Atenolol brand name: Tenormin.
This medication is used to treat hypertension (high blood pressure) and angina (chest pain). It can also be used after a heart attack to improve recovery.
Atenolol classification is part of the drug family beta blockers. This means that it blocks the effects of certain natural substances, like epinephrine, on the heart, lowering the heart rate and blood pressure.
Because of the effect it has on stress hormones and the heart rate, some choose to use atenolol for anxiety. In a similar vein, some may also use atenolol for migraines, especially for those that are stress induced. However, these are off label uses, meaning that there have been studies that link atenolol to help with these conditions, but it has not been approved by the FDA for these uses.
Atenolol is not available over the counter and is a prescription medication only.
Note: It is not recommended to take atenolol during pregnancy. If you are currently pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding, speak to your healthcare provider about alternative treatment.
Typically, your healthcare provider will begin you on a starting dose of atenolol 25 mg per day. This can be taken with or without food. Your dose may increase based on your responsiveness to the medication. Atenolol has a max dose of 100 mg per day.
If you missed a dose of atenolol, take it as soon as you remember unless it is almost time for your next dose. In that case, skip that dose and take your next one at the regular time. Do not take a second dose to make up for the missed one as this could lead to an overdose.
Common Side Effects
These side effects usually only occur for a few days as the body adjust to the medication and are not serious. If you experience any of the following symptoms for a prolonged period or they begin to irritate you, speak to your healthcare provider or pharmacist:
- Cold feet/hands
Serious Side Effects
Although rare, these side effects could indicate a serious medical complication. Speak to your healthcare provider immediately if you experience:
- Shortness of breath
- Swelling of ankles/feet
- Sudden change in weight: atenolol side effect of weight gain or loss with no apparent reason may be a sign of heart failure.
- Slow heartrate
- Blue fingers and/or toes
- Mood changes
- Any symptoms of an allergic reaction (e.g., rash, itching, swelling of tongue, face, hands, and/or neck, trouble breathing)
Atenolol Withdrawal Symptoms
Do not suddenly stop taking atenolol as this causes your blood pressure to spike, increasing your risk for chest pain, irregular heartbeat, and even a heart attack. If you would like to discontinue atenolol for whatever reason, speak to your healthcare provider first.
There are several medications that may interact with atenolol and increase your risk of unwanted side effects or affect the efficacy of the medication. Be sure to speak to your healthcare provider about all your current medications and alert before you begin a new medication to avoid any interactions.
Atenolol and alcohol
Alcohol temporarily lowers blood pressure which when combined with medications that lower blood pressure may exacerbate dizziness and light-headedness. Frequent consumption of alcohol also raises blood pressure. If you decide to drink, be sure to stay below the recommended limit of 1 drink/day for women and 2 drinks/day for men.
Atenolol and coffee
Caffeine has been shown to reduce the efficacy of beta-blockers. It is advised to limit your coffee intake while on this medication and avoid excess caffeine.
Atenolol and juice
Apple juice and orange juice have also been shown to prevent the body from fully absorbing atenolol. It is advised to avoid drinking apple juice and orange juice within 4 hours of taking your medication to allow it to fully digest and absorb.
Currently atenolol 50 mg price averages at around $10.70 for 30 tablets. This can be as much as $26 at certain pharmacies.
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