Generic Name: atenolol (a-TEN-oh-lol)
Following abrupt cessation of certain beta-blocking agents, exacerbations of angina pectoris and, in some cases, myocardial infarction and ventricular arrhythmias have occurred. As with other beta blockers, when discontinuation of atenolol is planned, the patients should be carefully observed and advised to minimize physical activity. If the angina worsens or acute coronary insufficiency develops, promptly reinstitute atenolol, at least temporarily. Warn patients against interruption or discontinuation of therapy without advice of physician .
Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on Feb 21, 2021.
Commonly used brand name(s)
In the U.S.
Pharmacologic Class: Beta-Adrenergic Blocker, Cardioselective
Uses for atenolol
Atenolol injection is used to reduce the risk of death from an acute heart attack. It is given to people who have already had a heart attack .
Atenolol is a beta-blocker. It works by affecting the response to nerve impulses in certain parts of the body, like the heart. As a result, the heart beats slower and decreases the blood pressure. When the blood pressure is lowered, the amount of blood and oxygen is increased to the heart .
Atenolol is available only with your doctor's prescription .
Before using atenolol
In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of taking the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For atenolol, the following should be considered:
Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to atenolol or any other medicines. Also tell your health care professional if you have any other types of allergies, such as to foods, dyes, preservatives, or animals. For non-prescription products, read the label or package ingredients carefully.
Appropriate studies have not been performed on the relationship of age to the effects of atenolol injection in the pediatric population. Safety and efficacy have not been established .
Appropriate studies performed to date have not demonstrated geriatrics-specific problems that would limit the usefulness of atenolol injection in the elderly. However, elderly patients are more likely to have age-related liver, kidney, or heart disease, which may require caution and an adjustment of dosage in patients receiving atenolol injection .
There are no adequate studies in women for determining infant risk when using this medication during breastfeeding. Weigh the potential benefits against the potential risks before taking this medication while breastfeeding.
Interactions with medicines
Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. When you are receiving atenolol, it is especially important that your healthcare professional know if you are taking any of the medicines listed below. The following interactions have been selected on the basis of their potential significance and are not necessarily all-inclusive.
Using atenolol with any of the following medicines is usually not recommended, but may be required in some cases. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.
Using atenolol with any of the following medicines may cause an increased risk of certain side effects, but using both drugs may be the best treatment for you. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.
- Amtolmetin Guacil
- Choline Salicylate
- Flufenamic Acid
- Insulin Aspart, Recombinant
- Insulin Degludec
- Insulin Detemir
- Insulin Glargine, Recombinant
- Insulin Glulisine
- Insulin Human Inhaled
- Insulin Human Isophane (NPH)
- Insulin Human Regular
- Insulin Lispro, Recombinant
- Mefenamic Acid
- Niflumic Acid
- Nimesulide Beta Cyclodextrin
- Salicylic Acid
- Sodium Salicylate
- St John's Wort
- Tiaprofenic Acid
- Tolfenamic Acid
Interactions with food/tobacco/alcohol
Certain medicines should not be used at or around the time of eating food or eating certain types of food since interactions may occur. Using alcohol or tobacco with certain medicines may also cause interactions to occur. Discuss with your healthcare professional the use of your medicine with food, alcohol, or tobacco.
Other medical problems
The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of atenolol. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:
- Bradycardia (slow heartbeat) or
- Heart block or
- Heart failure or
- Pheochromocytoma (adrenal gland tumor), untreated—Should not use in patients with these conditions .
- Diabetes or
- Hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid) or
- Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)—May cover up some of the signs and symptoms of these diseases, such as a fast heartbeat .
- Kidney disease—Use with caution. The effects may be increased because of slower removal from the body .
- Lung disease (e.g., asthma, bronchitis, emphysema)—May cause difficulty with breathing in patients with this condition .
Proper use of atenolol
A nurse or other trained health professional will give you atenolol. Atenolol is given through a needle placed in one of your veins .
Precautions while using atenolol
Your doctor will only give you a few doses of atenolol, and then you will be switched to an oral medicine that works the same way. If you have any concerns about this, talk to your doctor .
Atenolol side effects
Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.
Check with your doctor or nurse immediately if any of the following side effects occur:
- Blurred vision
- chest pain or discomfort
- dizziness, faintness, or lightheadedness when getting up from a lying or sitting position suddenly
- shortness of breath
- slow or irregular heartbeat
- unusual tiredness or weakness
- difficulty breathing
- dizziness or lightheadedness
- fast heartbeat
- noisy breathing
- sudden shortness of breath or troubled breathing
- tightness in chest
- Bloody urine
- decreased frequency or amount of urine
- increased blood pressure
- increased thirst
- loss of appetite
- lower back or side pain
- swelling of face, fingers, or lower legs
- weight gain
Incidence not determined
- Black, tarry stools
- bleeding gums
- blood in urine or stools
- bone or joint pain
- disturbed color perception
- double vision
- feeling that others are watching you or controlling your behavior
- feeling that others can hear your thoughts
- feeling, seeing, or hearing things that are not there
- halos around lights
- loss of vision
- night blindness
- overbright appearance of lights
- paleness or cold feeling in fingertips and toes
- pinpoint red or purple spots on skin
- severe mood or mental changes
- skin irritation or rash, including rash that looks like psoriasis
- skin rash, hives, or itching
- sore throat
- swollen or painful glands
- tingling or pain in fingers or toes when exposed to cold
- tunnel vision
- unusual behavior
- unusual bleeding or bruising
Get emergency help immediately if any of the following symptoms of overdose occur:
Symptoms of overdose
- cool, pale skin
- dilated neck veins
- extreme fatigue
- increased hunger
- irregular breathing
- slurred speech
- unusual drowsiness, dullness, tiredness, weakness, or feeling of sluggishness
Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:
Incidence not determined
- Decreased interest in sexual intercourse
- dry mouth
- inability to have or keep an erection
- loss in sexual ability, desire, drive, or performance
- loss of hair, temporary
- pain of penis on erection
Other side effects not listed may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your healthcare professional.
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
Frequently asked questions
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