- Side Effects
- Beta Blockers List
- Drug Interactions
What are beta blockers, and what are they used for?
Beta blockers, also known as beta-adrenergic blocking agents, are drugs that block norepinephrine and epinephrine (adrenaline) from binding to beta receptors on nerves.
Norepinephrine and epinephrine are produced by nerves throughout the body as well as by the adrenal gland. They serve as neurotransmitters (chemicals that nerves use to communicate with one another) that may be active locally where they are produced, or elsewhere in the body, when they are released into the blood. There are both alpha and beta receptors in the body.
3 types of beta receptors
There are three types of beta receptors and they control several different functions based on their location in the body.
- beta-1 (β1) receptors are located in the heart, eye, and kidneys.
- beta (β2) receptors are found in the lungs, gastrointestinal tract, liver, uterus, blood vessels, and skeletal muscle.
- beta (β3) receptors are located in fat cells.
Beta blockers primarily block β1 and β2 receptors and thereby the effects of norepinephrine and epinephrine. By blocking the effects of norepinephrine and epinephrine, beta blockers reduce heart rate; reduce blood pressure by dilating blood vessels; and may constrict air passages by stimulating the muscles that surround the air passages to contract considered an adverse side effect).
Beta blockers are used for treating:
- Abnormal heart rhythms
- High blood pressure
- Heart failure
- Angina (heart pain)
- Prevention of migraines
- Hypertrophic subaortic stenosis
- They also have been found to prevent further heart attacks and death after a heart attack.
- Other uses include the treatment of hyperthyroidism, akathisia (restlessness or inability to sit still), panic disorder, anxiety, and aggressive behavior.
- Some beta blockers reduce the production of aqueous humor in the eye and therefore are used for reducing pressure in the eye caused by glaucoma.
What are the side effects of beta blockers?
Beta blockers may cause:
Other important side effects include:
As an extension of their beneficial effect, they slow heart rate and reduce blood pressure, but they may cause adverse effects such as heart failure or heart block in patients with heart problems.
- Central nervous system effects of beta blockers include:
Beta blockers that block β2 receptors may cause shortness of breath in asthmatics.
As with other drugs used for treating high blood pressure, sexual dysfunction may occur.
Other serious side effects of beta-blockers include:
List of examples of brand and generic names for beta blockers?
- acebutolol (Sectral)
- atenolol (Tenormin)
- betaxolol (Kerlone)
- betaxolol (Betoptic S)
- bisoprolol fumarate (Zebeta)
- carteolol (Cartrol, discontinued)
- carvedilol (Coreg)
- esmolol (Brevibloc)
- labetalol (Trandate [Normodyne - discontinued])
- metoprolol (Lopressor, Toprol XL)
- nadolol (Corgard)
- nebivolol (Bystolic)
- penbutolol (Levatol)
- pindolol (Visken, discontinued)
- propranolol (Hemangeol, Inderal LA, Inderal XL, InnoPran XL)
- sotalol (Betapace, Sorine)
- timolol (Blocadren, discontinued)
- timolol ophthalmic solution (Timoptic, Betimol, Istalol)
What are the differences amongst the beta blockers available?
Beta blockers differ in the type of beta receptors they block and, therefore, their effects.
- Non-selective beta blockers, for example, propranolol (Inderal), block β1 and β2 receptors and, therefore, affect the heart, blood vessels, and air passages.
- Selective beta blockers, for example, metoprolol (Lopressor, Toprol XL) primarily block β1 receptors and, therefore, mostly affect the heart and do not affect air passages.
- Some beta blockers, for example, pindolol (Visken) have intrinsic sympathomimetic activity (ISA), which means they mimic the effects of epinephrine and norepinephrine and can cause an increase in blood pressure and heart rate. Beta blockers with ISA have smaller effects on heart rate than agents that do not have ISA.
