Active Ingredients

Atenolol – Effect, Application & Risks


Atenolol is one of the beta blockers . It is primarily used to treat arterial hypertension ( high blood pressure ) and some types of cardiac arrhythmias .

What is atenolol?

Atenolol is a drug that is one of the cardioselective beta-1 blockers. Beta blockers inhibit the so-called beta-adrenoceptors. These are receptor molecules that act on the messenger substances of the sympathetic nervous system, noradrenaline and adrenaline , or block their effects. These two substances are also known as stress hormones and, among other things, are responsible for the fact that the heartbeat accelerates, for example.

The structural components of beta blockers are similar to those of these two messenger substances. As a result, drugs with this group of active ingredients are used as competitive antagonists without triggering the effects of adrenaline and noradrenaline.

The administration of the active ingredient has a positive effect on the cardiovascular system . As a cardioselective beta blocker, atenolol acts primarily on the heart .

Pharmacological action

The effect of atenolol is achieved directly on the sinus node and thus directly on the heart. The sinus node is also known as the heart’s clock generator. It can be used to reduce the transmission of electrical impulses through the active ingredient atenolol.There, the active ingredient ensures that the heartbeat is reduced in terms of strength and frequency. This mode of action relieves the heart. In the case of existing cardiac arrhythmias , this can, for example, help the heart to find its way back to its usual rhythm.

In addition to the effect on the heartbeat, the administration of atenolol also has a blood pressure-lowering effect. The active ingredient also influences the so-called beta-1 receptors in the kidneys . This hinders the release of the hormone renin . This hormone increases blood pressure in the body.

It should be noted that taking atenolol may mask the signs of an overactive thyroid . This also applies to the otherwise typical symptoms of hypoglycaemia , which can occur in patients with diabetes mellitus .

Medical Application & Use

The preparation with the active ingredient atenolol can be used both for the treatment of existing heart diseases and for prevention. Atenolol is often used to treat some specific cardiac arrhythmias.

The remedy is also used for angina pectoris and coronary heart disease. For prevention, the preparation is used, for example, in high blood pressure to prevent heart problems. Depending on the type of dosage, this substance is also used to treat heart and circulatory problems.

The mode of action of atenolol starts after a few hours when administered in the form of tablets. The active ingredient can be quickly absorbed by the body via the gastrointestinal tract and unfold its effect. The mode of action of atenolol can be accelerated by administering the agent injected through the veins . As a result, the effect can already occur within a few minutes.

Due to the fast mode of action, the preparation can not only be used in the long term, but it is also used for emergency treatment. This measure is carried out in the case of acute heart disorders, such as heart attacks .

The administration of the drug must always be medically monitored, because the blood sugar and the blood count must be checked regularly. Liver and kidney function should also be subject to certain controls during therapy so that any complications can be recognized quickly.

Risks & side effects

Taking atenolol can limit your ability to react. This can affect working and using machines and driving. Other risks associated with taking atenolol include allergies and circulatory and kidney dysfunction . An existing tendency to hypoglycaemia can also be negatively supported.In some cases, taking the preparation can trigger allergic reactions. Possible uncommon side effects of atenolol include headache , visual disturbances , sleep disturbances , fatigue and dizziness .

Gastrointestinal complaints, muscle weakness , hallucinations and some other side effects can also occur depending on the dosage and type of preparation. Side effects such as shortness of breath , erectile dysfunction or dry mouth are less common .


Lisa Newlon
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Hello! I am Lisa Newlon, and I am a medical writer and researcher with over 10 years of experience in the healthcare industry. I have a Master’s degree in Medicine, and my deep understanding of medical terminology, practices, and procedures has made me a trusted source of information in the medical world.