Atenolol is used alone or in combination with other medications to treat hypertension. It is also used to prevent angina pectoris (chest pain) and for the treatment of heart attacks. Atenolol belongs to a class of medications called β-blockers. It works by relaxing blood vessels and decreasing heart rate to improve blood flow and lower blood pressure.
High blood pressure is a common condition and when left untreated, it can cause damage to the brain, heart, blood vessels, kidneys and other parts of the body. Damage to these organs can cause heart disease, heart attack, heart failure, stroke, kidney failure, loss of vision and other problems. In addition to taking medications, making lifestyle changes also helps greatly in controlling blood pressure. These changes include eating a diet that is low in fat and salt, maintaining a healthy weight, exercising at least 30 minutes almost every day, not smoking and consuming alcohol in moderation.
Atenolol is also used to prevent migraines and to treat alcohol withdrawal, among other indications.
Before you start taking atenolol:
- Communicate to your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to atenolol, any other medications or any of the ingredients in atenolol tablets. Ask your pharmacist for a list of the ingredients.
- Tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and non-prescription medications you are taking, such as vitamins, nutritional supplements and herbal products. Be sure to mention the following: calcium channel blockers such as diltiazem (Cardizem, Cartia XT, Dilacor XR, Tiazac, others) and verapamil (Calan, Covera-HS, Verelan, en Tarka); clonidine (Catapres, Kapvay, in Clorpres); anti-inflammatory drugs without steroids (MANE) such as indomethacin (Indocin, Tivorbex) and reserpine. Physicians may change the dose of the medication or monitor carefully the patient to prevent the development of and complications related to side effects.
- Tell your doctor if you have or have ever had asthma or other lung diseases; diabetes; severe allergies; hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid gland); pheochromocytoma (a tumor that develops in a gland near the kidneys and that can cause high blood pressure and rapid heartbeat); heart failure; slow heart rate; circulation problems; or heart or kidney diseases.
- Communicate to your doctor if you are pregnant, have plans to get pregnant, or if you are breast-feeding. If you become pregnant while taking this medication, call your doctor immediately.
- If you are having surgery, including dental surgery, tell the doctor or dentist that you are taking atenolol.
- If you have allergies to different substances, your reactions may get worse while you are taking this medication, and you will not respond to the usual doses of injectable epinephrine.
The most frequent side effects are: dizziness, nausea, tiredness, drowsiness (sleep), depression, upset stomach, diarrhea.
Other less frequent but more serious side effects can be: dyspnea (shortness of breath), swelling of the hands, feet, ankles or legs, weight gain, fainting.
An overdose of atenolol can cause the following symptoms, the dose of atenolol should be efficiently regulated: lack of energy, difficulty breathing (breathing with unusual whistling), slow heart rate, swelling of hands, feet, ankles or legs, unusual weight gain, tremors, faster than normal heart rate, perspiration or confusion, blurred vision, headache, numbness or tingling of the mouth, weakness, excessive tiredness, paleness, sudden hunger.
- Tenoretic® (contiene atenolol y clotalidona)