"What are beta blockers?
The class of drugs called beta blockers were given their name because this class of medications counteracts the stimulatory effects of epinephrine (adrenaline) on the so-called beta-adrenergic receptors found"...
Sympathetic stimulation is necessary in supporting circulatory function in congestive heart failure, and beta blockade carries the potential hazard of further depressing myocardial contractility and precipitating more severe failure.
In patients with acute myocardial infarction, cardiac failure which is not promptly and effectively controlled by 80 mg of intravenous furosemide or equivalent therapy is a contraindication to beta-blocker treatment.
In Patients Without a History of Cardiac Failure
Continued depression of the myocardium with beta-blocking agents over a period of time can, in some cases, lead to cardiac failure. At the first sign or symptom of impending cardiac failure, patients should be treated appropriately according to currently recommended guidelines, and the response observed closely. If cardiac failure continues despite adequate treatment, TENORMIN should be withdrawn. (See DOSAGE AND ADMNISTRATION)
Cessation of Therapy with TENORMIN (atenolol tablets)
Patients with coronary artery disease, who are being treated with TENORMIN (atenolol tablets) , should be advised against abrupt discontinuation of therapy. Severe exacerbation of angina and the occurrence of myocardial infarction and ventricular arrhythmias have been reported in angina patients following the abrupt discontinuation of therapy with beta blockers. The last two complications may occur with or without preceding exacerbation of the angina pectoris. As with other beta blockers, when discontinuation of TENORMIN (atenolol tablets) is planned, the patients should be carefully observed and advised to limit physical activity to a minimum. If the angina worsens or acute coronary insufficiency develops, it is recommended that TENORMIN (atenolol tablets) be promptly reinstituted, as least temporarily. Because coronary artery disease is common and may be unrecognized, it may be prudent not to discontinue TENORMIN (atenolol tablets) therapy abruptly even in patients treated only for hypertension. (See DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION.)
Concomitant Use of Calcium Channel Blockers
Bradycardia and heart block can occur and the left ventricular end diastolic pressure can rise when beta-blockers are administered with verapamil or diltiazem. Patients with pre-existing conduction abnormalities or left ventricular dysfunction are particularly susceptible. (See PRECAUTIONS.)
PATIENTS WITH BRONCHOSPASTIC DISEASE SHOULD, IN GENERAL, NOT RECEIVE BETA BLOCKERS. Because of its relative beta1 selectivity, however, TENORMIN (atenolol tablets) may be used with caution in patients with bronchospastic disease who do not respond to, or cannot tolerate, other antihypertensive treatment. Since beta1 selectivity is not absolute, the lowest possible dose of TENORMIN (atenolol tablets) should be used with therapy initiated at 50 mg and a beta2-stimulating agent (bronchodilator) should be made available. If dosage must be increased, dividing the dose should be considered in order to achieve lower peak blood levels.
Anesthesia and Major Surgery
It is not advisable to withdraw beta-adrenoreceptor blocking drugs prior to surgery in the majority of patients. However, care should be taken when using anesthetic agents such as those which may depress the myocardium. Vagal dominance, if it occurs, may be corrected with atropine (1-2 mg IV).
TENORMIN (atenolol tablets) , like other beta blockers, is a competitive inhibitor of beta-receptor agonists and its effects on the heart can be reversed by administration of such agents: eg, dobutamine or isoproterenol with caution (see section on OVERDOSAGE).
Diabetes and Hypoglycemia
TENORMIN (atenolol tablets) should be used with caution in diabetic patients if a beta-blocking agent is required. Beta blockers may mask tachycardia occurring with hypoglycemia, but other manifestations such as dizziness and sweating may not be significantly affected. At recommended doses TENORMIN (atenolol tablets) does not potentiate insulin-induced hypoglycemia and, unlike nonselective beta blockers, does not delay recovery of blood glucose to normal levels.
Beta-adrenergic blockade may mask certain clinical signs (eg, tachycardia) of hyperthyroidism. Abrupt withdrawal of beta blockade might precipitate a thyroid storm; therefore, patients suspected of developing thyrotoxicosis from whom TENORMIN (atenolol tablets) therapy is to be withdrawn should be monitored closely. (See DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION.)
TENORMIN (atenolol tablets) should not be given to patients with untreated pheochromocytoma.
Pregnancy and Fetal Injury
Atenolol can cause fetal harm when administered to a pregnant woman. Atenolol crosses the placental barrier and appears in cord blood. Administration of atenolol, starting in the second trimester of pregnancy, has been associated with the birth of infants that are small for gestational age. No studies have been performed on the use of atenolol in the first trimester and the possibility of fetal injury cannot be excluded. If this drug is used during pregnancy, or if the patient becomes pregnant while taking this drug, the patient should be apprised of the potential hazard to the fetus.
