Atenolol belongs to the group of medicines known as beta-blockers. You are likely to have been prescribed it because you have high blood pressure, or angina chest pain, or an uneven heartbeat.
Treatment is usually long-term. Continue to take the tablets regularly.
If you buy any cough or cold remedies, check with a pharmacist that they are suitable to take alongside atenolol.
The most common side-effects are feeling tired, cold hands and feet, a slow heartbeat, and stomach upset.
|Type of medicine||Beta-adrenoceptor blocker (often referred to as a beta-blocker)|
|Used for||High blood pressure, arrhythmias, and angina|
|Also called||Tenormin®; Tenoret® and Tenoretic® (atenolol with chlortalidone); Kalten (atenolol with amiloride and hydrochlorothiazide) and Beta-Adalat® and Tenif® (atenolol with hydrochlorothiazide)|
|Available as||Tablets, and oral liquid medicine|
Atenolol slows down the activity of your heart by stopping messages sent by some nerves to your heart. It does this by blocking tiny areas (called beta-adrenergic receptors) where the messages are received by your heart. As a result, your heart beats more slowly and with less force. This allows the pressure of blood within your blood vessels to be reduced if you have hypertension (high blood pressure), and helps to prevent abnormally fast heart rhythms, or arrhythmias. Because your heart is using less energy, this also helps to reduce chest pain if you have angina.
Atenolol is also available in combination with other medicines used to treat high blood pressure and angina. Combination brands of atenolol with a diuretic ('water tablet') are Tenoret® and Tenoretic® (with chlortalidone), and Kalten® (with amiloride and hydrochlorothiazide). Combination brands of atenolol with the calcium-channel blocker nifedipine, are Beta-Adalat® and Tenif®.
Atenolol may be prescribed to help prevent migraine. The leaflet does not contain information about this use of atenolol. If you have been given it for this reason, ask your doctor if you have any questions about your treatment.
Some medicines are not suitable for people with certain conditions, and sometimes a medicine may only be used if extra care is taken. For these reasons, before you start taking atenolol it is important that your doctor or pharmacist knows:
Along with their useful effects, most medicines can cause unwanted side-effects although not everyone experiences them. These usually improve as your body adjusts to the new medicine, but speak with your doctor or pharmacist if any of the following side-effects continue or become troublesome.
|Common atenolol side-effects - these affect less than 1 in 10 people who take this medicine||What can I do if I experience this?|
|Feeling or being sick, stomach upset||Stick to simple foods and drink plenty of water|
|Feeling dizzy, sleepy, tired or light-headed||Getting up and moving more slowly may help. If you begin to feel dizzy, lie down so that you do not faint, then sit for a few moments before standing. This often improves after the first week or two, but if it continues, speak with your doctor|
|Less common side-effects include: cold fingers or toes, disturbed sleep, a slow heartbeat, impotence, reduced sexual desire, and abnormal dreams||Speak with your doctor if any of these become troublesome|
If you experience any other symptoms which you think may be due to this medicine, speak with your doctor or pharmacist.