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Common name: Atenolol
Product Name: Tenormin
Drug category: Cardioselective beta-blockers

What is atenolol?


Atenolol (Tenormin) is a beta-blocker that affects the heart and blood circulation (blood flow to the arteries and veins). Atenolol is used to treat angina (chest pain) and high blood pressure (high blood pressure).

Atenolol is also used to reduce the risk of death after a heart attack.


You should not use this medication if you have a serious heart condition such as “AV block,” a very slow heartbeat (bradycardia), or heart failure.

Do not stop taking this medication without talking to your doctor first. A sudden stop can make your condition worse.

If you have any type of surgery, make sure the surgeon knows in advance that you are using this medication.

Atenolol can cause side effects that may interfere with your thinking or reactions. Be careful when driving or doing anything that requires you to be alert and alert. Avoid drinking alcohol, which may increase drowsiness and dizziness while taking atenolol.

Atenolol is part of a comprehensive program to treat high blood pressure that may include diet, exercise, and weight control. Follow your diet, medication, and exercise regimen closely if you are being treated for high blood pressure.

If you are being treated for high blood pressure, continue to take these medicines even if you feel better. High blood pressure often has no symptoms. You may need to use blood pressure medication for the rest of your life.¶

Before taking this medicine

You should not use this medication if you do not feel well, or if you have:

  • critical heart condition such as “AV block” (second or third degree);
  • very slow heartbeat; or
  • reduced heart failure.

To make sure that this medication  is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:

  • heart failure;
  • coronary artery disease;
  • asthma, congestion of the respiratory tract, emphysema;
  • diabetes;
  • overactive thyroid;
  • liver or kidney disease;
  • pheochromocytoma (adrenal gland);
  • peripheral vascular disease such as Raynaud’s syndrome; or
  • allergies (or if you are being treated for allergies or skin tests).

Using this medication during pregnancy can harm the unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or if you are pregnant while using this medication.

Atenolol can pass into breast milk and may harm the nursing baby. Tell your doctor if you are breastfeeding.

Atenolol is not approved for use by anyone under 18 years of age.

How should I take atenolol?

Take atenolol as prescribed. Follow all directions on the prescription label. Your doctor may change your dose from time to time to make sure you get the best results. Do not use this medicine in large or small amounts or for longer than recommended.

Your blood pressure will need to be checked regularly.

If you need surgery, tell your surgeon early that you are using atenolol.

It may take up to 2 weeks before you get the full effect of atenolol. Continue to take the medication as prescribed and tell your doctor if you experience any new symptoms.

You should not stop taking atenolol suddenly. A sudden stop can make your condition worse.

If you are being treated for high blood pressure: Continue taking this medicine even if you feel better. High blood pressure often has no symptoms. You may need to use blood pressure medication for the rest of your life.

Your condition may require treatment with a combination of drugs. Use all medicines as directed by your doctor. Read the medication guide or patient instructions given with each medication. Do not change your dosage or medication without your doctor’s advice.

Store at room temperature away from moisture, heat, and light. Keep the bottle tightly closed when not in use.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose when it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up for missed doses.

What happens if I overreact?

Get emergency medical help or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.

Symptoms of a drug overdose may include extreme weakness or weakness, rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath, or fainting.

What to avoid

Follow your doctor’s instructions regarding any restrictions on food, drink, or activity.

Side effects of Atenolol

Get emergency medical help if you have symptoms of atenolol allergy: hives; shortness of breath; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Call your doctor at once if you have:

  • new or severe chest pain;
  • slow or irregular heartbeat;
  • a simple headache, as if it could pass;
  • breathing (even a little exertion), swelling, rapid weight gain; or
  • a cold feeling in your hands and feet.

Common side effects of atenolol may include:

  • dizziness;
  • feeling tired; or
  • a state of depression.

This is not a complete list of side effects and some may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You can report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

What other drugs will affect atenolol?

Tell your doctor about any of your current medications and any start-ups or stops, especially:

  • digoxin, digitalis;
  • indomethacin;
  • any other beta-blocker – bisoprolol, carvedilol, labetalol, metoprolol, nebivolol, propranolol, sotalol, timolol, and others; or
  • Cardiovascular or hypertensive drugs – amiodarone, clonidine, diltiazem, disopyramide, nicardipine, nifedipine, reserpine, verapamil, and others.

This list is not exhaustive. Some medications may be combined with atenolol, which includes prescription and over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible interactions are listed in this medication guide.

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