SIDE EFFECTS: Atenolol is generally well tolerated, and side effects are mild and transient. Its side effects include:
- abdominal cramps,
- dreaming, memory loss,
- slow heart rate,
- abnormal heart rhythm,
- low blood pressure,
- cold extremities, and
- sore throat.
Atenolol can cause breathing difficulties in patients with asthma, chronic bronchitis, or emphysema. In patients with existing slow heart rates (bradycardias) and heart blocks (defects in the electrical conduction of the heart), atenolol can cause dangerously slow heart rates and even shock. Atenolol reduces the force of heart muscle contraction and can aggravate symptoms of heart failure.
In patients with coronary artery disease, abruptly stopping atenolol can suddenly worsen angina, and occasionally precipitate heart attacks. If it is necessary to discontinue atenolol, its dosage can be reduced gradually over several weeks.
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