- Labetalol (Normodyne, Trandate) and carvedilol (Coreg) block beta and alpha-1 receptors. Blocking alpha receptors adds to the blood vessel dilating effect of labetalol and carvedilol.
What drugs interact with beta blockers?
- Combining propranolol (Inderal) or pindolol (Visken) with thioridazine (Mellaril) or chlorpromazine (Thorazine) may result in low blood pressure (hypotension) and abnormal heart rhythms because the drugs interfere with each other's elimination and result in increased levels of the drugs.
- Dangerous elevations in blood pressure may occur when clonidine (Catapres) is combined with a beta blocker, or when clonidine or beta blocker is discontinued after their concurrent use. Blood pressure should be closely monitored after initiation or discontinuation of clonidine or a beta blocker when they have been used together.
- Phenobarbital and similar agents may increase the breakdown and reduce blood levels of propanolol (Inderal) or metoprolol (Lopressor, Toprol XL). This may reduce effectiveness of the beta blocker.
- Aspirin and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) (for example, ibuprofen) may counteract the blood pressure reducing effects of beta blockers by reducing the effects of prostaglandins, which play a role in control of blood pressure.
- Beta blockers may prolong hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) and mask symptoms of hypoglycemia in diabetics who are taking insulin or other diabetic medications.
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Beta blockers are used for the treatment of irregular heart rhythms, chest pain, heart attack, hypertension, migraine headaches, social phobias, tremors, and glaucoma. Common side effects of beta blockers are nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, and weight gain if you are taking medicine for diabetes (type 1 and type 2). Examples of generic and brand names available for beta blockers in the U.S. include acebutolol (Sectral), atenolol (Tenormin), bisoprolol (Zebeta), metoprolol (Lopressor, Lopressor LA, Toprol XL), nadolol (Corgard), timolol (Blocadren).
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Second Source article from Government
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Atrial Fibrillation (AFib) vs. Ventricular Fibrillation (VFib)
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Atrial Flutter: ECG, Symptoms, and Treatments
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Peyronie's Disease (Curvature of the Penis)
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Paroxysmal Supraventricular Tachycardia (PSVT)
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Heart Attack Treatment
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What Causes Congestive Heart Failure?
Congestive heart failure is a chronic disease that progresses with time if left untreated. Heart failure can occur due to diseases of the heart, the blood vessels supplying oxygen and nutrients to the heart, or sometimes from factors outside the heart (extracardiac causes). With proper management, people who have congestive heart failure can lead nearly normal lives, depending on the severity of the condition.
Can High Blood Pressure (HBP) Cause Blood in Urine?
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Is Turmeric OK to Take With High Blood Pressure?
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How Do You Strengthen Your Heart After Heart Failure?
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Can Rheumatoid Arthritis Cause Heart Failure?
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What Is Aortic Dissection?
Aortic dissection is a small tear in the large blood vessel that leads from the heart and supplies blood to the body. Symptoms of aortic dissection include a tearing or ripping pain, nausea, sweating, weakness, shortness of breath, sweating, or fainting. Treatment depends on the type of aortic dissection, and the severity of the tear in the aorta.
What Can I Do to Relieve Angina Pain?
Learn what medical treatments can help ease your angina pain symptoms and help you manage this condition.
What Happens If Arrhythmia Is Left Untreated?
Untreated arrhythmia in some individuals may increase the risk of stroke, heart attack, dementia, and heart failure. It may lead to the inadequate blood supply to multiple organs because the heart may not function properly.
Can High Blood Pressure Hurt My Eyes?
Unfortunately, yes. Suffering from untreated or poorly controlled high blood pressure for a long time can be detrimental to your eyes. Several eye diseases are directly or indirectly caused by high blood pressure (hypertension).
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Dilated Cardiomyopathy is a condition where the heart's ability to pump blood is decreased because the heart's main pumping chamber is enlarged and weakened. Symptoms of dilated cardiomyopathy include chest pain, heart failure, swelling of the lower extremities, fatigue, weight gain, fainting, palpitations, dizziness and blood clots.
