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Acebutolol, Oral Capsule

Highlights for acebutolol

  1. Acebutolol oral capsule is available as a generic drug and a brand-name drug. Brand name: Sectral.
  2. Acebutolol only comes as an oral capsule.
  3. Acebutolol is used to treat high blood pressure (hypertension) and a type of irregular heartbeat and rhythm (premature ventricular contractions or PVCs).
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Important warnings

Important warnings

Other conditions warning: Before taking acebutolol, let your doctor know about all of your health conditions. It’s especially important to tell your doctor if you have:

  • asthma
  • chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • diabetes
  • poor circulation
  • heart failure or other heart problems
  • overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism)

Stopping the drug warning: You should talk to your doctor first before you stop taking this drug. If you have certain conditions and stop taking this drug suddenly, you may have thyroid problems or worsened chest pain. This can even be fatal. Your doctor should gradually decrease your dosage.

About

What is acebutolol?

Acebutolol is a prescription drug. It’s comes as an oral capsule.

Acebutolol is available as the brand-name drug Sectral and as a generic drug. Generic drugs usually cost less. In some cases, they may not be available in every strength or form as the brand-name version.

Acebutolol may be taken as part of a combination therapy with other medications.

Why it's used

Acebutolol is used to treat high blood pressure (hypertension) and a type of irregular heart beat (premature ventricular contractions, or PVCs).

How it works

Acebutolol belongs to a class of drugs called beta blockers. A class of drugs is a group of medications that work in a similar way. These drugs are often used to treat similar conditions.

This drug works by blocking certain receptors (beta) found in your blood vessels and heart from being activated by hormones, such as adrenaline. By stopping activation of these receptors, your blood vessels and heart stay relaxed. This helps lower your blood pressure and your heart beat.

High blood pressure often happens when your blood vessels are tightened. That strains the heart and increases your body’s need for oxygen. Acebutolol also helps to lower your heart rate and your heart’s demand for oxygen.

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Side effects

Acebutolol side effects

Acebutolol oral capsule does not cause drowsiness but it can cause other side effects.

More common side effects

The more common side effects that occur with acebutolol include:

  • a slower than normal heart rate
  • dizziness
  • tiredness
  • headache
  • constipation
  • diarrhea
  • upset stomach (indigestion)
  • muscle aches or pains

If these effects are mild, they may go away within a few days or a couple of weeks. If they’re more severe or don’t go away, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Serious side effects

Call your doctor right away if you have serious side effects. Call 911 if your symptoms feel life-threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency. Serious side effects and their symptoms can include the following:

  • very low blood pressure. Symptoms include:
    • severe dizziness
    • lightheadedness
    • fainting
  • very slow heart rate. Symptoms include:
    • tiredness
    • severe dizziness
    • lightheadedness
    • fainting
  • poor circulation. Symptoms include:
    • cold or blue fingers or toes
  • erectile dysfunction. Symptoms include:
    • being unable to get or keep an erection
  • depression
  • pain when urinating
  • liver damage. Symptoms include:
    • nausea
    • loss of appetite
    • dark-colored urine
    • tiredness
  • systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), a condition where your immune system attacks parts of your body. Symptoms include:
    • severe skin rash, which may look like a butterfly shape across your nose
    • mouth sores
    • tiredness
    • joint pain
    • muscle pain

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible side effects. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always discuss possible side effects with a healthcare provider who knows your medical history.

Interactions

Acebutolol may interact with other medications

Acebutolol oral capsule can interact with other medications, vitamins, or herbs you may be taking. An interaction is when a substance changes the way a drug works. This can be harmful or prevent the drug from working well.

To help avoid interactions, your doctor should manage all of your medications carefully. Be sure to tell your doctor about all medications, vitamins, or herbs you’re taking. To find out how this drug might interact with something else you’re taking, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Examples of drugs that can cause interactions with acebutolol are listed below.

Pain medications

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may decrease the blood pressure-lowering effect of acebutolol. This means it may not work as well. These drugs include:

  • diclofenac
  • etodolac
  • ibuprofen
  • indomethacin
  • ketorolac
  • nabumetone
  • naproxen

Nasal decongestants

Certain nasal decongestant drugs can compete for the same receptors that acebutolol blocks. This can stop both drugs from working as well as they should. These nasal decongestants include:

  • phenylephrine
  • pseudoephedrine

Reserpine

Use of acebutolol with reserpine, a drug that can be used to treat high blood pressure, may cause side effects. These include dizziness, low heart rate, and low blood pressure.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs interact differently in each person, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible interactions. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always speak with your healthcare provider about possible interactions with all prescription drugs, vitamins, herbs and supplements, and over-the-counter drugs that you are taking.

