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Metoprolol Mechanism of Action

Instructor: Artem Cheprasov

Artem has a doctor of veterinary medicine degree.

This lesson describes a medication called metoprolol. You'll learn what it's used for, how it works, and how this ties in to receptors called beta-receptors and a biochemical called epinephrine.

A Troubled Heart

Does your heart hurt? It could be because of a bad break-up--or it could be because of a serious heart condition. While there isn't a pill to cure to the former, there is more than one kind that can help with the latter.

That's what this lesson is about, one possible medication that can help with heart issues. It's called metoprolol.

What Is Metoprolol?

Your heart is a really powerful muscle that contract and relaxes over and over again as it pumps blood around the body. But like any muscle, it can get tired and fail to work properly, especially in the face of great strain.

Think of it like this. Imagine pumping some iron really fast with your right arm. At first, everything seems cool. Then, as you contract and relax your biceps over and over again, they begin to hurt, and eventually they can't lift the weight all the way up. In other words, those muscles get tired and fail to work properly.

How can you relieve the pain in your arm and get the muscles to work more effectively? Firstly, you can drop the weight so there's less resistance to contracting the arm. Secondly, you can just relax a bit and stop curling the weight so fast. Take it easy.

There's a medication that does pretty much that but for your heart. It's called metoprolol. It's a kind of selective beta-1 blocker.

Mechanism of Action

A beta-1 blocker is a medication that blocks the beta-1 receptors in your body. This kind of receptor is found in your heart. It is stimulated by a biochemical called epinephrine. When stimulated, the heart races faster and its strength of contraction increases. This increases the heart's demand for oxygen and, as per the bicep curl example, really tires your heart out after a while. And like your biceps eventually hurt and fail due to too much exertion, the heart can hurt and fail in a similar manner.

And so, metoprolol is used to treat angina (chest pain), high blood pressure, and heart failure among other things. How? By blocking the beta-1 receptor, metoprolol:

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