Atenolol helps bring your blood pressure into a normal range and protect you from the health risks of high blood pressure. To keep up your protection, it's important you don't miss doses of your atenolol.
If you need more of your atenolol, you can reorder from us.
Fill in a short assessment and your online doctor will check your request to make sure it's still safe for you to take your medication. If it is, we can post your medication to you with free delivery, or you can collect it from your preferred post office.
How to take atenolol
Atenolol is usually taken by mouth and is normally supplied as a tablet, although oral solutions are available for people who cannot take tablets. Here’s how to take your atenolol:
- It should be taken with water and can be taken with or without food
- The manufacturer advises that alcohol should be avoided while taking this medicine. Alcohol is known to increase blood pressure and should be reduced as part of changes to your lifestyle to control your blood pressure
- Doses should be taken evenly apart, or close to the same time each day. There is no set time for taking the medicine. You should discuss with your doctor whether it would be better to take it in the morning (so that it works best during the day when your blood pressure is higher), or at night (so you are less likely to experience dizziness or feeling lightheaded)
- If you forget to take a dose then take it as soon as you remember. However, if you missed your dose by more than a day then do not double-up, take the next dose as normal
How quickly will it work? – atenolol can start working to calm the heart within just one hour of taking it. And, after around two to four hours, it is almost fully absorbed into the body. It can take a week or two of regular use before the full effect of reducing your blood pressure can be achieved. If after a couple of weeks your blood pressure is still too high, your doctor may recommend increasing your dose of atenolol.
Please note – you may not feel anything but that doesn’t mean your medication is not working.
Common side effects
Common side effects of atenolol include:
- Cold hands and feet – up to 12 in every 100 people experience this. If you feel very cold, contact your doctor
- Slow heartbeat – around three in every 100 people experience this. It can make you feel tired, weak and dizzy. Contact your doctor if you think your heart rate is too slow
- Diarrhoea and nausea (feeling sick) – between two and four people in every 100 may experience this
- Orthostatic hypotension – this is when you feel dizzy or lightheaded after standing up. It can affect between two to four people per 100. If you feel like you are going to faint, you should contact your doctor. Stand slowly, climb stairs carefully, and be cautious about driving or using machines
- Tiredness – affects between one and ten people per 100
- Aching and tired muscles – affects between one and ten people per 100. Up to three people per 100 experience pain in their legs
- Stomach pains, heartburn and constipation – affects between one and ten people per 100
Atenolol is medicine used for conditions of the heart and circulatory system, including:
- High blood pressure (hypertension)
- Angina pectoris (chest pain)
- Irregular heartbeat
- After a heart attack
- It is also sometimes used to prevent migraines
How does it work? - atenolol is a medicine from a family called beta-blockers. It can block some of the beta-receptors on your heart muscles making the heart beat slower and more gently.
In people with hypertension, the blood is under too much pressure inside the blood vessels, this puts extra strain on the body which can cause damage. The heart is the pump that pushes blood around the body (it’s where the pressure comes from), so by calming the heart, atenolol can allow the pressure in your blood vessels to reduce.
Why is it important to take atenolol? - it's important to take medicine to control your blood pressure as having high blood pressure puts extra strain on your body that it is not used to coping with. Constant high blood pressure can cause damage your heart, circulatory system, brain, kidneys, and eyes.
By taking medicines to lower your blood pressure, you can reduce your risk of developing the following conditions:
- Heart failure - when your heart is too stiff or weak to work properly.
- Coronary artery disease - when a blockage forms in the vessels that power the heart, which can lead to chest pain or a heart attack
- Stroke or vascular dementia - when the brain is damaged because blood cannot reach it properly.
- Chronic kidney disease - when the kidneys no longer work properly.
- Peripheral arterial disease - when the blood cannot reach the legs properly, which can cause pain and ulcers
If you’re already taking atenolol - you can reorder your medication using an online doctor service like ours. Complete a quick, free online health assessment and your online doctor will check your Atenolol is still right for you. If it is, we will be able to post up to 6 months worth of your medication to your door.
you’re not already taking atenolol - you’ll need to see your doctor to talk to them about starting it, so that they can make sure it’s right for you. Atenolol is not usually the preferred first treatment option for managing high blood pressure, but if you cannot take other medicines for health reasons, or if they are not effective enough, your doctor may recommend atenolol.
How do I know if I need atenolol? - you may be diagnosed with hypertension if your blood pressure is 140/90 mmHg or higher. There are a few places you can get your blood pressure checked:
- Your nurse or GP
- Some pharmacies
- Some workplaces
- Some health events
- At home with a blood pressure monitor
Even if you get your blood pressure checked somewhere else, your GP will need to check again before they can diagnose you with high blood pressure. One test isn’t enough to know for sure, so your GP may need to organise a 24 hour measurement to confirm your high blood pressure.
