• Pharmacy Author:
    Omudhome Ogbru, PharmD

    Dr. Ogbru received his Doctorate in Pharmacy from the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy in 1995. He completed a Pharmacy Practice Residency at the University of Arizona/University Medical Center in 1996. He was a Professor of Pharmacy Practice and a Regional Clerkship Coordinator for the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy from 1996-99.

  • Medical and Pharmacy Editor: Jay W. Marks, MD
    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD, is a board-certified internist and gastroenterologist. He graduated from Yale University School of Medicine and trained in internal medicine and gastroenterology at UCLA/Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

What is betaxolol, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?

Betaxolol is a beta-adrenergic blocking drug. The nerves of the sympathetic nervous system--a subdivision of the autonomic nervous system--release a chemical related to adrenaline that binds to the heart-rate controlling cells in the heart as well as the muscles of the heart. Binding causes the heart to beat faster and the muscles of the heart to contract more vigorously and work harder. Betaxolol blocks the binding of the adrenaline-like chemical and prevents the increases in heart rate and muscular contraction. As a result, blood pressure is lowered. By reducing the heart rate and muscular contraction, betaxolol also reduces the heart's need for oxygen to generate energy. Since angina pectoris (heart pain) occurs when the heart's need for oxygen is too great and exceeds the supply of oxygen, betaxolol can prevent angina pectoris. Betaxolol was approved by the FDA in 1985.

What brand names are available for betaxolol?

Kerlone (Discontinued Brand)

Is betaxolol available as a generic drug?


Do I need a prescription for betaxolol?


What are the side effects of betaxolol?

Betaxolol generally is well tolerated, and side effects usually are mild and transient. Common side effects include:

Other important side effects include aggravation of breathing difficulties in patients with asthma, chronic bronchitis, or emphysema.

In patients with existing slow heart rate (bradycardia) and heart block (defects in the electrical conduction of the heart), betaxolol can cause a dangerously slow heart rate and even shock. Betaxolol reduces the force of heart muscle contraction and can aggravate symptoms of heart failure. In patients with coronary artery disease, abruptly stopping betaxolol can suddenly worsen angina, and occasionally precipitate heart attacks. If it is necessary to discontinue betaxolol, its dosage should be reduced gradually over several weeks. Like all other beta-blockers, betaxolol can mask the early warning symptoms of low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) in people with diabetes and can increase or decrease blood sugar. Therefore, it should be used with caution in patients with diabetes.

What is the dosage for betaxolol?

Betaxolol usually is taken once daily. The optimal dose varies among patients. The recommended dose range is 5-20 mg daily.

Which drugs or supplements interact with betaxolol?

The blood pressure-lowering effects of betaxolol add to the blood pressure-lowering effects of other drugs. For this reason, combinations of betaxolol and other blood pressure-lowering drugs often are used to treat persons with high blood pressure.

Betaxolol can mask the early warning symptoms of low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) and should be used with caution in patients receiving treatment for diabetes.

When used in combination with diltiazem (Cardizem; Tiazac; Dilacor), verapamil (Calan; Isoptin; Verelan; Covera), amiodarone (Cordarone), or digoxin (Lanoxin), betaxolol or other beta-blockers, can cause complete block of the heart's electrical system causing serious abnormal heart rhythms.

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil), naproxen (Naprosyn, Anaprox, Aleve), can reduce the blood pressure lowering effects of beta-blockers such as betaxolol.

Is betaxolol safe to take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?

There is very little information about the effects of betaxolol in pregnant women. Physicians may use betaxolol if its benefits are deemed to outweigh the potential and unknown risks to the fetus.

Concentrations of betaxolol in breast milk may be up to three times those in the mother's blood. Therefore, betaxolol is used in nursing mothers only if the benefits outweigh potential risks to the infant.

What else should I know about betaxolol?

What preparations of betaxolol are available?

Tablets: 10 and 20 mg.

How should I keep betaxolol stored?

Tablets should be stored at room temperature, 15 C to 30 C (59 F to 86 F).


Betaxolol (Kerlone [Discontinued Brand]) is a drug prescribed for the treatment of high blood pressure and chest pain of angina. Side effects, drug interactions, dosage, and pregnancy safety should be reviewed prior to taking this medication.

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Reference: FDA Prescribing Information