Atenolol (Oral)

Atenolol is a drug that acts as a beta-blocker, affecting the heart and circulation and used only by doctor's prescription to treat acute myocardial infact


What is Atenolol?

Atenolol is a beta-blocker drug, which is a class of drugs primarily used to treat cardiovascular diseases. Atenolol is used to treat hypertension, which is commonly known as having blood pressure that is high. Having blood pressure that is high should not be left untreated as the heart and arteries will begin to suffer damage and not function properly over time. Atenolol is also effective in the prevention of heart attacks and chest pain.

Atenolol is available in tablet form and is often sold under the brand name of Tenormin and is only available by prescription from your medical doctor.

How does Atenolol work?

Atenolol works through the nerve impulses in the heart, affecting their responsiveness so that the heartbeat slows and decreases blood pressure. When blood pressure is lowered, the amount of blood and oxygen pumped to the heart is increased. This eases the symptoms of hypertension and angina pains as well as lowering risk to the patient of death due to heart attack.

What is hypertension?

Hypertension is also known as having blood pressure that is high and is a long-term medical condition that doesn't typically cause symptoms. Patients with undetected, untreated hypertension are at major risk for coronary artery disease, stroke, heart failure, peripheral vascular disease, vision loss and chronic kidney disease.

In a majority of cases, having blood pressure that is high is due to non-specific lifestyle and genetic factors. Excess salt in food or drink, excess body weight, using tobacco and alcohol all increase the risk of suffering from hypertension.

Blood pressure is measured in two ways; systolic and diastolic, which are the maximum and minimum pressure at which blood travels through the arteries. Normal blood pressure in adults is within the range of 100-14are at major risk for coronary artery disease, stroke, heart failure, peripheral vascular disease, vision loss and chronic kidney disease.

In a majority of cases, having blood pressure that is high is due to non-specific lifestyle and genetic factors. Excess salt in consumed food or drink, excess body weight, using tobacco and alcohol all increase the risk of suffering from hypertension.

Blood pressure is measured in two ways; systolic and diastolic, which are the maximum and minimum pressure at which blood travels through the arteries. Normal blood pressure in adults is within the range of 100 to 140 systolic and 60 to 90 diastolic. If the resting blood pressure of an adult is consistently at or above 130/90 or 140/90, it is considered high. Children have different measurements.

In addition to the measurement of blood pressure on a consistent basis, signs and symptoms of having blood pressure that is high that may be observed include:

  • Headaches, particularly in the morning and located in the back of the head
  • Lightheadedness
  • Vertigo
  • Tinnitus
  • Altered vision
  • Fainting

While lifestyle changes can lower blood pressure and decrease health complications, medications such as Atenolol are available in case these lifestyle changes are slow or not sufficient to decrease risk.

What is angina?

Angina means chest pain or pressure typically caused by a low blood flow to the heart. Low blood flow is typically due to obstruction or spasm of the arteries, anemia, abnormal heart rhythms or heart failure. Angina can sometimes precede a heart attack and require urgent medical attention.

Smoking, diabetes, high cholesterol, having blood pressure that is high, sedentary lifestyle and family history of heart disease all put patients at risk for angina. People with angina experience tight, dull or heavy chest discomfort that is:

  • On the left side of their body, often radiating to the left arm, neck, jaw or back
  • Associated with exertion or emotional stress
  • Relieved by resting
  • Precipitated by cold weather
  • Often following a meal

As Atenolol works to reduce the work load on the heart, it is often prescribed to angina sufferers to prevent symptoms and treat underlying hypertension as well.

Conditions treated

Type of medicine

  • Beta-blocker

Side effects

Not all patients suffer from side effects when taking Atenolol; in fact, many patients experience mild side effects that don't cause any risk to their overall health or life style.

