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What does it do?

Methyldopa is used to treat high blood pressure.

How should you take it?

Take methyldopa regularly as directed with a glass of water.

What if you forget a dose?

Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. If it is close to the time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and carry on as normal. Do not take two doses at the same time.

Can you take other medicines?

Some medicines available without a prescription may react with methyldopa including:

  • anti-inflammatories, such as diclofenac (e.g. Voltaren®), ibuprofen (e.g. Nurofen®), or aspirin (e.g. Disprin®, in doses used for pain relief). These can also be found in some cold and flu medicines (e.g. Nurofen Cold and Flu®).
  • iron supplements (e.g. Ferro-Tab®)

Tell your pharmacist or doctor about all medicines or treatments that you may be taking, including vitamins, herbal products or recreational drugs.

What side effects might you notice?

Side EffectsRecommended action

Slow heartbeat

Symptoms of liver problems including: yellow skin or eyes, itching, dark urine, pale bowel motions, abdominal pain

Easy/unusual bruising or bleeding, fever

Tell your doctor immediately

Feeling restless, strange or uncontrolled movements, tremor, stiffness

Tiredness, dizziness, pale skin

Tell your doctor

Headache, drowsiness, strange dreams, low mood

Swollen feet or legs, short of breath

Dry mouth

Changes in sexual function

Skin irritation

Tell your doctor if troublesome

Lightheaded or dizzy after standing up

Stand up slowly. If it continues, or is severe, tell your doctor

If you notice any other effects, discuss them with your doctor or pharmacist.

Other information:

  • Tell your doctor if you have heart, liver or kidney problems, a blood disorder, depression, or Parkinson’s disease.
  • Tell your doctor if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breastfeeding.
  • Methyldopa may make you dizzy or sleepy and make it dangerous to drive, operate machinery or do other activities that require you to be alert. Limit alcohol intake because it can increase these effects.
  • Do not stop taking methyldopa without talking to your doctor as this may cause a sudden increase in your blood pressure.

This leaflet contains important, but not all, information about this medicine.

Prepared by the PILs Committee at Christchurch Hospital, Canterbury District Health Board, New Zealand. December 2017

For more general information about this sheet and its contents, see: What does a My Medicines sheet cover?

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About My Medicines

My Medicines Patient Information Leaflets (PILs) contain important, but not all, information about the medicines they describe.

For more information about the sheets, see: What does a My Medicines sheet cover?

My Medicines is developed by a team at the Canterbury District Health Board. Our team is made up of doctors, pharmacists, and a non-medical person to help us keep to plain language. We also discuss our information with specialist health professionals or groups when needed