Last week the FDA announced another metoprolol succinate recall. This time it was from the Indian generic drug company Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories. The 25 mg metoprolol pills failed a dissolution test. In other words, they didn’t dissolve according to specifications. This is the fourth generic drug company to have problems with metoprolol succinate.This is a very big deal. Nearly 40 million prescriptions were written for metoprolol last year.

We have been receiving complaints about generic formulations of this beta blocker heart medicine since 2007, not long after the brand name Toprol-XL lost its exclusive patent. We used to think we were the only ones who cared about this issue. But a New York Times article published on Tuesday, June 24th, 2014, suggests that there are others who share our concerns.

To read about Cleveland Clinic cardiologist Harry Lever’s experience with patients on generic metoprolol, click on this link.

Here are some recent posts from visitors to our website:

“I have been hospitalized 3 times in the last two years with A-Fib, then DVTs/PEs [deep vein thrombosis & pulmonary embolism caused by blood clots] and then severe iron deficient anemia. The last 2 were also with A-Fib as well. I have been on metoprol XL since prior to the first A-Fib hospitalization. I remember being changed from round to diamond shaped tablets a short time before that episode and feeling the arrhythmia followed by GI problems.

Admission diagnosis was dehydration induced A-Fib. Now I wonder…. Being an RN it is hard to face patients and say check what your pills look like and if they change shape, color size, do not trust them. We are responsible for teaching side effects, and now this as well. Hard to build patient trust in light of this new info.” Emma

“I was put on Metoprol Succinate E.R., 50 mg Tab 1 tab 2 times a day when I had to be admitted into the hospital for tachycardia [rapid heart rate]. I was found to have supra ventricular arrhythmias as well as mild hypertension and migraines. I noticed right away that I have to take this on time or even early or else I get weak, very rapid heart rate and high BP. If I miss one, which I cannot do, I am sick for hours. Is this normal?

“This medicine scares me! I think it caused my blood pressure to elevate when it runs out. I would give anything to be able to quit this and the many other dangerous medications I’m on for multiple illnesses.. The FDA is not doing their job in our favor it seems.” B.T.

Share your own experience with generic metoprolol succinate below. Has one manufacturer worked better than another for you?

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  1. mary

    I am writing from Tennessee about my husband who has wpw syndrome a syndrome I guess he was born with, where the heart has a short pathway that can make the heart rate speed up. It was found when he was 40 years pld and the doctor put him on Inderal for 10 years to control the heart speed, then he went to quinidine if he needed it, but rarely used it.

    As he got older and experienced stress at his work the episodes came more often. Then they wanted to do the ablation but he was scared of it, so I looked for another cardiologist who put him on metoprolol tartrate for about 5 years. Then he complained of chest discomfort so the doctor let him come off of it, and he had a few episodes that he could control with alka seltzer and bitters, which a bartender showed him at a store holiday party……

    Lately, he has been having episodes and the doctor today prescribed metoprolol succinate, which I knew was different, so I have researched all day and night, finding the AstraZeneca Toprol and seeing it is really for high blood pressure which he does not have! The generics I find have had recalls and many problems duplicating the Topol—we are not going to start this generic from Watson pharma. We are going to try natural beta blockers I found today—passionflower herb, potatoes and broccoli.

    • Terry Graedon

      Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome can be serious, so make sure your husband stays in close touch with his physician.

  2. TR

    Dear rwc: I used to work for a pharmaceutical company and believe me, the differences between manufacturers can be as broad as night and day. Your pharmacist has had his head in the sand and if he was mine, I would be at another pharmacy. His line of thinking can be dangerous to a consumer. Of course the reactions have not been “proven”, but how much anecdotal evidence do you need before the cause and effect can be suspected?
    You did well in changing to another vendor. I had to do the same with pantoprazole from Sun. It is not the same product as pantoprazole from Teva. I had 4 days of side effects that were awful on the Sun product. Teva is a well respected manufacturer of generics.

  3. rwc

    My pharmacist does not put name of drug manufacturer on his label and resents it when you inquire about the origin. When I gave him the name of the metoprolol succinate manufacturer that I had read in a number of places, he chuckled and said, “I don’t use them and none of that’s been proven.”
    I did change back to my original prescription – Toprol XL 25 mg. – as I had begun to notice – ever so slightly at first – an inability to draw a deep breath and just pushed that aside because, “Well, you know, you are getting older.” But my cardiologist will ask me each time I see him, “Have you had any breathing difficulties?” and so I felt I ought to get off the generic metoprolol – which I did – and I believe things are improving, though very slowly.
    I don’t take any other prescriptions, thankfully, and would like to keep it that way especially now that we are hearing more complaints and questions about pharmaceuticals and their origin.
    Thanks for being there, Graedons – who else would we turn to? rwc

  4. M.K.

    I like Emma take Metoprolol SUCC ER 50mg 2 a day for AFib I don’t seem to have any side effects. However I am getting nervous about continuing to take it. Is there a generic other than Dr Reddy that is still approved?

  5. S. L.

    I take metoprolol succinate and have been fortunate thus far. Par Pharm. is the manufacturer. I am concerned, though, that the pharmacy could change the manufacturer at some point in the future. I wouldn’t know what other manufacturer would be dependable for me.

  6. PRK

    I agree with B.T. “The FDA is not doing their job in our favor it seems.” B.T.

  7. TR

    I’ve been using generic Metoprolol tartrate for the past year from Mylan with no problems after switching from name brand. Perhaps they also make the succinate version?

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