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Metyrapone is a generic version of the Novartis drug Metopirone®, which is used in the diagnosis of adrenal insufficiency and occasionally in the treatment of Cushing's syndrome (hypercortisolism). Metyrapone's ability to inhibit the stress hormone cortisol has brought it new attention as a potential treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This is because cortisol is associated with the storing and interpreting of memories. It has only been studied in men for this purpose, and has not been approved by the FDA as a treatment for PTSD.[1]

Metyrapone is not usually prescribed to treat, to prevent, or to cure any illness. Rather, it is primarily used as a tool to test out hypothalamic-pituitary ACTH function. It comes in capsule form, in dosages of 250 milligrams.[2]


Active ingredient in: Metopirone®
Manufacturer Novartis
Uses As a diagnostic aid for adrenal insufficiency and Cushing's syndrome
Common side effects Drowsiness or dizziness, headache, nausea, stomach pain, vomiting.
Major side effects Severe allergic reactions (rash, hives, difficulty breathing, tightness in the chest, swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue), anxiety; confusion; dehydration; diarrhea; fast or irregular heartbeat; severe weakness.
Warnings Using Metyrapone alone, with alcohol, or with certain other medicines may impair the ability to drive and perform dangerous tasks.
Author Hugh Shiebler


About Metyrapone

Metyrapone is used for testing pituitary function. The drug, only available with a prescription, is a diagnostic tool that makes it possible to test out the signals sent out by the pituitary gland. Patients may be instructed to take the drug with milk or a small amount of food. For single-dose procedures, metyrapone is taken at midnight. The following morning, a medical professional will take a blood sample. Multiple-dose tests occur over several days, and patients will be instructed to collect urine samples throughout the testing period.

Metyrapone Side Effects

Side effects of metyrapone include upset stomach, stomach pain, lowered blood pressure, headache, drowsiness, and allergic rash. In rare but serious cases, the drug can lower white blood cell count and cause depressed bone marrow. It is possible to overdose on metyrapone. Signs of overdose include dehydration, low blood pressure, weakness, confusion, vomiting, diarrhea, and passing out.[2]

About Prescription Drugs

Basic information on prescription medications

Metyrapone Precautions and Warnings

  • Metyrapone may not be suitable for patients who have histories of thyroid issues or lowered adrenal gland function.
  • Metyrapone may not work as well during pregnancy.
  • Metyrapone can cause loss of alertness.

Metyrapone and PTSD

Canadian researchers reported in 2011 that metyrapone might be effective in treating patients with PTSD. Researchers believe that metyrapone may be able to actually prevent PTSD before it even begins. Because it acts on the hormone cortisol, which is involved both in stress and in memory formation, metyrapone may be able to block a patient's ability to recall bad memories.

Also See: Prescription Drugs, FDA, Novartis Patient Assistance Programs, Drug Coupons, Patient Assistance Programs, Cymbalta Coupons, Lexapro Coupons



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