Heart Attack Prevention
Heart disease and heart attacks can be prevented by leading a healthy lifestyle with diet, exercise, and stress management. Symptoms of heart attack in men and women include chest discomfort and pain in the shoulder, neck, jaw, stomach, or back.
What Does an Angina Attack Feel Like?
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What Foods Are Good to Treat Heart Failure?
If you have mild-to-moderate heart failure, you may lead a nearly normal life by making some lifestyle changes. Foods that are good to treat heart failure include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat protein, nuts, legumes, and unsaturated fats.
How Does High Blood Pressure Affect Pregnancy?
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Can You Still Exercise With Heart Failure?
Performing light to moderate exercises is a great way to strengthen your heart muscles after being diagnosed with heart failure.
High Blood Pressure Symptoms
Most people with high blood pressure have no signs or symptoms, even if blood pressure readings reach dangerously high levels. In some patients, symptoms may include fatigue, headaches, dizziness, confusion, sweating, chest pain and vision problems.
What Is High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)?
High blood pressure or hypertension is when the blood pressure readings consistently range from 140 or higher for systolic or 90 or higher for diastolic. Blood pressure readings above 180/120 mmHg are dangerously high and require immediate medical attention.
Can Angina Lead to a Heart Attack?
Angina, or angina pectoris, is a sudden chest pain caused by low blood flow to the heart. Yes, some types of angina attacks can lead to heart complications.
What Causes High Blood Pressure in Children?
Research states that kidney disease is the main cause of high blood pressure in children; however, here are the other potential causes of hypertension in kids.
Restrictive cardiomyopathy, the rarest form of cardiomyopathy, is a condition in which the walls of the lower chambers of the heart (the ventricles) are abnormally rigid and lack the flexibility to expand as the ventricles fill with blood. The pumping or systolic function of the ventricle may be normal but the diastolic function (the ability of the heart to fill with blood) is abnormal. Therefore, it is harder for the ventricles to fill with blood, and with time, the heart loses the ability to pump blood properly, leading to heart failure.
Can Kawasaki Disease Cause Heart Failure?
Approximately 50 percent of children with Kawasaki disease may develop inflammation of the heart muscle and potentially heart failure, in severe cases.
Treatment & Diagnosis
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- Beta Blockers: Why Take a Beta Blocker?
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- Medication Disposal
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- Congestive Heart Failure Treatment
- Angina Diagnosis
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- Angina Symptoms
- Thyroid Storm
- Pain Relievers and High Blood Pressure
- Congestive Heart Failure Symptoms
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Medications & Supplements
- Beta Blockers vs. Calcium Channel Blockers
- High Blood Pressure Drugs (Hypertension)
- BETA BLOCKERS-ORAL
- Drugs: Questions to Ask Your Doctor or Pharmacist about Your Drugs
- Beta Blockers vs. Xanax
- Beta Blockers vs. Valium
- Drug Interactions
- Beta Blockers vs. ARBs
- Beta Blocker Side Effects (Adverse Effects)
- Beta Blockers vs. SSRIs
- Calcium Channel Blockers (CCBs)
- metoprolol (Lopressor, Toprol XL)
- Congestive Heart Failure Medications
- ACE Inhibitors vs. Beta Blockers
- Sectral (acebutolol)
- Why Are Diuretics Used in Heart Failure?
- propranolol, Inderal, Inderal LA, Innopran XL
- bisoprolol (Zebeta)
- atenolol and chlorthalidone, Tenoretic
- timolol ophthalmic solution (Timoptic)
- nadolol (Corgard)
- erenumab (Aimovig)
- bisoprolol and hydrochlorothiazide (Ziac)
- timolol (Betimol)
- Types of High Blood Pressure (Hypertension) Medications
Prevention & Wellness
- Is Medicare Overspending? Costco Prices Much Less for Generic Drugs
- Beta Blockers Won't Cause Depression, But Might Impair Sleep: Study
- Beta Blocker Heart Meds Pose Special Risks
- Study Casts Doubt on Use of Common Heart Failure Drugs
- How to Help Your Heart Weather Extreme Heat
- Another Use for Beta Blockers? Curbing A-fib
- Americans' Prescription Med Use Is Declining
- Could Common Heart Meds Lower Prostate Cancer Risk?