If you experience any of the following side effects and determine that they are severe or of prolonged duration, contact your health care professional immediately:

  • Vision that appears blurred or fuzzy
  • Cold extremities
  • Difficult, labored breathing
  • Confusion
  • Sweating
  • Tight chest
  • Fatigue or weakness
  • Dizziness, faintness, lightheadedness
  • Unable to draw a full breath
  • Wheezing
  • Anxiety
  • Discomfort or pain in the chest
  • Chills
  • Cold sweat
  • Coughing
  • Passing out
  • Rapid pulse
  • Sudden shortness of breath or troubled breathing
  • Leg pain
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Diarrhea
  • Loud breathing
  • Pulse that is slow or jumpy
  • Feeling sad or discouraged
  • Irritability
  • Lack of appetite
  • Loss of interest
  • Dream activity
  • Feeling of constant movement
  • Sensation of spinning
  • Sleepiness
  • Decreased interest in sexual intercourse
  • Dry mouth
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Loss in sexual performance, drive or desire
  • Hair loss
  • Painful erection

The following side effects have rarely been reported, but could be experienced by some patients. If you experience any of the following side effects, you should immediately contact your medical professional:

  • Blood when urinating
  • Bleeding gums
  • Blood in stools
  • Less urine or going less often
  • High blood pressure
  • Thirst
  • Little or no appetite
  • Pain in lower back or side
  • Nauseated feeling
  • Swollen legs or fingers, face
  • Vomiting
  • Gaining weight
  • Tarry, blackstools
  • Blurry vision
  • Temporary or partial blindness
  • Pain in bones or joints
  • Color perception is off
  • Double vision
  • Paranoia
  • Delusional episodes
  • Fever
  • Light halos or over brightness
  • Night blindness
  • Pale skin
  • Cold toes or fingers
  • Tiny skin spots that are red or purple
  • Severe moodiness
  • Skin irritation rash or psoriasis-like sores
  • Itching, hives
  • Throat pain
  • Glands that are swollen or painful
  • Toes or fingers tingling
  • Tunnel vision
  • Strange behavior
  • Bleeding or bruising more easily than normal

If you have taken too much Atenolol, it is possible that you will suffer adverse health effects due to overdose. Report any of the overdose side effects below to your doctor immediately:

  • Headache
  • Anxiety
  • Coma
  • Clammy skin that appears pale
  • Depression
  • Enlarged neck veins
  • Fatigue
  • Hungry all the time
  • Gasping for breath
  • Nervousness
  • Nightmares
  • Seizures
  • Tremors
  • Slurring when speaking
  • Feeling sluggish or drowsy


In addition to Atenolol, treatment for hypertension will also include changes in your lifestyle. Specifically, the amount of sodium in your diet will need to be evaluated and foods high in sodium will need to be cut from your diet. You will also be instructed to control your weight and increase your activity under medical supervision.

Many patients feel totally normal, but it is important to remember to take your prescribed Atenolol as directed and keep your appointments with your doctor even if you don't feel ill. Atenolol will not cure you having blood pressure that is high but will control it if you take the medicine as directed by your doctor.

If left untreated, blood pressure that is high can seriously damage other important organs in your body and cause heart failure, blood vessel disease, stroke or kidney disease.

All patients are different as are their symptoms; for this reason, each prescription varies between patients. Follow your doctor's directions stated clearly on the label of your Atenolol prescription. The amount you take, number of doses you take each day and the duration for which you are prescribed Atenolol depends on many factors that your doctor has considered for your specific health status. The following information is based on average doses of Atenolol; follow your own prescription with regard to your dosage.

For acute heart attack, adults are prescribed an average dose of 50 milligrams ten minutes after the last intravenous dose, which is followed by another 50 milligrams 12 hours later. Thereafter, 100 milligrams once per day or two 50 milligram doses per day for another six to nine days will follow or until discharge from the hospital, whichever occurs first. Children's dosage will depend solely on the doctor's assessment of their condition and his prescription for each patient.

Angina patients typically receive 50 milligrams once per day if they are adults; children's dosage for chest pains will be determined by their doctor.

Hypertension sufferers will receive 50 milligrams once daily. This does may change depending on your response to the drug and the side effects it is causing you to have. Children will have their dosage determined by their doctor.

Missing a dose of Atenolol is not recommended but if you do, do not make up the dose if it is close to the time for your next dose. Skip the missing dose and resume your regular schedule as soon as possible. Doubling up on your dose of Atenolol risks overdose and can cause unwanted side effects that can even prove fatal.


