GENERIC NAME: atenolol
BRAND NAME: Tenormin
DRUG CLASS AND MECHANISM: Atenolol is a beta-adrenergic blocking agent that blocks the effects of adrenergic chemicals, for example, adrenaline or epinephrine, released by nerves of the sympathetic nervous system. One of the important function of beta-adrenergic nerves is to stimulate the heart muscle to beat more rapidly. By blocking the stimulation by these nerves, atenolol reduces the heart rate and is useful in treating abnormally rapid heart rhythms. Atenolol also reduces the force of contraction of heart muscle and lowers blood pressure. By reducing the heart rate, the force of muscle contraction, and the blood pressure against which the heart must pump, atenolol reduces the work of heart muscle and the need of the muscle for oxygen. Since angina occurs when oxygen demand of the heart muscle exceeds the supply, atenolol is helpful in treating angina. Atenolol was approved by the FDA in August 1981.
PRESCRIBED FOR: Atenolol is prescribed for patients with high blood pressure (hypertension). It also is used to treat chest pain (angina pectoris) related to coronary artery disease. Atenolol also is useful in slowing and regulating certain types of abnormally rapid heart rates (tachycardias). It also is prescribed for acute heart attack (myocardial infarction). Other uses for atenolol include the prevention of migraine headaches and the treatment of certain types of tremors (familial or hereditary essential tremors).
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