What is Atenolol?


Atenolol is a type of drug known as a beta-blocker. It works on the body’s natural chemicals that help to regulate the heart and the blood vessels. The result is a decrease in blood pressure and heart rate.

Doctors prescribe atenolol for the following reasons:

  • To prevent heart attacks
  • To prevent kidney problems
  • To prevent strokes
  • To enhance survival after a heart attack
  • To treat chest pains
  • To treat high blood pressure
  • To treat irregular heartbeats
  • To handle symptoms related to alcohol withdrawal
  • To prevent migraine headaches

Using Atenolol

Atenolol is taken as a pill, with or without a meal. It’s taken once to twice daily, or as instructed by your physician.

Dosage can vary, depending on your condition and your physician’s advice. A lot depends on you and your body’s response to the treatment.

Most patients with high blood pressure do not actually feel sick. If this is you, be sure to still take your medication regularly as directed. Even if you feel fine.

If atenolol has been prescribed to you for chest pain, regular use is needed for best effectiveness.

However, atenolol should not be used to treat chest pain when it does happen. Other medications must be prescribed to relieve this condition. Talk to your doctor right away if you have chest pain and are on atenolol.

Side Effects of Atenolol

Some adverse drug effects may include:

  • Cold hands and feet. This happens because of the reduction of blood flowing into these areas.
  • Dizziness.
  • Lightheadedness.
  • Nausea.
  • Tiredness.

Serious side effects, while unlikely to happen, may include:

  • Breathing problems.
  • Extremely slow heartbeat.
  • Fainting.
  • Mood or mental changes.
  • Serious allergic reactions, especially to the face, tongue or throat area.
  • Severe headache.

Seek medical help right away if you feel any of these.

Atenolol: Off-Label

Some doctors prescribe atenolol for anxiety.

While not officially approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), atenolol has been shown to help control the physical effects of anxiety, rapid heartbeat, but not the psychological symptoms that cause the physical effects.

It works by helping reduce an irregularly fast heartbeat and high blood pressure. By controlling these two physical symptoms, the brain can stop providing feedbacks. When anxious, knowing you have a fast heartbeat, feeling your heart race, can intensify your anxiety.

A further advantage in using this medicine for anxiety disorders is the improvement in the quality of a patient’s life that it brings compared to other drugs.  Atenolol was found not to induce functional difficulties as a result of drowsiness. There is also no risk of a patient becoming too dependent on this medicine, which is a danger that comes with other kinds of anxiety medications.


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