Skip to Content

What are the side effects of beta blockers?

Answers (1)

Official Answer by Drugs.com 19 Sep 2018

Beta blockers are used to treat several different heart conditions and work by binding to specific beta receptors located mainly in the heart which slow heart rate and reduce how hard the heart contracts. This decreases blood pressure and improves tolerance to exercise.

Side effects vary among different beta blockers because some are more selective than others. This means that some only act on beta receptors in the heart (these are called cardioselective) whereas others also affect beta receptors located elsewhere, such as in the lungs (these are called nonselective). Some beta-blockers, such as atenolol, are only cardioselective at low dosages.

The most common side effects of beta-blockers are:

  • Cold hands and feet
  • Depression
  • Difficulty sleeping or strange dreams
  • Dizziness
  • Dry mouth, skin or eyes
  • Gastrointestinal effects (such as nausea, diarrhea, or constipation)
  • A headache
  • A slowing of your heartbeat
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sexual dysfunction or low libido
  • Temporary increase in triglyceride levels and a decrease in HDL cholesterol (“good” cholesterol)
  • Tiredness or fatigue
  • Weight gain.

Some side effects, such as a headache or dizziness, are more likely when you first start taking beta blockers. Others, such as shortness of breath, are more common with nonselective beta-blockers. Beta-blockers may also lower blood sugar levels and should be used with caution in people with diabetes because they can mask the symptoms of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar levels).

Talk to your doctor immediately if you develop any serious side effects such as anxiety, a very slow or irregular heartbeat, difficulty breathing or wheezing, or significant fluid retention or swelling.

See here for more information about beta-blockers.

Drugs.com free discount card

Search for questions

Still looking for answers? Try searching for what you seek or ask your own question.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Dsuvia REMS program?

Updated 17 hours ago 1 answerFAQ by Drugs.com

What type of drug is Lorbrena?

Updated 17 hours ago 1 answerFAQ by Drugs.com

What is the difference between Udenyca and Neulasta?

Updated 17 hours ago 1 answerFAQ by Drugs.com

How is the new Primatene Mist different to the old formulation?

Updated 16 hours ago 1 answerFAQ by Drugs.com

How do you use Yupelri inhalation solution?

Updated 16 hours ago 1 answerFAQ by Drugs.com