- Pros, Cons to Multiple Meds for Nursing Home Residents
- Beta Blockers May Not Be Best Heart Drugs for Dementia Patients
- Take Meds as Directed to Boost Survival After Heart Procedures
- Little Gains in Efforts to Boost Outpatient Care
- Are Some Blood Pressure Meds Linked to Depression, Bipolar Risk?
- Do Angioplasty Patients Really Need Beta-Blocker Drugs?
- Can Drugmakers Buy Doctors' Loyalty With Cheap Meals?
- Updated Heart Failure Treatment Guidelines Issued
- Vitamin D Boosts Heart Function in Study
- Brain Scans Give Clues to Stress-Heart Attack Link
- Drugs May Protect the Heart During Chemotherapy
- Seniors: The New Face of Addiction
- Angioplasty May Not Boost Survival for Some Heart Disease Patients
- Heart Patients Worldwide Missing Out on Key Drugs
- Younger Women Less Likely to Take Meds After Heart Attack
- Some Blood Pressure Drugs May Be Risky for Certain Surgery Patients
- Health Tip: Things That Affect Your Heart Rate
- Taking Blood Pressure Drugs at Night May Help Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
- Study: Lowering Beta-Blocker Dose May Boost Survival After Heart Attack
- Knee, Hip Replacement Surgeries Linked to Heart Risks
- Blood Pressure Drugs Linked to Longer Ovarian Cancer Survival
- Entresto Approved for Heart Failure
- Heart Drug Digoxin May Not Be Best for Some Heart Patients
- Treating Irregular Heartbeat With Digoxin May Come With Risks
- Is Obesity an Advantage After Heart Procedures?
- High Blood Pressure May Up Psoriasis Risk for Women
- Study Questions Use of Beta Blockers Before Heart Bypass Surgery
- Blood Pressure Drugs Help Keep Heart Trouble at Bay: FDA
- Minority Patients Less Likely to Stick With Heart Attack Meds: Study
- Green Tea May Interfere With a Blood Pressure Medicine
- Efforts to Improve Intensive-Care Outcomes Produce Mixed Results
- Number of Nerve Fibers Near Prostate Tumor Tied to Aggressiveness
- Drugs Can Sometimes Prevent Migraines, but at a Cost
- Common Heart Meds May Boost Recovery From Non-Cardiac Surgeries
- Higher Heart Rate Tied to Earlier Death, Even in Fit People
- Injected 'Hydrogel' May Help Repair Failing Hearts
- Common Heart Drug Might Improve Lung Cancer Survival
- Blood Pressure Drug May Lower Alzheimer's Risk
- Fainting Spells Often Tied to Too Many Meds at Once: Study
- Melatonin May Improve Sleep for People on Blood-Pressure Meds
- Many Heart Attacks May Go Unrecognized in Seniors
- 2 Common Blood Pressure Meds Fare Equally in Preventing Heart Woes
- High Blood Pressure May Protect Some Frail Elderly: Study
- Scientists Spot More Migraine Genes
- Common Blood Pressure Drugs May Not Cut Colon Cancer Risk
- Role of Screening, Monitoring in Early Kidney Disease Unclear
- Heart Failure Death Risk Lower for Women
- Treatment Advances Improve the Odds for Heart Failure Patients
- Insect Stings Hold Deadly Risk for Some
- Underused Treatments Could Save Lives From Heart Failure
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Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
FDA Prescribing Information.
Harvard Health Publications; Harvard Medical School. "Ask the doctor: Beta blockers and alcohol." Sep 2013.