atenolol (generic name)

Beta-blockers reduce the workload on the heart and help it to beat more regularly
(a TEN oh lole)
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What is this medicine?

ATENOLOL (a TEN oh lole) is a beta-blocker. Beta-blockers reduce the workload on the heart and help it to beat more regularly. This medicine is used to treat high blood pressure and to prevent chest pain. It is also used to protect the heart during a heart attack and to prevent an additional heart attack from occurring.

What should I tell my health care provider before I take this medicine?

They need to know if you have any of these conditions:
  • diabetes
  • heart or vessel disease like slow heart rate, worsening heart failure, heart block, sick sinus syndrome or Raynaud's disease
  • kidney disease
  • lung or breathing disease, like asthma or emphysema
  • pheochromocytoma
  • thyroid disease
  • an unusual or allergic reaction to atenolol, other beta-blockers, medicines, foods, dyes, or preservatives
  • pregnant or trying to get pregnant
  • breast-feeding

How should I use this medicine?

Take this medicine by mouth with a drink of water. Follow the directions on the prescription label. This medicine may be taken with or without food. Take your medicine at regular intervals. Do not take more medicine than directed. Do not stop taking this medicine suddenly. This could lead to serious heart-related effects.

Talk to your pediatrician regarding the use of this medicine in children. Special care may be needed.

What if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, take only that dose. Do not take double or extra doses.

What may interact with this medicine?

Do not take this medicine with any of the following medications:
  • sotalol

This medicine may also interact with the following medications:

  • clonidine
  • digoxin
  • diuretics
  • dobutamine
  • epinephrine
  • isoproterenol
  • medicine for blood pressure like amlodipine, diltiazem, verapamil
  • NSAIDs, medicines for pain and inflammation, like ibuprofen or naproxen
  • reserpine

What should I watch for while using this medicine?

Visit your doctor or health care professional for regular check ups. Check your blood pressure and pulse rate regularly. Ask your health care professional what your blood pressure and pulse rate should be, and when you should contact him or her.

You may get drowsy or dizzy. Do not drive, use machinery, or do anything that needs mental alertness until you know how this medicine affects you. Do not stand or sit up quickly. Alcohol may interfere with the effect of this medicine. Avoid alcoholic drinks.

This medicine can affect blood sugar levels. If you have diabetes, check with your doctor or health care professional before you change your diet or the dose of your diabetic medicine.

Do not treat yourself for coughs, colds, or pain while you are taking this medicine without asking your doctor or health care professional for advice. Some ingredients may increase your blood pressure.

What side effects may I notice from receiving this medicine?

Side effects that you should report to your doctor or health care professional as soon as possible:
  • allergic reactions like skin rash, itching or hives, swelling of the face, lips, or tongue
  • breathing problems
  • changes in vision
  • chest pain
  • cold, tingling, or numb hands or feet
  • depression
  • fast, irregular heartbeat
  • feeling faint or lightheaded, falls
  • fever with sore throat
  • rapid weight gain
  • swollen ankles, legs

Side effects that usually do not require medical attention (report to your doctor or health care professional if they continue or are bothersome):

  • anxiety, nervous
  • diarrhea
  • dry skin
  • change in sex drive or performance
  • headache
  • nightmares or trouble sleeping
  • short term memory loss
  • stomach upset
  • unusually tired

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Last Updated: March 11, 2009
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