Treatment with Beta Blockers (cont.)
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
In this Article
- What are beta blockers?
- What are examples of beta blockers?
- What conditions are beta blockers prescribed to treat?
- What are the side effects of beta blockers?
What conditions are beta blockers prescribed to treat?
Beta blockers can slow the passage of impulses through the heart, so they can also be valuable drugs for the management of cardiac arrhythmias (disruptions in the normal rhythm of the heart beat). Beta blockers have also been used in the treatment of the following conditions:
- social anxiety,
- some kinds of tremors, and
- in certain cases of mitral valve prolapse.
What are the side effects of beta blockers?
Drowsiness, fatigue, dizziness, and weakness are the most common side effects reported by patients who take beta blockers. Other side effects that may occur are dry mouth and eyes, dry skin, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting, and feelings of coldness in the hands and feet. Less commonly, a decreased sex drive, shortness of breath, and sleep disturbances have been reported. Beta blockers are typically not prescribed for people suffering from asthma due to their potential for triggering an asthma attack. In people with diabetes, they can sometimes mask the symptoms of low blood sugar levels.
REFERENCE: Fauci, Anthony S., et al. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine. 17th ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Professional, 2011.
Last Editorial Review: 9/10/2013
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