Drug treatments: Beta blockers
St. Luke's Hospital
Main Number: 314-434-1500 Emergency Dept: 314-205-6990 Patient Billing: 888-924-9200
Find a Physician Payment Options Locations & Directions
Follow us on: facebook twitter Mobile Email Page Email Page Print Page Print Page Increase Font Size Decrease Font Size Font Size
America's 50 Best Hospitals
Meet the Doctor
Spirit of Women
Community Health Needs Assessment
Home > Health Information

Men's Center

Drug treatments: Beta blockers

Beta blockers:

  • Slow the heart rate
  • Ease the workload of the heart
  • Reduce blood pressure
  • Reduce deaths from heart disease

Many beta blockers are now available, including:

  • Propranolol (Inderal)
  • Acebutolol (Sectral)
  • Atenolol (Tenormin)
  • Betaxolol (Kerlone)
  • Carteolol (Cartrol)
  • Metoprolol (Lopressor/Toprol XL)
  • Nadolol (Corgard)
  • Penbutolol (Levatol)
  • Pindolol (Visken)
  • Carvedilol (Coreg)
  • Timolol (Blocadren)
  • Labetalol (Normodyne)
  • Nebivolol (Bystolic)

The drugs may differ in their effects and benefits.

Problems with beta blockers

On the downside, studies suggest an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes in people who take beta blockers. Also, people who already have diabetes should use caution taking beta blockers with other high blood pressure medications. This is because beta blockers may mask the symptoms of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), which can be dangerous.

Because beta blockers can narrow bronchial airways, patients with asthma, emphysema, and chronic bronchitis should be cautious when taking beta blockers and should watch for signs of increased wheezing or shortness of breath. Some beta blockers tend to lower HDL cholesterol (the "good" cholesterol).

In general, the benefits of beta blocker therapy usually outweigh the side effects.

Side effects

Possible side effects include:

  • Fatigue and lethargy
  • Sexual dysfunction/erectile dysfunction
  • Insomnia
  • Vivid dreams and nightmares
  • Depression
  • Memory loss
  • Confusion -- especially in the elderly
  • Dizziness and light-headedness upon standing
  • Lessened capacity for exercise
  • Cold hands, fingers, feet, toes
  • Decreased heart function
  • Stomach and digestive problems -- diarrhea or constipation
  • Asthma, emphysema, and bronchitis can be aggravated

If side effects occur, the patient should call a physician, but it is extremely important not to stop the drug abruptly. Angina, heart attack, and even sudden death have occurred in patients who discontinued treatment without gradual withdrawal.

 


Review Date: 6/8/2011
Reviewed By: Steven Kang, MD, Division of Cardiac Pacing and Electrophysiology, East Bay Arrhythmia, Cardiovascular Consultants Medical Group, Oakland, CA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
adam.com


Back  |  Top
About Us
Contact Us
History
Mission
Locations & Directions
Quality Reports
Annual Reports
Honors & Awards
Community Health Needs
Assessment

Newsroom
Services
Brain & Spine
Cancer
Heart
Maternity
Orthopedics
Pulmonary
Sleep Medicine
Urgent Care
Women's Services
All Services
Patients & Visitors
Locations & Directions
Find a Physician
Tour St. Luke's
Patient & Visitor Information
Contact Us
Payment Options
Financial Assistance
Send a Card
Mammogram Appointments
Health Tools
My Personal Health
mystlukes
Spirit of Women
Health Information & Tools
Clinical Trials
Health Risk Assessments
Employer Programs -
Passport to Wellness

Classes & Events
Classes & Events
Spirit of Women
Donate & Volunteer
Giving Opportunities
Volunteer
Physicians & Employees
For Physicians
Remote Access
Medical Residency Information
Pharmacy Residency Information
Physician CPOE Training
Careers
Careers
St. Luke's Hospital - 232 South Woods Mill Road - Chesterfield, MO 63017 Main Number: 314-434-1500 Emergency Dept: 314-205-6990 Patient Billing: 888-924-9200
Copyright © St. Luke's Hospital Website Terms and Conditions  |  Privacy Policy  |  Patient Notice of Privacy Policies PDF Sitemap St. Luke's Mobile