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Side Effects
Serious

Mental 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 this drug 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; visual disturbances.
Atenolol/Chlorthalidone


Drug Class:
Beta-blocker/diuretic

Available OTC?: No

Available Generic?: Yes

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

Why Prescribed
To treat high blood pressure with or without concurrent angina.

How It Works
Atenolol slows the rate and force of contraction of the heart by blocking certain nerve impulses, thus reducing blood pressure. Chlorthalidone (a diuretic) increases the elimination of urine from the body. By reducing the overall fluid volume and excess sodium in the body, diuretics reduce blood volume and so reduce pressure within the blood vessels.

Range and Frequency
Initial dose is 1 tablet a day (each tablet contains 50 mg atenolol and 25 mg chlor-thalidone). The dose can be increased to 2 tablets a day.

Onset of Effect
Within one hour.

Duration of Action
Twenty-four hours.

Dietary Advice
This drug can be taken with or without food, as instructed by your doctor.

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

Missed Dose
If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember unless the next dose is less than eight hours away. In that case, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular schedule. Do not double the next dose.

Stopping the Drug
Suddenly stopping this drug may cause blood pressure to rise dangerously high, possibly triggering angina or heart attack in patients with advanced heart disease. Slow reduction of the dose over a period of two to three weeks is advised, under careful supervision by your doctor.

Prolonged Use
No special problems are expected, although prolonged use may increase the chance of side effects. Regular visits to your doctor are needed to evaluate the drug's ongoing, long-term effectiveness.

Over 60
Older persons with reduced kidney function may require a lower dosage.

Driving and Hazardous Work
Be cautious about any activity that requires acuity since this medication may cause drowsiness and impaired alertness.

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

Pregnancy
This drug may harm the developing child. Inform your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.

Breast Feeding
This drug passes into breast milk; avoid breast feeding while taking it.

Infants and Children
Not usually prescribed for infants or children.

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
Breathing difficulties, slow heartbeat, sluggishness, extremely low blood pressure.

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

Drug Interactions
Consult your doctor for specific advice 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 expected.

Disease Interactions
Atenolol/chlorthalidone should be used with caution in people with diabetes, especially insulin-dependent diabetes, since atenolol can mask the symptoms of hypoglycemia. Consult your doctor 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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