Should I be worried about high blood pressure? - you are more likely to get high blood pressure if you:
- Have family members with high blood pressure
- Are from an African or Caribbean family heritage
- You are older, as the risk increases with age
- You eat too much salt
- You are overweight
- You drink alcohol regularly
- You smoke
- You don’t exercise enough
- You have bad sleeping patterns
Who shouldn't take atenolol? - atenolol is not the right medication for everyone. A doctor needs to check if it’s right for you before you start taking it. You should not take atenolol if you have any of the following conditions:
- An allergy to atenolol
- Certain heart conditions that affect the rhythm or the signals through the heart or that mean that your have a slow heart rate
- Uncontrolled heart failure
- Have low blood pressure
- Suffer from severe blood circulation problems, which may cause your fingers and toes to tingle or turn pale
- Suffer from increased acidity of the blood (metabolic acidosis)
- Suffer from untreated phaeochromocytoma (high blood pressure due to a tumour near the kidney)
- Have or have had breathing problems such as asthma, difficulty breathing due to narrowing of the airways or reversible obstructive airways disease
- Have a history of wheezing or asthma
- Have recently received treatment or are being treated with intravenous verapamil or diltiazem
In addition, you should take special care with atenolol and tell your doctor if you:
- Have a history of allergic reactions
- Have heart problems such as heart failure, untreated congestive heart failure, ischaemic heart disease, poor heart function (poor cardiac reserve), first-degree heart block or irregular heartbeat
- Suffer from blood circulation problems, which may cause your fingers and toes to tingle or turn pale, or cramping pain causing limping (intermittent claudication)
- Suffer with diabetes mellitus (this medicine may hide low blood sugar levels)
- Have impaired liver or kidney function
- Are elderly
- Suffer from a tight, painful feeling in the chest in periods of rest (Prinzmetal's angina)
- Have or have had psoriasis
- Suffer from treated phaeochromocytoma (high blood pressure due to a tumour near the kidney)
- Have high levels of thyroid hormone in the body (thyrotoxicosis)
- Suffer from obstruction of the lungs or airways (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
- Are about to undergo surgery where an anaesthetic will be used (including dentistry)
Yes - atenolol is commonly used with other medicines for the treatment of hypertension. A doctor might prescribe you other medications alongside your atenolol. Beta-blockers like atenolol are often added to therapy with:
- Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (ACE inhibitors); OR
- Angiotensin-receptor blockers (ARBs)
They also work particularly well with certain diuretic medicine (medicine that makes your urinate more) to bring your blood pressure down. Atenolol is often used in conjunction with other medicines for preventing secondary diseases including aspirin, statins, and certain calcium-channel blockers (CCBs).
Atenolol can react with some medications so they shouldn’t be taken at the same time. You shouldn’t take atenolol if you’re also taking any of the following:
In addition, you should speak to your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking any of the following:
- Contrast media (injection used with X-rays)
- Sympathomimetic medicines (some decongestant, asthma or heart medicines)
How can lifestyle changes work alongside the medication? - by making changes to your lifestyle in addition to taking medicine, you can reduce your risk of high blood pressure damaging your body by tackling the problem from multiple angles. Medication is important to prevent the immediate health risks of high blood pressure because lifestyle changes can take time to work. But lifestyle changes can help in the long-term, you might even be able to replace your medication with lifestyle changes at some point.
It is possible to boost the effectiveness of your blood pressure therapy by making the following changes to your lifestyle:
- Less salt in your diet
- More fruit and vegetables in your diet
- Losing weight
- Less full-fat dairy and more low-fat dairy in your diet
- Drinking less alcohol
- More whole-grain foods (brown rice, oatmeal, etc.)
- Staying active and exercising regularly
- Drinking less caffeine
- Fewer sweets and less red meat
- More lean meat (chicken, fish, etc.)
- More unsalted nuts, beans or seeds
- Less sugary drinks
- Fish oil supplements
- Quit smoking
- Potassium, calcium or magnesium supplements
- Getting enough sleep at night
It is possible you could get side effects- as with all medicines, atenolol is known to cause some side effects:
- Not everybody will experience side effects, but it is important you know what they are
- You may experience some side effects when you first start taking atenolol that will pass over time as your body gets used to the new medicine
- Some side effects may depend on the dose, only appearing or getting worse once your dose is increased
If you are concerned that you are experiencing a severe or serious side effect, you should speak with your doctor. They may be able to offer advice on how to overcome the problem or change your dose or prescription. It's important to get a medical opinion since any new issues could be a symptom of a new condition.
