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atenolol

Pronunciation

Generic Name: atenolol (ah TEN oh lol)
Brand Name: Tenormin

What is atenolol?

Atenolol is in a group of drugs called beta-blockers. Beta-blockers affect the heart and circulation (blood flow through arteries and veins).

Atenolol is used to treat angina (chest pain) and hypertension (high blood pressure). It is also used to treat or prevent heart attack.

Atenolol may also be used for purposes other than those listed in this medication guide.

What is the most important information I should know about atenolol?

Do not stop taking atenolol without first talking to your doctor. Stopping suddenly may make your condition worse.

If you need to have any type of surgery, you may need to temporarily stop using atenolol. Be sure the surgeon knows ahead of time that you are using atenolol.

Atenolol can cause side effects that may impair your thinking or reactions. Be careful if you drive or do anything that requires you to be awake and alert.

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Avoid drinking alcohol, which could increase drowsiness and dizziness while you are taking atenolol.

Atenolol is only part of a complete program of treatment for hypertension that may also include diet, exercise, and weight control. Follow your diet, medication, and exercise routines very closely if you are being treated for hypertension.

If you are being treated for high blood pressure, keep using this medication even if you feel fine. High blood pressure often has no symptoms. You may need to use blood pressure medication for the rest of your life.

Store atenolol at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking atenolol?

You should not use this medication if you are allergic to atenolol, or if you have certain heart conditions such as slow heartbeats, or heart block.

Before taking atenolol, tell your doctor if you have:

  • asthma, bronchitis, emphysema;

  • diabetes;

  • low blood pressure;

  • a heart problem such as heart block, sick sinus syndrome, slow heart rate, or congestive heart failure;

  • depression;

  • liver or kidney disease;

  • a thyroid disorder;

  • myasthenia gravis;

  • pheochromocytoma; or

  • problems with circulation (such as Raynaud's syndrome).

If you have any of these conditions, you may need a dose adjustment or special tests to safely take this medication.

FDA pregnancy category D. This medication can cause harm to an unborn baby. Do not use atenolol if you are pregnant. Tell your doctor if you become pregnant during treatment. Use an effective form of birth control while you are using this medication.

Atenolol can pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. Do not use this medication without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

How should I take atenolol?

Take atenolol exactly as it was prescribed for you. Do not take the medication in larger amounts or for longer than recommended by your doctor. Follow the directions on your prescription label.

Take this medication with a full glass of water.

Take atenolol at the same time every day.

Do not skip doses or stop taking atenolol without first talking to your doctor. Stopping suddenly may make your condition worse.

To be sure this medication is helping your condition, your blood pressure will need to be checked on a regular basis. Do not miss any visits to your doctor.

If you need to have any type of surgery, tell the surgeon that you are using atenolol. You may need to briefly stop using atenolol before having surgery.

Atenolol is only part of a complete program of treatment for hypertension that may also include diet, exercise, and weight control. Follow your diet, medication, and exercise routines very closely if you are being treated for hypertension.

If you are being treated for high blood pressure, keep using this medication even if you feel fine. High blood pressure often has no symptoms. You may need to use blood pressure medication for the rest of your life.

Store atenolol at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. If your next dose is less than 8 hours away, skip the missed dose and take the medicine at the next regularly scheduled time. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention if you think you have used too much of this medicine.

Overdose symptoms may include uneven heartbeats, shortness of breath, bluish-colored fingernails, dizziness, weakness, fainting, or seizure (convulsions).

What should I avoid while taking atenolol?

Atenolol can cause side effects that may impair your thinking or reactions. Be careful if you drive or do anything that requires you to be awake and alert.

Avoid drinking alcohol, which could increase drowsiness and dizziness while you are taking atenolol.

Atenolol side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Call your doctor at once if you have any of these serious side effects:

  • slow or uneven heartbeats;

  • feeling light-headed, fainting;

  • feeling short of breath, even with mild exertion;

  • swelling of your ankles or feet;

  • nausea, stomach pain, low fever, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes);

  • depression; or

  • cold feeling in your hands and feet.

Less serious side effects may include:

  • decreased sex drive, impotence, or difficulty having an orgasm;

  • sleep problems (insomnia);

  • tired feeling; or

  • anxiety, nervousness.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Tell your doctor about any unusual or bothersome side effect. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

See also: Side effects (in more detail)

Atenolol dosing information

Usual Adult Dose for Hypertension:

Initial dose: 50 mg orally once a day. The full effect of this dose will usually be seen within 1 to 2 weeks. If an optimal response is not achieved, the dosage should be increased to 100 mg orally once a day.

