by on April 21, 2012
Brand Names:Tenormin
Generic name:atenolol
Pregnancy Category:C
Half-life:6 - 7 hours

What is Atenolol?

Atenolol is used to treat or prevent coronary heart disease by controlling heart function, but it does not cure coronary problems.  Atenolol is primarily used in the treatment of various cardiovascular diseases and belongs in a group of drugs called beta-blockers which affect the heart and blood circulation.

Atenolol is marketed under the trade name Tenormin and Tenoretic (a combination drug that contains atenolol and chlorthalidone) but is also sold as a generic drug. It is available as a prescription medicine. It is dispensed in oral tablet form (25, 50, 100 mg) and intravenous solution (5mg/10ml). Atenolol received FDA approval in August 1981.  It is manufactured by several pharmaceutical companies that include AstraZeneca PLC, Dava Pharmaceuticals Inc., IPR Pharmaceuticals Inc., Mutual Pharmaceuticals Co. Inc., Sandoz Pharmaceuticals Inc., and Teva Pharmaceuticals Inc.

Atenolol Uses

Atenolol works by blocking certain chemicals (beta-adrenergic agonists) in the heart and blood vessels that stimulate the heart to beat faster. It results in slower and regulated heart beat. This effect of atenolol is particularly useful in patients with tachycardia a condition characterized by abnormally rapid heart rhythms.

atenololAside from reducing the heart rate, atenolol also lowers the blood pressure and reduces contraction of heart muscle. This results in reduced workload and oxygen demand of the heart. These effects of atenolol are particularly beneficial in patients with high blood pressure (hypertension) and chest pain (angina). It can also be used in the treatment and prevention of heart attack.

Atenolol can be prescribed alone or together with other medications (such as hydrochlorthiazide) in the treatment of cardiovascular diseases. Aside from the conditions mentioned above, your healthcare provider may prescribe atenolol for other medical purposes such as treatment of certain types of tremors and prevention of migraine headaches.

Important Things to Remember When Taking Atenolol

  • Read the prescription label before initiating treatment. If you do understand the prescription or have any question, consult your healthcare provider.
  • Take atenolol exactly as prescribed by your healthcare provider. Do not increase the dose or take the medication for longer than recommended.
  • Take this medication around the same time of the day. Swallow it whole with a full glass of water.
  • Do not skip doses or discontinue taking atenolol without consulting your healthcare provider. Abruptly stopping this drug can worsen your condition. Continue taking this medication even if you feel well.
  • Have your blood pressure checked on a regular basis to monitor your condition. Regular physician visits is highly recommended.
  • Atenolol can lead to side effects such as impaired thinking or reactions. Be careful when performing tasks that require focus and concentration such as driving.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol while on atenolol treatment. This can increase dizziness and drowsiness.
  • If you need to undergo certain surgical procedures, you may have to temporarily discontinue taking atenolol. Inform all other healthcare providers that you are taking atenolol.
  • Some medications may have untoward drug interactions when taken along with atenolol. Discuss with your healthcare provider all drugs (prescription and non-prescription) that you normally take.
  • Atenolol is only a component of a comprehensive hypertension treatment program that may include weight control, heart-healthy diet and regular exercise. Follow the entire treatment program very closely.

Atenolol should be taken regularly and should not be discontinued without consulting a physician. Patients who stop taking it suddenly may experience chest pain, a heart attack or an irregular heartbeat.