Inform your health care provider if you've ever been allergic to Atenolol or other medicines in your past. If you've experienced allergies to animals, preservatives, dyes, foods or anything else, inform your doctor before being treated with Atenolol.

It is of critical importance that your disclose your full medical history as well as details of any drugs you are currently taking or have taken in the recent past before you begin a course of treatment with Atenolol or any other drug. Be certain to include all prescription as well as non-prescription medications you may be taking and details of any vitamin, herbal or holistic supplements or treatments you are currently taking or have taken in the recent past.

Studies of the use of Atenolol in pediatric patients haven't been performed as to the effectiveness or safety of this treatment. Studies in women who are pregnant have demonstrated a risk to the fetus; inform your doctor if you are pregnant or about to become pregnant and discuss the possible dangerous health situations to determine what course if right for your health situation. No adequate studies are available to determine whether treatment with Atenolol is appropriate or safe for women who are breastfeeding.

Geriatric patients are more likely to have side effects that are age-related and affect their liver, kidney or heart function. Use of Atenolol in elderly patients should be an adjusted dosage based on current health and risk factors for this age group.

The following medications are known to interact with Atenolol and should not be used together:

  • Clonidine
  • Crizotinib
  • Diltiazem
  • Dronedarone
  • Fenoldopam
  • Fingolimod
  • Lacosamide
  • Rivastigmine
  • Verapamil

Use of Atenolol with the following medications may increase side effects, but it may be necessary to use them both for various health reasons. Your doctor may adjust the dose of one or more of these medicines if you are taking them with Atenolol:

  • Acarbose
  • Aceclofenac
  • Bepridil
  • Acemetacin
  • Acetyldigoxin
  • Albiglutide
  • Alfuzosin
  • Mibefradil
  • Miglitol
  • Aspirin
  • Bromfenac
  • Bufexamac
  • Morniflumate
  • Carbamazepine
  • Moxisylyte
  • Alogliptin
  • Amiodarone
  • Amtolmetin Guacil
  • Arbutamine
  • Bunazosin
  • Canagliflozin
  • Celecoxib
  • Dapagliflozin
  • Fepradinol
  • Feprazone
  • Floctafenine
  • Flufenamic Acid
  • Flurbiprofen
  • Glimepiride
  • Deslanoside
  • Dexibuprofen
  • Chlorpropamide
  • Celecoxib
  • Choline Salicylate
  • Clonixin
  • Dexketoprofen
  • Diclofenac
  • Diflunisal
  • Digitoxin
  • Digoxin
  • Dipyrone
  • Disopyramide
  • Chlorpropamide
  • Doxazosin
  • Droxicam
  • Dulaglutide
  • Empagliflozin
  • Cholestyramine
  • Etodolac
  • Etofenamate
  • Etoricoxib
  • Metformin
  • Metildigoxin
  • Nabumetone
  • Naproxen
  • Nateglinide
  • Exenatide
  • Felbinac
  • Fenoprofen
  • Ginkgo
  • Glipizide
  • Glyburide
  • Ibuprofen
  • Indomethacin
  • Insulin medications of several brands, formulations and kinds
  • Ketoprofen
  • Ketorolac
  • Linagliptin
  • Gossypol
  • Liraglutide
  • Lixisenatide
  • Lornoxicam
  • Loxoprofen
  • Lumiracoxib
  • Meclofenamate
  • Mefenamic Acid
  • Meloxicam
  • Nepafenac
  • Niflumic Acid
  • Nimesulide
  • Nimesulide Beta Cyclodextrin
  • Oxaprozin
  • Oxyphenbutazone
  • Parecoxib
  • Phenoxybenzamine
  • Phentolamine
  • Methyldopa
  • Phenylbutazone
  • Piketoprofen
  • Pioglitazone
  • Piroxicam
  • Pramlintide
  • Pranoprofen
  • Terazosin
  • Tiaprofenic Acid
  • Tolazamide
  • Tolbutamide
  • Tolfenamic Acid
  • Prazosin
  • Proglumetacin
  • Propyphenazone
  • Proquazone
  • Rifapentine
  • Quinidine
  • Repaglinide
  • Rofecoxib
  • Rosiglitazone
  • Salicylic Acid
  • Salsalate
  • Saxagliptin
  • Sitagliptin
  • Repaglinide
  • Sodium Salicylate
  • St John's Wort
  • Sulindac
  • Tamsulosin
  • Tenoxicam
  • Tolmetin
  • Trimazosin
  • Urapidil
  • Valdecoxib
  • Topiramate
  • Vildagliptin

Your doctor will specify in your prescription whether you should take Atenolol with or without food. Discuss the use of alcohol, illegal drugs or tobacco with your health care professional to determine any health risks associated with the combination.

