Atenolol

By Medically reviewed by hellodoktor

Generic Name: Atenolol Brand Name(s): Generics only. No brands available.

Uses

What is atenolol used for?

Atenolol is commonly used to treat high blood pressure (hypertension). Lowering high blood pressure helps prevent strokes, heart attacks, and kidney problems. This medication is also used to treat chest pain (angina) and to improve survival after a heart attack.

Atenolol belongs to a class of drugs known as beta blockers. It works by blocking the action of certain natural chemicals in your body, such as epinephrine, on the heart and blood vessels. This effect lowers the heart rate, blood pressure, and strain on the heart.

This medication may also be used to treat irregular heartbeat, heart failure, alcohol withdrawal symptoms, and to prevent migraine headaches.

How should I take atenolol?

Take this medication by mouth with or without food as directed by your doctor, usually 1 to 2 times daily.

Apple juice and orange juice may prevent your body from fully absorbing atenolol. It is best to avoid drinking apple/orange juice within 4 hours of taking atenolol.

The dosage is based on your medical condition and response to treatment.

Use this medication regularly in order to get the most benefit from it. To help you remember, take it at the same time(s) each day. It is important to continue taking this medication even if you feel well. Most people with high blood pressure do not feel sick.

If this product is used for chest pain, it must be taken regularly to be effective. It should not be used to treat chest pain when it occurs. Use other medications (such as nitroglycerin placed under the tongue) to relieve chest pain as directed by your doctor.

It may take 1 to 2 weeks before you get the full benefit of this medication. Tell your doctor if your condition does not improve or if it worsens (for example, if your blood pressure readings remain high or increase, if your chest pain occurs more often).

How do I store atenolol?

Atenolol is best stored at room temperature away from direct light and moisture. To prevent drug damage, you should not store atenolol in the bathroom or the freezer. There may be different brands of atenolol that may have different storage needs. It is important to always check the product package for instructions on storage, or ask your pharmacist. For safety, you should keep all medicines away from children and pets.

You should not flush atenolol down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. It is important to properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist for more details about how to safely discard your product.

Precautions & warnings

What should I know before using atenolol?

Before using this drug, tell your doctor if:

  • You are pregnant or breastfeeding. This is because, while you are expecting or feeding a baby, you should only take medicines on the recommendation of a doctor.
  • You are taking any other medicines. This includes any medicines you are taking which are available to buy without a prescription, such as herbal and complementary medicines.
  • You have allergy with any of active or inactive ingredients of atenolol or other medications.
  • You have any other illnesses, disorders, or medical conditions.

Tell your doctor if you have or have ever had asthma or other lung disease; diabetes; severe allergies; an overactive thyroid gland (hyperthyroidism); pheochromocytoma; heart failure; a slow heart rate; circulation problems; or heart or kidney disease.

If you are having surgery, including dental surgery, tell the doctor or dentist that you are taking atenolol.

You should know that if you have allergic reactions to different substances, your reactions may be worse while you are using atenolol, and your allergic reactions may not respond to the usual doses of injectable epinephrine.

Is it safe during pregnancy or breastfeeding?

There are no adequate studies in women for determining risk when using atenolol during pregnancy or while breastfeeding. Please always consult with your doctor to weigh the potential benefits and risks before taking atenolol. Atenolol is pregnancy risk category D, according to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

FDA pregnancy risk category reference below:

  • A=No risk
  • B=No risk in some studies
  • C=There may be some risk
  • D=Positive evidence of risk
  • X=Contraindicated
  • N=Unknown

Side effects

What side effects can occur from atenolol?

Less serious side effects may include:

  • Decreased sex drive, impotence, or difficulty having an orgasm
  • Sleep problems (insomnia)
  • Tired feeling
  • Anxiety, nervousness

Call your doctor at once if you have any of these serious side effects:

  • Slow or uneven heartbeats
  • Feeling light-headed, fainting
  • Feeling short of breath, even with mild exertion
  • Swelling of your ankles or feet
  • Nausea, stomach pain, low fever, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes)
  • Depression
  • Cold feeling in your hands and feet

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Not everyone experiences these side effects. There may be some side effects not listed above. If you have any concerns about a side-effect, please consult your doctor or pharmacist.

