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

What is atenolol?

Atenolol is a beta-blocker that affects the heart and circulation (blood flow through arteries and veins).

Atenolol is used to treat angina (chest pain) and hypertension (high blood pressure). Atenolol is also used to lower the risk of death after a heart attack.

Atenolol may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

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

You should not use this medicine if you have a serious heart condition such as "AV block," very slow heartbeats, or heart failure.

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

You should not use atenolol if you are allergic to it, or if you have:

  • a serious heart condition such as "AV block" (second or third degree);

  • very slow heartbeats; or

  • heart failure.

To make sure atenolol is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:

  • congestive heart failure;

  • coronary artery disease (hardened arteries);

  • asthma, bronchitis, emphysema;

  • diabetes;

  • overactive thyroid;

  • liver or kidney disease;

  • pheochromocytoma (tumor of the adrenal gland);

  • peripheral vascular disease such as Raynaud's syndrome; or

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

Using atenolol during pregnancy could harm the unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or if you become pregnant while using this medicine.

Atenolol can pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. Tell your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

Atenolol is not approved for use by anyone younger than 18 years old.

How should I take atenolol?

Follow all directions on your prescription label. Your doctor may occasionally change your dose to make sure you get the best results. Do not use this medicine in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.

Your blood pressure will need to be checked often.

If you need surgery, tell the surgeon ahead of time that you are using atenolol. You may need to stop using the medicine for a short time.

It may take up to 2 weeks before you get the full effect of atenolol. Keep using the medication as directed and tell your doctor if your symptoms do not improve.

You should not stop taking atenolol suddenly. Stopping suddenly may make your condition worse.

If you are being treated for high blood pressure: Keep using this medicine even if you feel well. High blood pressure often has no symptoms. You may need to use blood pressure medicine for the rest of your life.

Your condition may need to be treated with a combination of drugs. Use all medications as directed by your doctor. Read the medication guide or patient instructions provided with each medication. Do not change your doses or medication schedule without your doctor's advice.

Store at room temperature away from moisture, heat, and light. Keep the bottle tightly closed when not in use.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.

Overdose symptoms may include extreme weakness or lack of energy, very slow heart rate, shortness of breath, or fainting.

What should I avoid while taking atenolol?

Follow your doctor's instructions about any restrictions on food, beverages, or activity.

Atenolol side effects

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

Call your doctor at once if you have:

  • new or worsening chest pain;

  • slow or uneven heartbeats;

  • a light-headed feeling, like you might pass out;

  • shortness of breath (even with mild exertion), swelling, rapid weight gain; or

  • a cold feeling in your hands and feet.

Common side effects may include:

  • dizziness;

  • feeling tired; or

  • depressed mood.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

See also: Side effects (in more detail)

What other drugs will affect atenolol?

Tell your doctor about all your current medicines and any you start or stop using, especially:

  • digoxin, digitalis;

  • indomethacin;

  • any other beta-blocker--bisoprolol, carvedilol, labetalol, metoprolol, nebivolol, propranolol, sotalol, timolol, and others; or

  • heart or blood pressure medication--amiodarone, clonidine, diltiazem, disopyramide, nicardipine, nifedipine, reserpine, verapamil, and others.

This list is not complete. Other drugs may interact with atenolol, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible interactions are listed in this medication guide.

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: 9.01.

Date modified: October 14, 2016
Last reviewed: June 11, 2012