Other medical issues can interfere with the effectiveness of Atenolol or pose a safety risk. Some conditions could be made worse or their symptoms could increase because of this treatment regimen. If you have the following health care issues, it is vital that you disclose them to your doctor before beginning a treatment regiment with Atenolol:


Your doctor will check the progress of your treatment and any side effects of Atenolol during regularly scheduled office visits.

Be aware that using Atenolol during pregnancy can harm your unborn child; use of an effective form of birth control during your treatment and for four weeks after is recommended. If you think you have become pregnant during your treatment with Atenolol, inform your health care professional immediately.

Any doctor or dentist who treats you during your treatment with Atenolol should be told that you are using this medicine. It is possible that you will have to stop taking Atenolol for a certain period of time if you are having surgery.

Atenolol has been linked to heart failure when used on certain patients. If you are experiencing wheezing, swollen face, feet, legs or fingers, chest pain, enlarged veins in the neck, fatigue, trouble breathing or irregular heart beat either fast or slow, inform your health care provider immediately.

The level of sugar in the blood has been shown to be affected with use of Atenolol in some patients. This could lead to a masking of symptoms of blood sugar that is low including rapid pulse. Consult with your doctor if you have any changes in your blood or urine sugar tests.

Atenolol can affect the alertness of some patients. If you are less alert while taking Atenolol, do not drive, operate heavy machinery or use power tools for your own safety and the safety of others.


Atenolol should be stored in the original packaging and out of sight and reach of children and pets. Keep Atenolol at room temperature, out of direct heat, moisture and sunlight. Do not allow Atenolol to freeze. If you have unused or expired Atenolol tablets, dispose of it safely by following guidelines from your doctor or pharmacist.


Atenolol is a beta-blocker class of drug that is used to treat hypertension, also known as having blood pressure that is high, angina and other cardiovascular related illnesses. Atenolol works by altering the nerve impulses in the heart resulting in a slower heartbeat and a lower blood pressure while increasing the amount of blood and oxygen to the heart.

Patients with hypertension often don't realize they have the condition, which can lead to damage to the heart over time as well as stroke, kidney disease, heart failure or kidney failure. Lifestyle changes along with medications such as Atenolol are recommended to control symptoms of hypertension.

While no drug is completely without side effects, Atenolol should have very little in most patients. The most common side effects are blurred vision, cold hands or feet, confusion, difficulty breathing, dizziness, faintness or lightheadedness, shortness of breath, sweating, chest tightness, tiredness or weakness and wheezing. If any of these side effects are severe or prolonged, the patient should seek immediate medical help. Additionally, if any heart attack symptoms are present, emergency medical services should be called for assistance immediately.

Patients receive different dosage depending on their health situation, but typically 50 to 100 milligrams per day are prescribed in most patients. Children will have their dosage determined by their doctor based on their specific medical situation. Overdose of this medication can pose life-threatening risks; immediately help should be sought if you feel you have taken too much Atenolol.

Pregnant women should not take Atenolol, nor should women of child bearing age risk becoming pregnant during treatment with this drug, as it is known to cause fetal harm. No data for breastfeeding mothers and how Atenolol is passed through the breast milk is known. Breastfeeding mothers are urged to disclose the fact that they are breastfeeding to their doctor before beginning treatment with Atenolol.

Atenolol may cause heart failure or changes in your blood sugar. If you experience any cardiovascular symptoms while on Atenolol, seek help immediately. If your blood or urine sugar tests have had different results, check with your doctor immediately.

Store Atenolol medication out of sight and reach of children, in the original packaging, at room temperature and away from heat, light and moisture.

Last Reviewed:
December 22, 2017
Last Updated:
April 02, 2018