Generic Name: atenolol
Brand Name: Tenormin, Tenoretic (a combination of atenolol and chlorthalidone)
Atenolol belongs to a group of medications known as beta blockers. These medications improve blood flow and lower blood pressure. Atenolol is often prescribed with other blood pressure-reducing medications, such as thiazide diuretics (FDA, 2011).
Read the FDA description of Atenolol.
Doctors prescribe atenolol to achieve one or more of the following effects: reduce a patient’s heart rate and cardiac output; reduce systolic and diastolic blood pressure (the top and bottom numbers of a blood pressure reading, respectively); and reduce orthostatic tachycardia, or the speed up of the heart rate when changing position from seated to standing or vice versa.
This information is a summary. Before starting this medication, discuss questions with your healthcare provider and make sure you understand dosage instructions.
Tell your doctor if you:
- have a heart block that is greater than first degree
- are breastfeeding
- are pregnant or could possibly be pregnant: atenolol can cross the placental barrier and cause fetal injury, including the birth of infants that are small for gestational age
- have asthma
- have cardiogenic shock
- have diabetes
- have hyperthyroidism
- have overt (symptomatic) cardiac failure: beta blockers like atenolol can depress the cardiac muscle’s ability to contract, which can lead to worsening heart failure
- have renal conditions or impairment
- have sinus bradycardia, a heart rhythm of less than 60 beats per minute that originates in the heart’s sinus node
- have untreated pheochromocytoma
Always tell your physician about any prescription medications or herbal remedies you are taking.
Medications that can adversely interact with Atenolol include:
- amiodarone (Cordarone)
- calcium channel blockers, such as bepridil (Vascor)
- clonidine (Catapres, Kapvay, or Nexiclon)
- digitalis glycosides, such as digoxin or digitoxin (Lanoxine, Digitaline, Novo-Digoxin
- disopyramide (Norpace, Rythmodan)
- prostaglandin synthase inhibiting drugs, such as indomethacin (USAN)
The following are severe and emergent side effects of these medications. Contact your medical provider immediately if you experience the following:
- a large, red rash
- swelling of the hands, feet and ankles
- symptoms associated with severe allergic reaction, such as fever and difficulty breathing
- unusual weight gain
The following side effects may occur, but do not usually represent an emergency. Discuss with your doctor or healthcare professional if they continue or are bothersome.
- cold hands
- reduced sex drive
- shortness of breath
- unexplained fatigue
This list may not describe all possible side effects. Call your doctor or healthcare provider for advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
Atenolol should be stored at room temperature—somewhere between 68 degrees and 77 degrees Fahrenheit or 20 degrees to 25 degrees Celsius. Keep the medication tightly closed and in a light-resistant container.
Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.
FDA WARNING: Atenolol carries a black box warning (meaning the medication has potentially lethal side effects) for its potential to cause chest pain exacerbation in patients with coronary artery disease, myocardial infarction, or ventricular arrhythmias when the medication is suddenly discontinued. Do not stop taking your medication unless your doctor instructs you to do so.
The Healthline Site, its content, such as text, graphics, images, search results, HealthMaps, Trust Marks, and other material contained on the Healthline Site ("Content"), its services, and any information or material posted on the Healthline Site by third parties are provided for informational purposes only. None of the foregoing is a substitute for professional medical advice, examination, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of a physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on the Healthline Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately. Please read the Terms of Service for more information regarding use of the Healthline Site.