Methyldopa is used on its own or together with other medicines to help keep your blood pressure under control.
Take Methyldopa exactly as directed by your doctor or according to the instructions on the label. Do not take more or less than instructed by your doctor.
You may take this medicine with or without food. Try to take it at the same time each day.
Methyldopa must be taken regularly for it to be effective. Continue taking this medicine even when you feel better. Do not stop taking it unless instructed by the doctor.
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and return to your normal dosing schedule.
DO NOT double a dose under any circumstances.
If you often forget to take your medicine, let your doctor and pharmacist know.
Alert your doctor if you have the following conditions:
- active liver disease
- liver problems associated with previous use of Methyldopa
- tumours that produce a certain hormone called catecholamines, such as phaeochromocytoma (rare tumour of the adrenal gland causing high blood pressure) or paraganglioma (a type of tumour that forms near certain blood vessels and nerves outside of the adrenal glands)
- porphyria (an inherited disorder that causes skin or nervous system abnormalities)
as Methyldopa may not be suitable for you.
Do not take Methyldopa if you are currently taking a medicine that is used to treat depression known as a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI) such as isocarboxazid, phenelzine and tranylcypromine.
Inform your doctor if you have the following conditions:
- history of liver disease
- kidney disease
- disease of the blood vessels supplying the brain
Let your doctor know if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
If you are going to have an operation, including minor surgery and dental work, inform your doctor or dentist that you are taking this medicine.
Be sure to check with your doctor or pharmacist before giving this medicine to a child or the elderly. Children and elderly people may be more sensitive to the side effects.
Why is it important to keep my appointments with the doctor?
Keep your appointments with your doctor. Your doctor needs to monitor your condition and check your response to the medication regularly.
What lifestyle changes can I make to improve my blood pressure?
- Routine tests (e.g. complete blood count, liver function, direct Coombs test) may be done while you are being treated with this medicine. Your doctor will advise you about how often you need to have these tests.
- Your blood pressure may fall to unsafe levels without you noticing it. Monitor your blood pressure in standing, sitting, or lying down position during the treatment.
Regular exercise and eating a healthy diet will help control your blood pressure and improve your overall health. Engage in physical activity like walking for at least 30 to 60 minutes on most days of the week. If you have not exercised for a long time, start with light exercises such as slow walks. Speak to your doctor about what type of exercise would be suitable for you. Follow a healthy diet plan by eating more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy products and reduce your intake of foods high in saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium. Cutting down on deep-fried foods and using less salt when cooking can kick-start your healthy diet.
If you smoke, you should try to quit. Smoking is harmful to your blood pressure, heart, and overall health. Speak to your doctor or pharmacist about ways to stop your smoking habit.
Methyldopa may cause drowsiness. If affected, do not drive or take part in any activity in which you need to be alert.
This medicine may also cause your blood pressure to fall suddenly when you get up from a sitting or lying down position and you may feel giddy. To minimise this problem, stand up slowly.
Other side effects include any of the following: nausea, vomiting, feeling full, constipation, stomach wind, stomach pain, diarrhoea, dry mouth, sore or “black” tongue, fever, weakness, weight gain, joint and muscle pain, tiredness, headache, uncontrolled movements, dizziness, nightmares, depression, decreased sex drive, skin rash, nasal stuffiness and numbness or tingling sensation in the hands and feet.
Some side effects may need immediate medical help. Alert your doctor quickly if you experience any of the following:
- yellowing of the skin or eyes, abdominal pain, dark coloured urine, tiredness, swelling in the legs and ankles
- unexplained bruising or bleeding, weakness, fever
Methyldopa may cause the level of your white blood cells and platelets to drop.
White blood cells help your body to fight infections. A fall in the level of your white blood cells may put you at higher risk for infections, such as coughs, colds and flu, which may lead to more serious infections. Avoid crowded places and people who are sick. Inform your doctor if you have a fever, or a cough or flu that does not go away.
Platelets help your blood to clot when there is a cut in the skin. A fall in the level of your platelets may put you at risk of bleeding more than usual. Do not take part in activities where you may fall or get injured, such as contact sports. Inform your doctor if you get any unusual bruising (large bruises or several bruises, especially if the bruises appeared on their own) or bleeding that takes a long time to stop (for example, too much bleeding when you floss or brush your teeth).
Inform your doctor if any of these side effects do not go away or are severe, or if you experience other side effects.
Do not use Methyldopa if you are currently taking a medicine to treat depression known as a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI) such as isocarboxazid, phenelzine and tranylcypromine.
Inform your doctor and pharmacist if you are taking any of these medicines:
- medicines for mood disorders e.g. lithium, chlorpromazine
- other medicines for high blood pressure or heart disease e.g. atenolol
- medicines to treat depression e.g. amitriptyline
- iron supplements e.g. ferrous sulfate
This list does not include all medicines that may interact with Methyldopa.
Always notify your doctor and pharmacist if you are taking any other medicines, including herbal tonics such as traditional Chinese medicines, supplements, and medicines that you buy without a prescription.
Cut down on your salt intake. This may help lower your blood pressure and improve your overall health. Discuss with your doctor or dietitian about ways to cut down on your salt intake.
Store in a cool, dry place away from the reach of children.
Medicines must not be used past the expiry date.