Interactions

What drugs may interact with atenolol?

Atenolol may interact with other drugs that you are currently taking, which can change how your drug works or increase your risk for serious side effects. To avoid any potential drug interactions, you should keep a list of all the drugs you are using (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. For your safety, do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any drugs without your doctor’s approval.

Products that may interact with this drug are:

  • Allergy treatments (or if you are undergoing allergy skin-testing)
  • Amiodarone (Cordarone, Pacerone)
  • Clonidine (Catapres)
  • Digoxin (digitalis, Lanoxin)
  • Disopyramide (Norpace)
  • Guanabenz (Wytensin)
  • An MAO inhibitor such as isocarboxazid (Marplan), tranylcypromine (Parnate), phenelzine (Nardil), or selegiline (Eldepryl, Emsam)
  • A diabetes medication such as insulin, glyburide (Diabeta, Micronase, Glynase), glipizide (Glucotrol), chlorpropamide (Diabinese), or metformin (Glucophage)
  • A heart medication such as nifedipine (Procardia, Adalat), reserpine (Serpasil), verapamil (Calan, Verelan, Isoptin), diltiazem (Cartia, Cardizem)
  • Medicine for asthma or other breathing disorders, such as albuterol (Ventolin, Proventil), bitolterol (Tornalate), metaproterenol (Alupent), pirbuterol (Maxair), terbutaline (Brethaire, Brethine, Bricanyl), and theophylline (Theo-Dur, Theolair)
  • Cold medicines, stimulant medicines, or diet pills

Does food or alcohol interact with atenolol?

Atenolol may interact with food or alcohol by altering the way the drug works or increase the risk for serious side effects. Please discuss with your doctor or pharmacist any potential food or alcohol interactions before using this drug.

What health conditions may interact with atenolol?

Atenolol may interact with your health condition. This interaction may worsen your health condition or alter the way the drug works. It is important to always let your doctor and pharmacist know all the health conditions you currently have.

Health conditions that may interact with this drug are:

  • Bradycardia (slow heartbeat)
  • Heart block
  • Heart failure
  • Pheochromocytoma (adrenal gland tumor)
  • Diabetes
  • Hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid)
  • Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)
  • Kidney disease
  • Lung disease (e.g., asthma, bronchitis, emphysema)

Dosage

The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. You should ALWAYS consult with your doctor or pharmacist before using atenolol.

What is the dose of atenolol for an adult?

Usual Adult Dose for Hypertension:

Initial dose: 50 mg orally once a day

Maintenance dose: 50 to 100 mg orally once a day

Maximum dose: 100 mg per day

Usual Adult Dose of Atenolol Pectoris Prophylaxis:

Initial dose: 50 mg orally once a day

Increase to 100 mg orally once a day after 1 week if optimal response not achieved

Maintenance dose: 50 to 200 mg orally once a day

Maximum dose: 200 mg per day

Usual Adult Dose for Angina Pectoris:

Initial dose: 50 mg orally once a day

Increase to 100 mg orally once a day after 1 week if optimal response not achieved

Maintenance dose: 50 to 200 mg orally once a day

Maximum dose: 200 mg per day

Usual Adult Dose for Myocardial Infarction:

50 mg orally twice a day or 100 mg orally once a day

Usual Geriatric Dose for Hypertension:

Initial dose: Consider reducing the starting dose to 25 mg orally once a day

What is the dose of atenolol for a child?

The dosage has not been established in pediatric patients. It may be unsafe for your child. It is always important to fully understand the safety of the drug before using. Please consult with your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

How is atenolol available?

Atenolol is available in the following dosage forms and strengths:

  • Tablet, Oral: 25 mg, 50 mg, 100 mg.

What should I do in case of an emergency or overdose?

In case of an emergency or an overdose, call your local emergency services or go to your nearest emergency room.

What should I do if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose of atenolol, take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and take your regular dose as scheduled. Do not take a double dose.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Review Date: July 26, 2017 | Last Modified: September 13, 2019

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