Atenolol is classified as a Beta blocker. Any beta blocker is going to work by blocking the action on the heart. Its main action is to slow the Heart rate down. It is used for high blood pressure and heart disease such as a Myocardial infarction (heart attack), angina or CHF. It is important to know why you’re using your medicine so you can tell your doctor if it is not working. You take this medicine if you have high blood pressure and it works by slowing you heart rate down; you are effectively lowering the pressure that your heart puts on the blood vessels. We call this pressure after your heart beat; your afterload as part of the cardiac cycle. As you lower your blood pressure you effectively lower the work load your heart needs to pump. By lessening the work your heart does you lessen the exercise your heart does and your symptoms of angina or heart attack will lessen and not return.
Stopping this medication abruptly with patients with CAD will cause the symptoms of angina to be worse therefore great care must be made when stopping this medicine. Always talk to your doctor before changing your medication.
Do not take Atenolol if your heart is less than 60 beats per minute and call your doctor. By taking your medicine to lower your heart rate when your heart is already low you are inviting the possibility of passing out and developing low blood pressure. So if your heart rate is less than 60 call your doctor and/or your other health professionals. Your dose needs to be adjusted or they may be drug interactions that you don’t know about. If your blood pressure is less than 100 systolic then you should hold your medicine and call your doctor. If your doctor is not available then a walk in doctor or an emergency doctor will do in a pinch. Any blood pressure medicine that you take then you should be checking your blood pressure by using a blood pressure monitor. If your blood pressure is less than 100 systolic prior to taking you blood pressure medicine and you take your medicine as prescribed then you may pass out or worse. So please check your blood pressure and call your doctor if you are unsure.
This medicine works the similar to Metoprolol and sometimes doctors prefer one medicine over another due to preference and comfort. Therefore if you are taking another similar medicine prescribed by another doctor then your primary doctor has to know what you are taking. Below are sample pills for easy identification.