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Side Effects
Serious

Depression, 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.
Common

Decreased 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.
Atenolol


Drug Class:
Beta-blocker

Available OTC?: No

Available Generic?: Yes

Generic 100 mg
(Mylan)
Available In
Why Prescribed
How It Works
Range and Frequency
Onset of Effect
Duration of Action
Dietary Advice
Storage
Missed Dose
Stopping the Drug
Prolonged Use
Over 60
Driving and Hazardous Work
Alcohol
Pregnancy
Breast Feeding
Infants and Children
Special Concerns
Overdose Symptoms
What to Do
Drug Interactions
Food Interactions
Disease Interactions



Available In
Tablets (Injection is for hospital use only.)

Why Prescribed
To treat mild to moderate high blood pressure and to treat angina; also used to prevent or control heartbeat irregularities (cardiac arrhythmias). The injectable form is used in hospitals to treat heart attack.

How It 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 to stabilize heart rhythm.

Range and Frequency
50 to 100 mg, once a day. Smaller doses may be recommended for elderly patients or for those with impaired kidney function.

Onset of Effect
Oral: One to two hours; the full therapeutic effect may take one to two weeks. Injectable: Within 10 minutes.

Duration of Action
Up to 24 hours.

Dietary Advice
Take atenolol on an empty stomach. Avoid alcohol and caffeine.

Storage
Store in a tightly sealed container away from heat and direct light.

Missed Dose
Take it as soon as you remember. If it is within four 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 two to three weeks is advised, under doctor's careful supervision.

Prolonged Use
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 careful moderation if at all. Alcohol may interact with the drug and cause a dangerous drop in blood pressure.

Pregnancy
Discuss 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 but one element of a comprehensive therapeutic program that includes weight control, smoking cessation, regular exercise, and a healthy low-salt, low-fat diet.

Overdose Symptoms
Slow heartbeat; severe dizziness, lightheadedness or fainting; rapid or irregular heartbeat; difficulty breathing; extreme weakness; seizures; confusion; coma.

What to Do
Call your doctor, emergency medical services (EMS), or the nearest poison control center immediately.

Drug Interactions
Consult your doctor if you are taking amphetamines, oral antidiabetic agents, asthma medication (such as aminophylline or theophylline), calcium channel blockers, clonidine, guanabenz, halothane, allergy shots, insulin, MAO inhibitors, reserpine, or other beta-blockers.

Food Interactions
None known.

Disease Interactions
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 congestive 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.

Date Published: 04/13/2005
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