Beta Blocker Drugs

Beta Blockers – Beta-adrenergic block agents

Q: What is it primarily addressing?

A: Treating high blood pressure, by lowering it.

A: Importantly, beta blockers are not recommended as a first treatment if only have high blood pressure.  A MD would first prescribe meds like diuretics before considering beta blockers.  Also, a MD may prescribe a beta block along with other meds to lower blood pressure.

A: Beta blockers are used to prevent, treat improve symptoms in people with irregular heart rhythm (arrhythmia), heart failure, chest pain (angina), heart attacks, migraine, certain types of tremors

Q: How does it work?

A: Blocking effects of the hormone epinephrine – also known as adrenaline.

A: Cause heart to beat more slowly and with less force – which lowers blood pressure.

A: Can also open up veins and arteries to improve blood flow.

Q: Are all beta-blockers the same.

A: No.  Some mainly affect heart, while others affect heart and blood vessels.

Q: What’s the issue with beta blockers and black (African-American) people?

A: Beta blockers may not work as effectively for black and older people, especially when taken without other blood pressure meds.

Q: What are some kinds of Beta Blockers?

A: Acebutolol (Sectral)

A: Atenolol (Tenormin)

A: Bisoprolol (Zebeta)

A: Metoprolol (Lopressor, Toprol XL)

A: Nadolol (Cogard)

A: Nebivolol (Bystolic)

A: Propanolol (Inderal, InnoPran XL)

Q: What are some side effects of beta blockers?

A: Cold hands or feet, fatigue, weight gain

A: Less common side effects are depression, shortness of breath, trouble sleeping

A: For people with asthma beta blockers not used because concern the meds may trigger severe asthma attacks.

A: For diabetics patients, beta blocker may block signs of low blood sugar, such as rapid heartbeat.  Important to check blood sugar regularly if you have diabetes and taking a beta blocker.

A: Beta blockers can also affect cholestorol and triglyceride levels.  Can cause a slight rise in triglycerides – a type of fat in your blood – and a modest decrease in good cholesterol (aka high-density lipoprotein – HDL).  These changes often are temporary.

A: Same as usualy – don’t stop beta blockers cold – could increase risk of a heart attack or other heart problem.


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