Brand Names: Tenormin
Drug Class: Beta-blocker
Available in: Tablets
(Injection is for hospital use only.)
Available Without a Prescription? No
Available as a Generic? Yes
shortness of breath, wheezing, slow heartbeat (especially less
than 50 beats per minute), chest pain or tightness, swelling
of the ankles, feet, and lower legs. If you experience such
symptoms, stop taking atenolol and call your doctor immediately.
sexual ability; decreased ability to engage in usual physical
activities or exercise; dizziness or lightheadedness, especially
when rising suddenly
from a sitting or lying position; drowsiness, fatigue, or weakness; insomnia.
Less Common: Anxiety,
irritability; constipation; diarrhea; dry eyes; itching; nausea
or vomiting; nightmares or intensely vivid dreams; numbness,
tingling, or other
unusual sensations in the fingers and toes; abdominal pain; nasal congestion.
To treat mild to moderate high blood pressure
and to treat angina; also used to prevent or control heartbeat
irregularities (arrhythmias). The injectable form is used in
hospitals to treat heart attack.
How the Drug Works
Atenolol slows the rate and force of contraction
of the heart by blocking certain nerve impulses, thus reducing
blood pressure. By modifying nerve impulses to the heart, the
drug also helps stabilize heart rhythm.
50 to 100 mg, once a day. Smaller doses may be
recommended for elderly patients or for those with impaired
Onset of Effect
Oral: 1 to 2 hours; the full therapeutic
effect may take 1 to 2 weeks. Injectable: Within 10
Duration of Action
Up to 24 hours.
Take atenolol on an empty stomach. Avoid alcohol
Store in a tightly sealed container away from
heat and direct light.
If You Miss a Dose
Take it as soon as you remember. If it is within
4 hours of the next scheduled dose, skip the missed dose and
resume your regular schedule. Do not double the next dose.
Stopping the Drug
Suddenly stopping atenolol may cause serious
health problems. Slow reduction of the dose over a period
of 2 to 3 weeks is advised, under a doctors careful supervision.
Therapy with atenolol may be lifelong; prolonged
use may be associated with an increased risk of side effects.
Over 60: Adverse
reactions may be more likely and more severe in older patients;
a reduction in dosage may be warranted.
Driving and Hazardous Work: In
rare cases atenolol may impair your ability to drive or operate
machinery safely or perform hazardous work. Use caution, especially
soon after beginning therapy.
Alcohol: Drink in
moderation if at all. Alcohol may interact with the drug and
cause a dangerous drop in blood pressure.
with your doctor the relative risks and benefits of using this
drug while pregnant.
Breast Feeding: Avoid
or discontinue the use of atenolol while nursing.
Infants and Children: Proper
dose will be determined by pediatrician.
Special Concerns: Use
of the drug should be considered as only one element of a comprehensive
therapeutic program that includes weight control, smoking cessation,
regular exercise, and a healthy low-salt, low-fat diet.
Symptoms: Slow heartbeat;
severe dizziness, lightheadedness or fainting; rapid or irregular
heartbeat; difficulty breathing; extreme weakness; seizures;
What to Do: Call
your doctor, emergency medical services (EMS), or the nearest
poison control center immediately.
Consult your doctor if you are taking amphetamines,
oral antidiabetic drugs, asthma medication (such as aminophylline
or theophylline), calcium channel blockers, clonidine, guanabenz,
halothane, allergy shots, insulin, MAO inhibitors, reserpine,
or other beta-blockers.
Atenolol should be used with caution in people
with diabetes, especially insulin-dependent diabetes, since
the drug may mask symptoms of hypoglycemia. Consult your doctor
for specific advice if you have allergies or asthma, heart
or blood vessel disease (including heart failure and peripheral
vascular disease), irregular (slow) heartbeat, hyperthyroidism,
myasthenia gravis, psoriasis, respiratory problems such as
bronchitis or emphysema, kidney or liver disease, or a history
of mental depression.
From The Johns
Hopkins Consumer Guide to Drugs. You can order
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