According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention about 29 percent, or 70 million Americans have high blood pressure. By not treating it properly, those Americans with high blood pressure are susceptible to strokes, kidney problems, and heart attacks. To help prevent high blood pressure complications, many Americans turn to a type of medication called beta blockers. Beta blockers stop the activity of natural substances that occur within your body, helping to lower the heart rate, blood pressure, and stress on the heart. The group of beta blockers used to treat hypertension are called nebivolol, and the most commonly prescribed drug in the United States is the brand name drug Bystolic.
Bystolic was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2007 and patented by Forest Pharmaceuticals. On June 2, 2015, Amerigen Pharmaceuticals was granted tentative approval by the FDA to manufacture a generic version of Bystolic. Per FDA regulations, Amerigen’s generic version cannot be launched until the later of three months before the patent expires on December 17, 2021 or the date Amerigen receives FDA approval of its Abbreviated New Drug Application (ANDA). So, unfortunately, there’s a while longer to wait before generic Bystolic is available.
Bystolic is different than most beta blockers because it has a vasodilator effect that causes blood vessels to widen, which contributes to a reduction in blood pressure. However, there is research that makes it questionable whether or not this makes the drug any more effective. In researching cheaper alternatives to Bystolic, doctors have actually found that two drugs offer a similar benefit to patients with hypertension and heart failure at a significantly discounted price: metoprolol and carvedilol.
Compared to a 30 tablets of 10mg Bystolic, which will cost an average of $112, 60 tablets of 25 mg metoprolol will only come out to be anywhere from $4-$14. Metoprolol is a beta blocker, and works similar to Bystolic by reducing the amount of work the heart has to do and the amount of blood the heart pumps out, reducing chest pain and high blood pressure in the process. This medication can also be used to prevent heart attacks and to treat angina and mild heart failure.
The drug can be taken orally or administered intravenously. It is usually taken twice (Lopressor brand) per day, but there are extended release formulas (Toprol XL) that is once per day that helps cure heart failure. Some of the side effects of metoprolol include nausea, diarrhea, or a cold sensation in your hands or feet. While you will experience a lower heart rate when taking the medicine, if your heart rate gets to the point where it is too low, contact your doctor about a taking a lower dosage.
Carvedilol is the other medicine that is an alternative to Bystolic, and it has also been proven effective in patients with severe heart failure. A 60 tablet prescription of 25 mg carvedilol will cost on average $10 at a local pharmacy. Carvedilol is another type of beta blocker that works by relaxing blood vessels and slowing your heart rate to improve blood flow and protecting a patient from a heart attack. The drug is known as the drug of choice among people with congestive heart failure, and myocardial infarction. Carvedilol can be taken two different ways: a tablet and an extended release capsule taken by mouth.
Some side effects of carvedilol include dizziness, fatigue, diarrhea, low blood pressure and weight gain.
Visit our Bystolic, metoprolol, and carvedilol drug pages for more information on the medications. If you think one of these drugs might be a good alternative for you, ask your doctor for more information about switching your blood pressure medication.