May 1, 2017
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Side Effects


Clinical Trials Experience

Because clinical trials are conducted under widely varying conditions, adverse reaction rates observed in the clinical trials of a drug cannot be directly compared to rates in the clinical trials of another drug and may not reflect the rates observed in clinical practice.

The following adverse reaction rates are based on use of BREVIBLOC (Esmolol Hydrochloride) in clinical trials involving 369 patients with supraventricular tachycardia and over 600 intraoperative and postoperative patients enrolled in clinical trials. Most adverse effects observed in controlled clinical trial settings have been mild and transient. The most important and common adverse effect has been hypotension [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS]. Deaths have been reported in post-marketing experience occurring during complex clinical states where BREVIBLOC was presumably being used simply to control ventricular rate [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].

Table 3 : Clinical Trial Adverse Reactions (Frequency ≥ 3%)

System Organ Class (SOC) Preferred MedDRA Term Frequency
Asymptomatic hypotension 25%
Symptomatic hypotension (hyperhidrosis, dizziness) 12%
GENERAL DISORDERS AND ADMINISTRATION SITE CONDITIONS Infusion site reactions (inflammation and induration) 8%
Somnolence 3%
* Hypotension resolved during BREVIBLOC (Esmolol Hydrochloride) infusion in 63% of patients. In 80% of the remaining patients, hypotension resolved within 30 minutes following discontinuation of infusion.

Clinical Trial Adverse Reactions (Frequency < 3%)

Psychiatric Disorders

Confusional state and agitation (~2%)

Anxiety, depression and abnormal thinking ( < 1%)

Nervous System Disorders

Headache (~ 2%)

Paresthesia, syncope, speech disorder, and lightheadedness ( < 1%)

Convulsions ( < 1%), with one death

Vascular Disorders

Peripheral ischemia (~1%)

Pallor and flushing ( < 1%)

Gastrointestinal Disorders

Vomiting (~1%)

Dyspepsia, constipation, dry mouth, and abdominal discomfort ( < 1%)

Renal and Urinary Disorders

Urinary retention ( < 1%)

Post-Marketing Experience

In addition to the adverse reactions reported in clinical trials, the following adverse reactions have been reported in the post-marketing experience. Because these reactions are reported voluntarily from a population of uncertain size, it is not always possible to estimate reliably their frequency or to establish a causal relationship to drug exposure.

Cardiac Disorders

Cardiac arrest, Coronary arteriospasm

Skin and Subcutaneous Tissue Disorders

Angioedema, Urticaria, Psoriasis

Read the Brevibloc (esmolol) Side Effects Center for a complete guide to possible side effects


Concomitant use of BREVIBLOC injection with other drugs that can lower blood pressure, reduce myocardial contractility, or interfere with sinus node function or electrical impulse propagation in the myocardium can exaggerate BREVIBLOC's effects on blood pressure, contractility, and impulse propagation. Severe interactions with such drugs can result in, for example, severe hypotension, cardiac failure, severe bradycardia, sinus pause, sinoatrial block, atrioventricular block, and/or cardiac arrest. In addition, with some drugs, beta blockade may precipitate increased withdrawal effects. (See clonidine, guanfacine, and moxonidine below.) BREVIBLOC should therefore be used only after careful individual assessment of the risks and expected benefits in patients receiving drugs that can cause these types of pharmacodynamic interactions, including but not limited to:

  • Digitalis glycosides: Concomitant administration of digoxin and BREVIBLOC leads to an approximate 10% to 20% increase of digoxin blood levels at some time points. Digoxin does not affect BREVIBLOC pharmacokinetics. Both digoxin and beta blockers slow atrioventricular conduction and decrease heart rate. Concomitant use increases the risk of bradycardia.
  • Anticholinesterases: BREVIBLOC prolonged the duration of succinylcholine-induced neuromuscular blockade and moderately prolonged clinical duration and recovery index of mivacurium.
  • Antihypertensive agents clonidine, guanfacine, or moxonidine: Beta blockers also increase the risk of clonidine-, guanfacine-, or moxonidine-withdrawal rebound hypertension. If, during concomitant use of a beta blocker, antihypertensive therapy needs to be interrupted or discontinued, discontinue the beta blocker first, and the discontinuation should be gradual.
  • Calcium channel antagonists: In patients with depressed myocardial function, use of BREVIBLOC with cardiodepressant calcium channel antagonists (e.g., verapamil) can lead to fatal cardiac arrests.
  • Sympathomimetic drugs: Sympathomimetic drugs having beta-adrenergic agonist activity will counteract effects of BREVIBLOC.
  • Vasoconstrictive and positive inotropic agents: Because of the risk of reducing cardiac contractility in presence of high systemic vascular resistance, do not use BREVIBLOC to control tachycardia in patients receiving drugs that are vasoconstrictive and have positive inotropic effects, such as epinephrine, norepinephrine, and dopamine.

Read the Brevibloc Drug Interactions Center for a complete guide to possible interactions

This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.

Last reviewed on RxList: 2/29/2016

Side Effects

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