font size

Definition of Beta blocker

Beta blocker: A class of drugs that block the effect of beta-adrenergic substances such as adrenaline (epinephrine), that play a key role in the sympathetic portion of the involuntary nervous system. By blocking the action of the sympathetic nervous system on the heart, they slow the heartbeat and relieve stress on the heart. Beta blockers are used to treat abnormal heart rhythms, specifically to prevent abnormally fast heart rates (tachycardias) or irregular heart rhythms, such as premature ventricular beats. Because beta blockers reduce the demand of the heart muscle for oxygen, they can be useful in treating angina. They have also become important drugs in improving survival after a heart attack. Due to their effect on blood vessels, beta blockers can lower the blood pressure and are of value in the treatment of hypertension. Other uses include the prevention of migraine headaches and the treatment of familial or hereditary essential tremors. Beta blockers reduce pressure within the eye and they are therefore used to lessen the risk of damage to the optic nerve and loss of vision in patients with glaucoma. Beta blockers include acebutolol (brand name: Sectral), atenolol (brand name: Tenormin), bisoprolol (brand name: Zebeta), metoprol (brand names: Lopressor, Lopressor LA, Toprol XL), nadolol (brand name: Corgard), and timolol (brand name: Blocadren). Topical beta blockers for the eye include timolol ophthalmic solution (brand name: Timoptic) and betaxolol hydrochloride (brand name: Betoptic).

Source: MedTerms™ Medical Dictionary
http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=2452
Last Editorial Review: 3/19/2012

Drug Medical Dictionary of Terms by Letter

Top RxList Drug News

Women's Health

Find out what women really need.

advertisement
advertisement
Use Pill Finder Find it Now See Interactions

Pill Identifier on RxList

  • quick, easy,
    pill identification

Find a Local Pharmacy

  • including 24 hour, pharmacies

Interaction Checker

  • Check potential drug interactions
Search the Medical Dictionary for Health Definitions & Medical Abbreviations

NIH talks about Ebola on WebMD