Neonates born to mothers who are receiving TENORMIN (atenolol tablets) at parturition or breast-feeding may be at risk for hypoglycemia and bradycardia. Caution should be exercised when TENORMIN (atenolol tablets) is administered during pregnancy or to a woman who is breast-feeding. (See PRECAUTIONS, Nursing Mothers.)
Atenolol has been shown to produce a dose-related increase in embryo/fetal resorptions in rats at doses equal to or greater than 50 mg/kg/day or 25 or more times the maximum recommended human antihypertensive dose1. Although similar effects were not seen in rabbits, the compound was not evaluated in rabbits at doses above 25 mg/kg/day or 12.5 times the maximum recommended human antihypertensive dose.1
1Based on the maximum dose of 100 mg/day in a 50 kg patient.
Patients already on a beta blocker must be evaluated carefully before TENORMIN (atenolol tablets) is administered. Initial and subsequent
TENORMIN (atenolol tablets) dosages can be adjusted downward depending on clinical observations including pulse and blood pressure. TENORMIN (atenolol tablets) may aggravate peripheral arterial circulatory disorders.
Impaired Renal Function
The drug should be used with caution in patients with impaired renal function. (See DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION.)
Carcinogenesis, Mutagenesis, Impairment of Fertility
Two long-term (maximum dosing duration of 18 or 24 months) rat studies and one long-term (maximum dosing duration of 18 months) mouse study, each employing dose levels as high as 300 mg/kg/day or 150 times the maximum recommended human antihypertensive dose1, did not indicate a carcinogenic potential of atenolol. A third (24 month) rat study, employing doses of 500 and 1,500 mg/kg/day (250 and 750 times the maximum recommended human antihypertensive dose1) resulted in increased incidences of benign adrenal medullary tumors in males and females, mammary fibroadenomas in females, and anterior pituitary adenomas and thyroid parafollicular cell carcinomas in males. No evidence of a mutagenic potential of atenolol was uncovered in the dominant lethal test (mouse), in vivo cytogenetics test (Chinese hamster) or Ames test (S typhimurium).
Fertility of male or female rats (evaluated at dose levels as high as 200 mg/kg/day or 100 times the maximum recommended human dose1) was unaffected by atenolol administration.
Usage in Pregnancy
Pregnancy Category D
See WARNINGS - Pregnancy and Fetal Injury.
Atenolol is excreted in human breast milk at a ratio of 1.5 to 6.8 when compared to the concentration in plasma. Caution should be exercised when TENORMIN (atenolol tablets) is administered to a nursing woman. Clinically significant bradycardia has been reported in breast-fed infants. Premature infants, or infants with impaired renal function, may be more likely to develop adverse effects.
Neonates born to mothers who are receiving TENORMIN (atenolol tablets) at parturition or breast-feeding may be at risk for hypoglycemia and bradycardia. Caution should be exercised when TENORMIN (atenolol tablets) is administered during pregnancy or to a woman who is breast-feeding (See WARNINGS, Pregnancy and Fetal Injury).
Safety and effectiveness in pediatric patients have not been established.
Hypertension and Angina Pectoris Due to Coronary Atherosclerosis
Clinical studies of TENORMIN (atenolol tablets) did not include sufficient number of patients aged 65 and over to determine whether they respond differently from younger subjects. Other reported clinical experience has not identified differences in responses between the elderly and younger patients. In general, dose selection for an elderly patient should be cautious, usually starting at the low end of the dosing range, reflecting the greater frequency of decreased hepatic, renal, or cardiac function, and of concomitant disease or other drug therapy.
Acute Myocardial Infarction
Of the 8,037 patients with suspected acute myocardial infarction randomized to TENORMIN in the ISIS-1 trial (See CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY), 33% (2,644) were 65 years of age and older. It was not possible to identify significant differences in efficacy and safety between older and younger patients; however, elderly patients with systolic blood pressure < 120 mmHg seemed less likely to benefit (See INDICATIONS).
In general, dose selection for an elderly patient should be cautious, usually starting at the low end of the dosing range, reflecting greater frequency of decreased hepatic, renal, or cardiac function, and of concomitant disease or other drug therapy. Evaluation of patients with hypertension or myocardial infarction should always include assessment of renal function.
Last reviewed on RxList: 11/1/2010
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.
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