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  • Beta blocker
  • Slows the heart
  • Reduces blood pressure
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Atenolol is a medication that is commonly prescribed to treat high blood pressure and heart disease. It is sometimes prescribed after a heart attack to alleviate the strain on the heart, helping to protect it from further damage. Atenolol is sometimes also prescribed to treat tremors and migraines.

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    • Atenolol is a beta blocker medication
    • Atenolol blocks the effect of adrenaline on the body, reducing the heart rate and lowering the blood pressure
    • When the heart is under strain or has undergone damage, atenolol protects the heart and blood vessels from further disease
    • Atenolol is sometimes used to treat other conditions including benign essential tremor and migraine
    • Atenolol can occasionally cause side effects including tiredness, a slow heartbeat that may make you feel sluggish, having a stomach upset or noticing that your hands and feet are cold
    • It is important to read the patient leaflet for a full list of side effects and cautions.

    Atenolol is a beta blocker medication. It blocks the action of beta-adrenoceptors in the body, including in the heart and blood vessels. This helps to lower the blood pressure and slows the heart rate down. Both of these actions reduce the strain on the heart.

    When the strain on the heart is reduced, the risk of damage to the heart and blood vessels is reduced. This may help to protect against heart disease including chest pain from angina and heart attacks. 

    Because atenolol slows and steadies the heart rate, it is also a useful treatment for an irregular heartbeat. 

    Atenolol is also occasionally prescribed to reduce the frequency of migraines, and can also be prescribed to treat benign essential tremor.

    Atenolol is available as a tablet. It should be swallowed with water, and can be taken with or without food.

    It is best to take atenolol at the same time every day, as this makes it easier to remember to take it.

    Atenolol is available in three different strengths. Tablets are available in doses of 25mg, 50mg and 100mg. Your prescriber will advise which strength to start taking, depending on your symptoms and your past medical history. 

    Your dose may go up or down depending on your response to the treatment, and any side effects you experience.

    Like all medications, atenolol can have some side effects. The most common side effects include:

    • Nausea or vomiting (feeling sick or being sick)
    • Stomach upset or constipation
    • Noticing a slow heartbeat
    • Feeling dizzy, light-headed, or tired
    • Noticing that your fingers or toes are cold 
    • Sweating more than usual
    • Changes to your sleep pattern.

    These side effects are likely to settle down, but if they persist or become troublesome you should speak to your doctor for further advice.

    If you have a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) including breathlessness, lip or tongue swelling, call 999 immediately.

    Atenolol may not be suitable for everyone. You should tell your doctor if you:

    • Have asthma or another condition that affects your breathing
    • Have low blood pressure
    • Have a slow heartbeat or heart block
    • Have problems with your circulation
    • Have kidney disease
    • Have diabetes
    • Have psoriasis
    • Have myasthenia gravis (a type of muscle weakness)
    • Have Prinzmetal’s angina
    • Are pregnant, trying to conceive, or breastfeeding.

    Some medications can interact with atenolol. You may be advised that atenolol will not suit you if you already take:

    • Another blood pressure or heart rate medication including verapamil, amiodarone, nifedipine and diltiazem
    • Clonidine
    • Quinidine
    • Medications for diabetes including insulin, as atenolol can affect blood sugar levels
    • A monoaminoxidase inhibitor
    • Baclofen.

    If you have a general anaesthetic, you must let your doctor and anaesthetist know that you take atenolol.

    Because atenolol may not suit everyone, we will complete a Consultation with you including a health questionnaire. This will ensure that the medication will be suitable for you.

    A qualified prescriber will review your current medications, including any herbal remedies or supplements, to ensure that atenolol will not interact with them. 

    Once prescribed, atenolol will be ordered on your behalf via electronic prescription, allowing you to pick the medication up at your convenience.

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