Atenolol is a cardiovascular medication belonging among the beta blocker group of drugs. It is primarily used to treat chest pains as well as hypertension. It is also useful in the prevention of heart attacks and irregular heart beat episodes. Atenolol works by slowing down the heart rate and reducing the heart’s load in the process. It is also been known to be used in treating migraine headaches and alcohol withdrawal symptoms. Atenolol works well because it does not risk the central nervous system with various side effects. It is available in 25 mg, 50 mg and 100 mg tablets.
Atenolol, available under brand name Tenormin, is prescribed to patients suffering from coronary heart disease, angina, arrhythmia and hypertension. It is also used to prevent and treat myocardial infarction or heart attacks. It can also alleviate symptoms of Graves Disease until the effects of antithyroid medication kicks in. Atenolol is also suitable to treat heart disorders in patients who also have extensive liver conditions as atenolol is filtered and excreted exclusively in the kidneys – reducing load the on the liver.
For hypertension management, patients may be initially given 25 to 50 mg per day, assuming they have unimpaired renal function. However, doctors will tend to give a lower dose initially and will gradually increase it each week, checking for responses. This can range from 20 mg to 200 mg. For treating angina, 100 mg is often quite sufficient.
Asthma patients must only receive the lowest dose possible as they are at risk of bronchospasms or tightening of the airways as a result of taking atenolol. Hexoprenaline or salbutamol may be used if this symptom occurs.
However, for those patients with renal function impairment, doses are often lowered by doctors based on their observations. For example, end-stage renal failure patients dependent on dialysis will often receive 50 mg of atenolol after the dialysis session. They may suffer from severe hypotonia after taking the drug.
Atenolol causes fewer side effects compared to other beta blockers yet some users will still feel certain side effects. More common side effects include fatigue, dizziness, stomach pains and constipation, hair loss, sexual dysfunction, difficulty sleeping and a runny or clogged nose. These symptoms may or may not manifest but should they appear then consult your doctor.
More serious and rare side effects are hallucinations and visual distortion, tingling feeling in the hands and feet, low blood pressure, rashes and skin disorders, and difficulty in hearing or speaking. These are serious side effects and require urgent medical attention.
Many drugs can react with atenolol and you should inform your doctor if you take allergy medication, MAO inhibitors, diabetes medication, and other cardiovascular drugs. Sufferers of asthma should also inform their doctor so that their dosages can be properly managed and tested.
Atenolol can cause lessened activity and drowsiness so avoid doing work requiring full attention, and avoid alcohol to prevent increased drowsiness.
This drug also passes through breast milk and may also affect fertility. Consult your doctor if you are expecting a child, or is breast feeding.
Atenolol has the following structural formula:
• Molecular formula of atenolol is C14H22N2O3
• Chemical IUPAC Name is 2-[4-[2-hydroxy-3-(1-methylethylamino)propoxy]phenyl]ethanamide
• Molecular weight is 266.336 g/mol
• Atenolol available : 100mg tablets and 150mg tablets
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