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Atenolol is a treatment for high blood pressure (hypertension) and angina. It can also prevent or treat a heart attack. Atenolol belongs to a category of medicines called beta-blockers. These reduce the heart’s workload, preventing problems that occur due to over-activity. The most popular beta-blocker used to be propranolol, however, atenolol took its place because it is more specific and does not have the same side effects on the nervous system.
High blood pressure, or hypertension, is very common. It does not usually show noticeable symptoms. However, if left untreated, it can lead to complications with your heart, kidneys, brain and other organs. This will increase your risk of problems, such as heart disease, heart attack, stroke and kidney failure. Atenolol will not completely cure high blood pressure or angina, but it will keep it under control. Atenolol usually takes one or two weeks to take full effect. It is important that you continue taking Atenolol until your doctor advises that you stop, even if you feel healthy.
You will be more able to control your blood pressure if you make certain lifestyle changes alongside taking medication. There are a number of ways that you can reduce the stress on your heart: reduce the fat and salt in your diet, exercise regularly, stop smoking and cut down on drinking.
Atenolol was formerly sold in the UK under the branded name Tenormin. When a medicine is first introduced onto the market it is given a licence or patent. Only that manufacturer can produce it. When the patent expires, other companies can produce the treatment as well, usually leading to a dramatic drop in the price, due to increased competition. Generic treatments are still produced by licensed manufacturers and must conform to the same strict manufacturing standards that the branded medicines meet. Atenolol and Tenormin are chemically identical.
This treatment may make it more difficult for diabetic patients to control levels of blood sugar. It may also hide some of the signals of low blood sugar levels by preventing the heart from speeding up. Take care using beta-blockers, and talk to your doctor – they may recommend small changes to your treatment or lifestyle.
It is not advised to take a beta-blocker alongside other heart medication, such as a calcium channel blocker, as the combined strength may cause further complications.
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Your recommended dose of Atenolol will vary depending on the type and severity of your condition, among other factors, so always follow your prescription exactly. If your kidneys are impaired for any reason, your dose will likely be reduced.
For high blood pressure, you will likely be prescribed one 50mg tablet per day. For angina, the initial dose will be 50mg or 100mg per day.
Swallow the tablet whole with a sip of water.
There is evidence that apple and orange juice may reduce the extent to which the body can absorb Atenolol. So, avoid these juices for four hours after taking Atenolol. Other citrus fruits tend not to affect these tablets, though they are known to interact with other medicines.
Not everyone will experience side effects when they take Atenolol, however, if you do they can include:
Slow heartbeat, aches, nausea, reduced circulation to extremities, digestive problems (including stomach pain, heartburn, diarrhoea or constipation).
If you are concerned about these effects, or if the product affects you in any other way, stop using it and talk to your doctor or pharmacist.
Reading the following warnings carefully will help to ensure you are selecting an appropriate product.
Atenolol is unsuitable for you if you have:
Inform your GP or pharmacist if you:
Tell your GP or pharmacist if you have taken or plan to take any of the following medicines:
Please read all packaging and the Patient Information Leaflet before taking any new medicine and inform your doctor of medicines you are taking or intend to take.
The active ingredient in Atenolol tablets is atenolol.
Atenolol tablets also contain the following inactive ingredients to make up the complete product:
Calcium hydrogen phosphate dehydrate, silica colloidal anhydrous, magnesium stearate, maize starch, crospovidone, propylene glycol, sodium laurylsulfate, hydrogenated vegetable oil, titanium dioxide (E171), cellulose microcrystalline (E460), hypromellose 5cP (E464), purified talc (E553)
Atenolol belongs to a category of medicines called beta-blockers. These reduce the heart’s workload, preventing problems that occur due to over-activity. Once the beta receptors in the heart are blocked, the heart will slow down to a healthier pace. Atenolol is used to treat angina and high blood pressure, and to prevent heart attacks.
It does not matter when in the day you take atenolol, as long as you are consistent. Some patients find that atenolol makes them slightly drowsy, and so choose to take it before bed.
If you have cold hands or feet, this may be an indication of a serious but uncommon side effect of atenolol. If you notice this, contact your doctor or pharmacist straight away.
Some male patients who are prescribed atenolol do notice side effects such as impotence, reduced libido or problems reaching orgasm. Talk to your GP if you notice these symptoms. These side effects can be very frustrating, but it is important that you do not reduce your dose or stop the treatment before seeking medical advice.
Some medicines are known to interact with grapefruit in a potentially dangerous way. However, atenolol has not been shown to have this interaction. Check with your GP or pharmacist in case any of your other medicines do interact with citrus.
Atenolol does not interfere with the thyroid or cause fluid retention, and so should not cause weight gain. This does not mean that weight gain is not possible. Consult your GP if you notice a change in metabolism or weight, especially if you experience swelling in the limbs or extremities.
Atenolol will control your overall blood pressure level, but some spikes in blood pressure may still occur.
Some of the potential side effects of atenolol affect the skin, including rash, hives, dandruff and hair loss. It may also cause pre-existing conditions such as psoriasis to worsen.
Drowsiness is one of the listed potential side effects of atenolol. If you are concerned that this treatment will make you feel too tired, consider taking it at night.
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