How It Works
Beta-blockers lower the heart rate, the
amount of blood the heart pumps out, and the force of the heartbeat, all of
which lower blood pressure.
Why It Is Used
Beta-blockers are widely used for
, either alone or combined with
other medicines including diuretics, ACE inhibitors, or calcium channel
blockers. These medicines may be especially useful in people who also have
or heart failure, or who have had a
How Well It Works
Beta-blockers lower blood pressure.
Lowering blood pressure helps to lower the risk of heart disease, heart attack,
All medicines have side effects. But many people don't feel the side effects, or they are able to deal with them. Ask your pharmacist about the side effects of each medicine you take. Side effects are also listed in the information that comes with your medicine.
Here are some important things to think about:
- Usually the benefits of the medicine are more important than any minor side effects.
- Side effects may go away after you take the medicine for a while.
- If side effects still bother you and you wonder if you should keep taking the medicine, call your doctor. He or she may be able to lower your dose or change your medicine. Do not suddenly quit taking your medicine unless your doctor tells you to.
Call 911 or other emergency services right away if you have:
- Trouble breathing.
- Swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
- Fainting or severe dizziness.
Call your doctor right away if you have:
- A very slow heart rate (less than 50 beats per minute).
- Swelling in your legs or feet.
- Shortness of breath or wheezing, especially if you have asthma.
- Cold hands and feet.
Common side effects of this medicine include:
- Dizziness or lightheadedness.
- Feeling tired.
- Trouble sleeping.
See Drug Reference for a full
list of side effects. (Drug Reference is not available in all systems.)
What To Think About
Check your pulse. Your doctor may ask you to take your pulse regularly to make sure your heart rate is not too slow. To learn how to take your pulse, see the topic .
Diabetes. If you have diabetes, beta-blockers may cause higher blood sugar levels. Watch closely for symptoms of low blood sugar, because beta-blockers can hide your symptoms.