Beta Blockers Drug Information
Annette (Gbemudu) Ogbru, PharmD, MBA
Dr. Gbemudu received her B.S. in Biochemistry from Nova Southeastern University, her PharmD degree from University of Maryland, and MBA degree from University of Baltimore. She completed a one year post-doctoral fellowship with Rutgers University and Bristol Myers Squibb.
- What are beta blockers and how do they work?
- For what conditions are beta blockers used?
- Are there differences among beta blockers?
- What are the side effects of beta blockers?
- What are the drug interactions?
- What are some examples of beta blockers?
What are beta blockers and how do they work?
Beta blockers, also known as beta-adrenergic blocking agents, are a class of drugs that works by blocking the neurotransmitters norepinephrine and epinephrine from binding to receptors. There are three known types of beta receptors, known as beta1 (β1), beta2 (β2) and beta3 (β3).
- β1-adrenergic receptors are located commonly in the
heart and kidneys.
- β2-adrenergic receptors are located mainly in the
smooth muscle, and
- β3- adrenergic receptors are located in fat cells.
When the neurotransmitters are prevented from binding to the receptors, it in turn causes the effects of adrenaline (epinephrine) to be blocked. This action allows the heart to relax and beat more slowly thereby reducing the amount of blood that the heart must pump. Over time, this action improves the pumping mechanism of the heart.
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