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Atenolol Side Effects

Atenolol is the generic name for a a beta blocker prescription drug that is also known by its brand name - Tenormin. It is typically used in the treatment of high blood pressure, angina pectoris (chest pain, typically caused by lack of oxygen in the heart muscle as a result of clogged arteries), and heart attack. When used for high blood pressure it may be combined with other high blood pressure medications, particularly with a thiazide-type water pill (diuretic). Beta blockers work by decreasing the force and rate of heart contractions. Occasionally doctors may prescribe Atenolol for the treatment of alcohol withdrawal, prevention of migraine headache, and bouts of anxiety.

Atenolol Side Effects

Atenolol is generally said to be "well tolerated", with mild and transient side effects. Rare side effects may include depression, dreaming, memory loss, fever, impotence, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, nausea, lightheadedness, slow heart rate, constipation, fatigue, insomnia, low blood pressure, numbness, tingling, cold extremities, sore throat, and shortness of breath or wheezing.

It is quite possible for side effects other than those listed here to occur. If this happens and/or if any seem particularly strange or bothersome, contact a doctor immediately.

Special Atenolol Precautions

Atenolol may cause harm and growth retardation in the fetus if taken by a woman who is pregnant.

If you have high blood pressure, you should take Atenolol regularly for it to be effective. Since blood pressure declines gradually, it may actually be several weeks before you get the full benefit of this drug; and you must continue taking it even if you start to feel. Atenolol does not cure high blood pressure, it simply helps to keep it under control.

If you have suffered from heart failure, heart block (conduction disorder), inadequate blood supply to the circulatory system (cardiogenic shock), or a severely slow heartbeat, you should not take Atenolol. You avoid it also if it gives you an allergic reaction. Similarly, if you have a history of severe congestive heart failure, Atenolol should be used with caution.

Atenolol should not be stopped suddenly. This could lead to increased chest pain and heart attack, thus dosage should be gradually reduced. If you suffer from asthma, seasonal allergies (or other bronchial conditions), coronary artery disease or kidney disease, Atenolol should be used with caution. It is important to note as well that this medication may cause your heartbeat to become too slow. Ask your doctor if you need to check your pulse while taking Atenolol.

Atenolol may mask the symptoms of low blood sugar or alter blood sugar levels. If you are diabetic, discuss all this with your doctor. Notify your doctor or dentist that you are taking Atenolol if you happen to have a medical emergency, and before you have surgery or dental surgery.

If Atenolol is taken with certain other drugs, the effects of either could be increased, decreased, or altered. It is especially important to check with your doctor before combining Atenolol with any of the following drugs - Quinidine (Quinidex); Ampicillin (Omnipen, others); Epinephrine (EpiPen); Certain other blood pressure drugs such as reserpine (Diupres); Clonidine (Catapres); Calcium-containing antacids such as Tums; Calcium-blocking blood pressure drugs such as Calan and Cardizem; Indomethacin (Indocin); Insulin; Oral diabetes drugs such as Micronase.

Warning: This information is intended to supplement, not be a substitute for the expertise and judgment of a doctor. Please consult a doctor for final and more detailed information about the possible side effects of this prescription medication.
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