Beta-Blockers for High Blood Pressure
How It Works
Beta-blockers lower the
amount of blood the heart pumps out, and the force of the heartbeat, all of
which lower .
Why It Is Used
Beta-blockers are widely used for
high blood pressure, either alone or combined with
other medicines including , , or may be especially useful in people who also have
angina or , or who have had a
heart attack.footnote 1
How Well It Works
All medicines have side effects. But many people don't feel the side effects, or they are able to deal with them. Ask yourabout the side effects of each medicine you take. Side effects are also listed in the information that comes with your medicine.
Here are some important things to think about:
- Usually the benefits of the medicine are more important than any minor side effects.
- Side effects may go away after you take the medicine for a while.
- If side effects still bother you and you wonder if you should keep taking the medicine, call your doctor. He or she may be able to lower your dose or change your medicine. Do not suddenly quit taking your medicine unless your doctor tells you to.
Call 911 or other emergency services right away if you have:
- Trouble breathing.
- of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
- Fainting or severe .
Call your doctor right away if you have:
- A very slow (less than 50 beats per minute).
- in your legs or feet.
- Shortness of breath or wheezing, especially if you have .
- Cold hands and feet.
Common side effects of this medicine include:
- Dizziness or lightheadedness.
- Feeling tired.
- Trouble sleeping.
See Drug Reference for a full
list of side effects. (Drug Reference is not available in all systems.)
What To Think About
Check your pulse. Your doctor may ask you to take your pulse regularly to make sure your Taking a Pulse (Heart Rate).is not too slow. To learn how to take your pulse, see the topic
. If you have , may cause higher blood sugar levels. Watch closely for , because can hide your symptoms.
Grapefruit juice. Grapefruit juice may affect how beta-blockers work. Ask your doctor if you need to make any changes to avoid problems.
For more information, see Grapefruit Juice and Medicines.
Cold weather.may make you more sensitive to cold weather. Dress warmly and if needed, limit your time in cold weather.
Sun exposure.may make you more sensitive to sunlight. You might get sunburned easily or get a rash. To prevent problems, try using sunblock and/or wearing long-sleeved shirts and hats.
. If you have food, medicine, or , may cause to be worse and harder to treat. If you have a severe , tell your doctor that you are taking a .
For tips on takingmedicine, see:
Medicine is one of the many tools your doctor has to treat a health problem. Taking medicine as your doctor suggests will improve your health and may prevent future problems. If you don't take your medicines properly, you may be putting your health (and perhaps your life) at risk.
There are many reasons why people have trouble taking their medicine. But in most cases, there is something you can do. For suggestions on how to work around common problems, see the topic Taking Medicines as Prescribed.
Advice for women
If you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or planning to get pregnant, do not use any medicines unless your doctor tells you to. Some medicines can harm your baby. This includes prescription and over-the-counter medicines,, herbs, and supplements. And make sure that all your doctors know that you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or planning to get pregnant.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Current as of:
October 5, 2017