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Other warnings

Acebutolol warnings

This drug comes with several warnings.

Allergy warning

Acebutolol can cause a severe allergic reaction. Symptoms include:

  • trouble breathing
  • swelling of your throat or tongue
  • hives
  • rash

Don’t take this drug again if you’ve ever had an allergic reaction to it before. Taking it a second time after an allergic reaction could be fatal.

Warnings for people with certain health conditions

For people with asthma or COPD: Many people with asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) shouldn’t take acebutolol. Your doctor may still prescribe it, but only in small doses with careful monitoring. At higher doses, this drug can block receptors on breathing passages. This narrows the passages, which makes your asthma or COPD worse. This can also make your rescue breathing medications not work as well.

For people with diabetes: Acebutolol may hide symptoms of low blood sugar, such as tremors and increased heart rate. This can make it harder to know when your blood sugar is low.

For people with poor circulation: This drug can make poor circulation in your feet and hands worse. Acebutolol reduces blood pressure, which means that less blood may flow to your extremities.

For people with heart failure: If you have uncontrolled heart failure, you shouldn’t take acebutolol because it may make your condition worse. If your heart failure is under control, your doctor may use this drug with caution. They will monitor your heart closely.

For people with heart problems: If you have any heart problems, let your doctor know. Taking acebutolol may make your heart weaker or lead to heart failure. If you stop taking this drug suddenly and have heart disease, you may have worsened chest pain or a heart attack. This may even be fatal. Talk to your doctor first before you stop taking this drug. Your doctor should gradually decrease your dose.

For people with overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism): If you have hyperthyroidism and stop taking acebutolol suddenly, you may have a thyroid storm. This is life threatening. Symptoms include confusion, a very fast heart rate, shaking, sweating, or agitation. Talk to your doctor first before you stop taking this drug. Your doctor should gradually decrease your dose.

For people with kidney problems: Acebutolol is removed from your body by your kidneys. If your kidneys aren’t working well, more of this drug may stay in your body longer, putting you at risk for side effects. If you have severe kidney problems, you may need a lower dose or a different medication.

For people with liver problems: Acebutolol is processed by your liver. If your liver isn’t working well, more of this drug may stay in your body longer, putting you at risk for side effects. If you have liver problems, you may need a lower dose or a different medication.

Warnings for other groups

For pregnant women: Acebutolol is a pregnancy category B drug. That means two things:

  1. Studies of the drug in pregnant animals have not shown risk to the unborn baby.
  2. There aren’t enough studies done in pregnant women to show the drug poses a risk to the unborn baby.

Tell your doctor if you’re pregnant or plan to become pregnant. Acebutolol should be used during pregnancy only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the unborn baby.

For women who are breastfeeding: Acebutolol may pass into breast milk and cause serious effects in a child who is breastfed. You and your doctor may need to decide if you’ll breastfeed or take acebutolol.

For seniors: Your body may process this drug more slowly. Your doctor may start you on a lowered dose so that too much of this drug doesn’t build up in your body. Too much of the drug in your body can be toxic.

For children: This medicine hasn’t been studied in children and shouldn’t be used in children younger than 18 years.

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Dosage

How to take acebutolol

All possible dosages and forms may not be included here. Your dosage, drug form, and how often you take the drug will depend on:

  • your age
  • the condition being treated
  • how severe your condition is
  • other medical conditions you have
  • how you react to the first dose

Forms and strengths

Generic: Acebutolol

  • Form: oral capsule
  • Strengths: 200 mg, 400 mg

Brand: Sectral

  • Form: oral capsule
  • Strengths: 200 mg, 400 mg

Dosage for high blood pressure (hypertension)

Adult dosage (ages 18–64 years)

The starting dose is 400 mg taken by mouth once per day or 200 mg taken by mouth twice per day. Your doctor may increase your dose up to 600 mg taken twice per day as needed. Recommended maintenance doses range from 400–800 mg total per day.

Child dosage (ages 0–17 years)

This drug hasn’t been studied in children and shouldn’t be used in children younger than 18 years.

Senior dosage (ages 65 years and older)

Older adults may process drugs more slowly. A normal adult dose may cause levels of this drug to be higher than normal. If you’re a senior, you may need a lower dose or you may need a different schedule. Your total daily dose shouldn’t be more than 800 mg.

Dosage for irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia)

Adult dosage (ages 18–64 years)

The starting dose is 200 mg taken by mouth twice per day. Your doctor may slowly increase your dose up to 600 mg taken twice per day. Recommended maintenance doses range from 600–1200 mg total per day.

