Why is this medication prescribed?
Atenolol is used to treat high blood pressure. It also is used to prevent angina (chest pain) and heart attacks. It works by relaxing your blood vessels so your heart doesn't have to pump as hard.
This medication is sometimes prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
How should this medicine be used?
Atenolol comes as a tablet to take by mouth. It usually is taken once or twice a day. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take atenolol exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
Atenolol helps control your condition but will not cure it. Continue to take atenolol even if you feel well. Do not stop taking atenolol without talking to your doctor.
Other uses for this medicine
Atenolol also is used to treat alcohol withdrawal. Talk to your doctor about the possible risks of using this drug for your condition.
What special precautions should I follow?
Before taking atenolol,
- tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to atenolol or any other drugs.
- tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications you are taking, especially medications for migraine headaches, asthma, allergies, colds, or pain; other medications for heart or high blood pressure; reserpine; and vitamins.
- tell your doctor if you have or have ever had asthma or other lung disease; diabetes; severe allergies; thyroid problems; or heart, liver, or kidney disease.
- tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. If you become pregnant while taking atenolol, call your doctor immediately.
- you should know that this drug may make you drowsy. Do not drive a car or operate machinery until you know how this drug affects you.
- remember that alcohol can add to the drowsiness caused by this drug.
What special dietary instructions should I follow?
Talk to your doctor before using salt substitutes containing potassium. If your doctor prescribes a low-salt or low-sodium diet, follow these directions carefully.
What should I do if I forget a dose?
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.
What side effects can this medication cause?
Although side effects from atenolol are not common, they can occur. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
- excessive tiredness
- cold hands and feet
- upset stomach
If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately:
- shortness of breath or wheezing
- swelling of the feet and lower legs
- sudden weight gain
- chest pain
What storage conditions are needed for this medicine?
Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom). Throw away any medication that is outdated or no longer needed. Talk to your pharmacist about the proper disposal of your medication.
In case of emergency/overdose
In case of overdose, call your local poison controlcenter at 1-800-222-1222. If the victim has collapsedor is not breathing, call local emergency services at911.
Symptoms of overdose may include:
- lack of energy
- difficulty breathing
- slow heartbeat
- swelling of the hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs
- unusual weight gain
- rapid heartbeat
- sweating or confusion
- blurred vision
- numbness or tingling of the mouth
- excessive tiredness
- pale color
- sudden hunger
What other information should I know?
Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. Your blood pressure should be checked regularly to determine your response to atenolol. Your doctor may ask you to check your pulse (heart rate). Ask your pharmacist or doctor to teach you how to take your pulse. If your pulse is faster or slower than it should be, call your doctor.
Do not let anyone else take your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.