Less common side effects include:
- Increased levels of liver enzymes - affects between one to ten of every 1,000 people
- Difficulty sleeping - affects between one to ten of every 1,000 people
Other rare side effects have also been reported. Make sure you carefully read the patient information leaflet supplied in the medicine packaging. The leaflet is also available to view online.
You should contact your doctor immediately if you experience any of the following:
- Allergic reaction - itching, difficulty breathing or swelling of the face, lips, throat or tongue
- Altered numbers and types of red blood cells - increased bruising, nosebleeds, sore throats or infections. A blood test may be necessary
- Breathing difficulties - caused by narrowing of the airways in people who have asthma or have had breathing problems
- Heart attack or shock
How do I stop my medicine? - it is important to never suddenly stop taking atenolol suddenly. In order to stop atenolol, your dose must be gradually reduced over a period of about two weeks to allow your body to adjust to the change. This should only be done after discussing this with your doctor or nurse. Suddenly stopping can put some people at an increased risk of developing chest pain or heart attack.
Talk to your GP before stopping your atenolol if you are worried about any of the following:
- Side effects
- That your medication isn’t working
- That you might be allergic to one of the ingredients
- That you might be pregnant
- That atenolol is the wrong medication for you
Don't stop without discussing your decision with a doctor - if you have been prescribed any medicines to control your blood pressure, it is essential that you continue to take them. While certain changes to your lifestyle can bring down your blood pressure naturally, the change may not be enough by itself, or it might take too long to make a difference.
Continuous high blood pressure puts you at risk of developing a serious disease that could cause disability or death. If you are having problems with your medicine, you should speak to your doctor. They may be able to adjust your dose or switch you to an alternative treatment that is more appropriate.
Stopping when you're ready - hypertension is a long-term condition. Once your blood pressure is under control, you need to continue taking your medicine to keep it under control. Your doctor will see you at least once a year to see how you are doing. While it is possible that your doctor may recommend a trial period without medicine, this usually only happens if your blood pressure has been well controlled for a long time using just one medicine, and you've made lifestyle changes to help bring it down.
How do I switch my medicine? - if you are not getting on well with atenolol, you should speak to your doctor. There are alternative treatment options available for hypertension, angina pectoris and migraines that might suit you better.
Similar medications to atenolol - atenolol is from a family of medicines called beta-blockers. There are many other beta-blocker medicines available that may be more or less suitable for you.
The efficacy of all beta-blockers (% of people who find them useful) for hypertension is similar, and there is no strong evidence that any one beta-blocker, in particular, is better than any other for managing the conditions. The decision normally comes down to your other health conditions.
Some widely used beta-blockers include:
- Acebutolol - suitable for angina; less used in hypertension. May need to be taken more than once daily. Less suitable with kidney or liver disease
- Bisoprolol - recommended for people with both angina and hypertension, especially in people who have heart failure
- Carvedilol - suitable for angina or hypertension, especially in people who have heart failure
- Metoprolol - recommended for people with both angina and hypertension, especially in people who have had a heart attack; also used for preventing migraines and symptoms of hyperthyroidism. May need to be taken more than once daily. Less suitable with liver disease
- Nadolol - suitable for angina; less used in hypertension; also used for preventing migraines. Usually taken once daily. Less suitable with kidney disease
- Nebivolol - suitable for hypertension, especially in people who have heart failure; less used in angina
- Oxprenolol - suitable for angina; less used in hypertension; also used for physical symptoms of anxiety. May need to be taken more than once daily
- Pindolol - suitable for angina; less used in hypertension. May need to be taken more than once daily. Less suitable with liver disease
- Propranolol - recommended for preventing migraines; suitable for angina or hypertension, especially in people who have had a heart attack; also used for physical symptoms of anxiety. May need to be taken more than once daily. Less suitable with liver disease
- Timolol - suitable for angina or hypertension, especially in people who have had a heart attack; also used for preventing migraines. May need to be taken more than once daily. Less suitable with liver disease
Your doctor will be able to best guide you if you are considering switching to a different beta-blocker.
Remember, if you do switch medication you may still be able to reorder your medicine easily online using Zava, once you’re stable on your new treatment.
In order to avoid related health risks, your blood pressure needs to be kept within the normal range. Because of this, you shouldn’t miss doses of your blood pressure treatment if possible. You reorder your treatment quickly and conveniently from Zava, to avoid running out.