Usual Adult Dose for Angina Pectoris Prophylaxis:

Initial dose: 50 mg orally once a day. If an optimal response is not achieved within one week, the dosage should be increased to 100 mg orally once a day. Some patients may require a dosage of 200 mg once a day for optimal effect.

Twenty-four hour control with once daily dosing is achieved by giving doses larger than necessary to achieve an immediate maximum effect. The maximum early effect on exercise tolerance occurs with doses of 50 to 100 mg, but at these doses the effect at 24 hours is attenuated, averaging about 50% to 75% of that observed with once a day oral doses of 200 mg.

Usual Adult Dose for Angina Pectoris:

Initial dose: 50 mg orally once a day. If an optimal response is not achieved within one week, the dosage should be increased to 100 mg orally once a day. Some patients may require a dosage of 200 mg once a day for optimal effect.

Twenty-four hour control with once daily dosing is achieved by giving doses larger than necessary to achieve an immediate maximum effect. The maximum early effect on exercise tolerance occurs with doses of 50 to 100 mg, but at these doses the effect at 24 hours is attenuated, averaging about 50% to 75% of that observed with once a day oral doses of 200 mg.

Usual Adult Dose for Myocardial Infarction:

IV: 5 mg over 5 minutes followed by another 5 mg injection 10 minutes later.
Oral: In patients who tolerate the full IV dose (10 mg), atenolol tablets 50 mg should be initiated 10 minutes after the last IV dose followed by another 50 mg dose 12 hours later. Thereafter, either 100 mg once a day or 50 mg twice a day for 6 to 9 days.

Usual Adult Dose for Anxiety:

Initial dose: 50 mg orally once a day.
Maintenance dose: In most cases data have shown no benefit and an increased risk of fatigue with daily doses greater than 100 mg.

Usual Adult Dose for Esophageal Variceal Hemorrhage Prophylaxis:

Initial dose: 50 mg orally once a day.
Maintenance dose: In most cases data have shown no benefit and an increased risk of fatigue with daily doses greater than 100 mg.

Usual Adult Dose for Migraine Prophylaxis:

Initial dose: 50 mg orally once a day.
Maintenance dose: In most cases data have shown no benefit and an increased risk of fatigue with daily doses greater than 100 mg.

Usual Adult Dose for Alcohol Withdrawal:

Initial dose: 50 mg orally once a day.
Maintenance dose: Initial oral doses may be titrated upward as needed and tolerated approximately every 7 days. The maximum recommended daily dose is 200 mg.

Usual Adult Dose for Supraventricular Tachycardia:

Initial dose: 50 mg orally once a day.
Maintenance dose: Initial oral doses may be titrated upward as needed and tolerated approximately every 7 days. The maximum recommended daily dose is 200 mg.

Usual Adult Dose for Ventricular Tachycardia:

Initial dose: 50 mg orally once a day.
Maintenance dose: Initial oral doses may be titrated upward as needed and tolerated approximately every 7 days. The maximum recommended daily dose is 200 mg.

What other drugs will affect atenolol?

Before taking atenolol, tell your doctor if you are using:

  • allergy treatments (or if you are undergoing allergy skin-testing);

  • amiodarone (Cordarone, Pacerone);

  • clonidine (Catapres);

  • digoxin (digitalis, Lanoxin);

  • disopyramide (Norpace);

  • guanabenz (Wytensin);

  • an MAO inhibitor such as isocarboxazid (Marplan), tranylcypromine (Parnate), phenelzine (Nardil), or selegiline (Eldepryl, Emsam);

  • a diabetes medication such as insulin, glyburide (Diabeta, Micronase, Glynase), glipizide (Glucotrol), chlorpropamide (Diabinese), or metformin (Glucophage);

  • a heart medication such as nifedipine (Procardia, Adalat), reserpine (Serpasil), verapamil (Calan, Verelan, Isoptin), diltiazem (Cartia, Cardizem);

  • medicine for asthma or other breathing disorders, such as albuterol (Ventolin, Proventil), bitolterol (Tornalate), metaproterenol (Alupent), pirbuterol (Maxair), terbutaline (Brethaire, Brethine, Bricanyl), and theophylline (Theo-Dur, Theolair); or

  • cold medicines, stimulant medicines, or diet pills.

This list is not complete and there may be other drugs that can interact with atenolol. Tell your doctor about all the prescription and over-the-counter medications you use. This includes vitamins, minerals, herbal products, and drugs prescribed by other doctors. Do not start using a new medication without telling your doctor.

Where can I get more information?

  • Your pharmacist can provide more information about atenolol.
  • Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.
  • Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ('Multum') is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum's drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.

Copyright 1996-2012 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 8.04. Revision Date: 2010-12-15, 5:01:39 PM.

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