Child dosage (ages 0–17 years)

This medicine hasn’t been studied in children and shouldn’t be used in children younger than 18 years.

Senior dosage (ages 65 years and older)

Older adults may process drugs more slowly. A normal adult dose may cause levels of this drug to be higher than normal. If you’re a senior, you may need a lower dose or you may need a different schedule. Your total daily dose shouldn’t be more than 800 mg.

Special dosage considerations

For people with kidney problems: If you develop moderate kidney problems (CrCl <50 mL/min), your doctor will reduce your dosage by 50%. If you develop severe kidney problems (CrCl <25 mL/min), your doctor will reduce your dosage by 75%.

Dosage warnings

If you need to stop taking this drug, be sure to talk to your doctor first. Your dosage should be gradually decreased over 2 weeks under your doctor’s supervision. This will keep your heart problems from getting worse.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this list includes all possible dosages. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always speak with your doctor or pharmacist about dosages that are right for you.

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Take as directed

Take as directed

Acebutolol is used for long-term treatment. It comes with serious risks if you don’t take it as prescribed.

If you stop taking the drug or don’t take it at all: If you don’t take this drug, your high blood pressure or irregular heart rate won’t get better. This may also raise your risk of having a heart attack or harming the blood vessels of your lungs, heart, or liver.

If you stop taking it suddenly: If you stop taking this drug suddenly, you raise your risk of having a heart attack. Talk to your doctor before stopping acebutolol. Your doctor needs to monitor you and adjust your dosage slowly.

If you miss doses or don’t take it on schedule: If you don’t take acebutolol every day or you take your doses at different times each day, your blood pressure may not be controlled and your irregular heart rate may not normalize. This may increase your risk for a heart attack.

If you take too much: If you take too much acebutolol, you are at risk of lowering your blood pressure and slowing your heart rate to a dangerously low level. It may also cause very low blood sugar, trouble breathing, heart failure, or seizures. You may have the following symptoms:

  • dizziness
  • faintness
  • weakness
  • tiredness
  • confusion
  • shortness of breath
  • chest pains

If you think you’ve taken too much of the drug, act right away. Call your doctor or local poison control center, or go to the nearest emergency room.

What to do if you miss a dose: If you forget to take your dose, take it as soon as you remember. If it’s just a few hours until the time for your next dose, wait and only take one dose at that time.

Never try to catch up by taking two doses at once. This could cause dangerous side effects.

How to tell if the drug is working: You may be able to tell this drug is working if you check your blood pressure at home and it’s lower, or you check your heart rate at home and it’s regular. Your doctor may also do tests to check if acebutolol is working for you.

Important considerations

Important considerations for taking acebutolol

Keep these considerations in mind if your doctor prescribes acebutolol for you.

General

Take acebutolol at the same time each day.

Storage

  • Store acebutolol at room temperature between 68°F (20°C) and 77°F (25°C).
  • Keep this drug away from light.
  • Keep it away from high temperature.
  • Don’t store this medication in moist or damp areas, such as bathrooms.

Refills

A prescription for this medication is refillable. You should not need a new prescription for this medication to be refilled. Your doctor will write the number of refills authorized on your prescription.

Travel

When traveling with your medication:

  • Always carry your medication with you. When flying, never put it into a checked bag. Keep it in your carry-on bag.
  • Don’t worry about airport x-ray machines. They can’t hurt your medication.
  • You may need to show airport staff the pharmacy label for your medication. Always carry the original prescription-labeled box with you.
  • Don’t put this medication in your car’s glove compartment or leave it in the car. Be sure to avoid doing this when the weather is very hot or very cold.

Clinical monitoring

Before starting you on acebutolol, your doctor may check how well certain organs are working. This will help them decide if this drug is safe for you and if you need a lower dose. These organs include your:

  • kidney
  • liver

While you’re taking acebutolol, your doctor will check to see if the drug is working.

  • If you’re taking acebutolol to treat high blood pressure, your doctor will check your blood pressure.
  • If you’re taking acebutolol to treat irregular heartbeat, your doctor will check your heart rate and do an electrocardiogram of your heart.

Availability

Most pharmacies should have the generic form of acebutolol in stock, but they may not have the brand form Sectral available. Call the pharmacy ahead of time if your doctor prescribes Sectral and you need this specific brand.

Prior authorization

Many insurance companies require a prior authorization for brand-name drugs such as Sectral. This means your doctor will need to get approval from your insurance company before your insurance company will pay for the prescription.

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Alternatives

Are there any alternatives?

There are other drugs available to treat your condition. Some may be more suitable for you than others. Talk to your doctor about possible alternatives.

Disclaimer: Healthline has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up-to-date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or other healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.

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