labetalol used for?

Labetalol treats high blood pressure (hypertension) in short-term (emergency) or long-term (chronic) situations. Some people take it for high blood pressure during pregnancy or after a stroke or brain bleed.

You can take labetalol while taking other kinds of blood pressure medicines (antihypertensives), like diuretics.

Does labetalol lower your heart rate?

Yes, labetalol lowers your heart rate to bring your blood pressure down. This reduces your heart’s workload.

How long does labetalol take to work?

The tablet form of labetalol can start working in two hours. It can lower your blood pressure in about three days. It starts working faster than other beta-blockers.

The intravenous (IV) form works in a few minutes, which is why providers use it in urgent situations.

How long does labetalol stay in your system?

Half of a labetalol dose is still in your system after six to eight hours. That means it stays in your system for more than 24 hours.

A Note from Cleveland Clinic

It can be scary to have high blood pressure during pregnancy. But it’s good to know there’s a medication your healthcare provider can give you to lower your blood pressure. Whether you’re pregnant or not, don’t be afraid to ask your provider questions about the medicines they prescribe for you. Understanding what you’re taking and why can help you stay on track with taking your medicine.

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Note: Introduction and Additional Common Questions written and medically approved by Cleveland Clinic professionals.

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