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Table of Contents > Drugs >  Atenolol
Brand Names
Foreign Brand Names
Therapeutic Categories
Reasons not to take this medicine
What is this medicine used for?
How does it work?
How is it best taken?
What do I do if I miss a dose?
What are the precautions when taking this medicine?
What are the common side effects of this medicine?
What should I monitor?
Reasons to call healthcare provider immediately
How should I store this medicine?
General statements

(a TEN oh lole)

Brand Names

Foreign Brand Names
Apo-Atenol® (Canada); Novo-Atenol (Canada); Nu-Atenol (Canada); Taro-Atenol® (Canada)

Therapeutic Categories
Beta Blocker, Beta1 Selective

Reasons not to take this medicine

  • If you have an allergy to another beta-blocking agent, atenolol, or any other part of the medicine.
  • If you have any of the following conditions: Weakened heart (congestive heart failure) whose symptoms are poorly controlled, slow heart rate (bradycardia) without a working pacemaker.
  • If you are more than 12 weeks pregnant.

What is this medicine used for?

  • This medicine is used to treat high blood pressure, chest pain, or pressure from the heart. This is called angina.
  • It prevents unusual heartbeats, called arrhythmias, and/or slows the heart rate (pulse) in patients with a fast one.
  • Other treatments include prevention of migraine headache, aggressive behavior, antipsychotic-induced akathisia, essential tremor, the prevention of rebleeding from esophageal varices in cirrhosis, and situational or performance anxiety.

How does it work?

  • Atenolol blocks chemicals such as adrenaline. It prevents them from increasing heart rate, blood pressure, and oxygen use. Atenolol slows the body down a bit.

How is it best taken?

  • Take with or without food. Take with food if this medicine causes an upset stomach.
  • Take at a similar time every day.
  • Do not take antacids or calcium supplements less than 2 hours before or 6 hours after this medicine.
  • Tablet can be crushed and mixed with food or liquid.
  • Do not suddenly stop using this medicine if you have been taking it for a long time. Medicine should be slowly decreased.

What do I do if I miss a dose?

  • Take a missed dose as soon as possible.
  • If it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed one. Return to your regular schedule.
  • Do not take a double dose or extra doses.
  • Do not change dose or stop taking medicine without talking with healthcare provider. This could be dangerous.

What are the precautions when taking this medicine?

  • Check medicines with healthcare provider, especially with amiodarone, diltiazem, and verapamil.
  • Wear disease medical alert identification for heart disease.
  • It is dangerous to run out of this medication. Get it refilled today!
  • Avoid alcohol (includes wine, beer, and liquor) and other medicines and herbs that slow your actions and reactions. This includes sedatives, tranquilizers, mood stabilizers, or pain medicine. Talk with healthcare provider.
  • Use caution if you have a weakened heart. Can worsen symptoms. Talk with healthcare provider.
  • If you are diabetic, use caution when low blood sugars are seen. This medicine hides signs of low blood sugar except sweating. Talk with healthcare provider.
  • Use caution if you have lung disease. This includes asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or if you are using an inhaler like albuterol or ipratropium. Can cause wheezing or spasm in the lung.
  • Do not use over-the-counter products that increase blood pressure. These include cough or cold remedies, diet pills, stimulants, ibuprofen or like products, and certain herbs or supplements. Talk with healthcare provider.
  • Tell healthcare provider if you are allergic to any medicine. Make sure to tell about the allergy and how it affected you. This includes telling about rash; hives; itching; shortness of breath; wheezing; cough; swelling of face, lips, tongue, throat; or any other symptoms involved.
  • Do not use in pregnancy and do not get pregnant. Use birth control that you can trust while taking this medicine.
  • Tell healthcare provider if you are breast-feeding.

What are the common side effects of this medicine?

  • Feeling sleepy or lightheaded. Avoid driving, doing other tasks or activities that require you to be alert until you see how this medicine affects you.
  • Dizziness is common. Rise slowly over several minutes from sitting or lying position. Be careful climbing stairs.
  • Change in sexual ability or desire. This can return to normal after medicine is stopped. Talk with healthcare provider about other medicines without this side effect.
  • Slow heart rate (pulse) and/or low blood pressure. This may make you feel lightheaded, dizzy, weak, or tired.

What should I monitor?

  • Watch for swelling of legs or belly, shortness of breath, weight gain, exercise tolerance. If any of these worsen, talk with healthcare provider.
  • Report a 3-5 pound weight gain if you have heart failure.
  • Check blood pressure regularly.
  • Follow diet plan and exercise program as recommended by healthcare provider.

Reasons to call healthcare provider immediately

  • Signs of a life-threatening reaction. These include wheezing; tightness in the chest; fever; itching; bad cough; blue skin color; fits; swelling of face, lips, tongue, or throat.
  • Too tired or sleepy.
  • Passing out, fainting, dizziness, or lightheadedness.
  • Chest pains, fast heartbeats, shortness of breath, or decreased ability to walk.
  • Any rash.

How should I store this medicine?

  • Store in a tight, light-resistant container at room temperature.

General statements

  • Do not share your medicine with others and do not take anyone else's medicine.
  • Keep all medicine out of the reach of children and pets.
  • Keep a list of all your medicines (prescription, herbal/supplements, vitamins, over-the-counter) with you. Give this list to healthcare provider (doctor, nurse, pharmacist, physician assistant).
  • Talk with healthcare provider before starting any new medicine, including over-the-counter or natural products (herbs, vitamins).

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