July 29, 2016
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"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"...



Side Effects


Most adverse reactions have been mild. The incidences listed in the following table are derived from 12-week comparative double-blind, parallel design trials in hypertensive patients given Visken ® (pindolol) as monotherapy, given various active control drugs as monotherapy, or given placebo. Data for Visken® (pindolol) and the positive controls were pooled from several trials because no striking differences were seen in the individual studies, with 1 exception. When considering all adverse reactions reported, the frequency of edema was noticeably higher in positive control trials [16% Visken® (pindolol) vs. 9% positive control] than in placebo controlled trials [6%Visken® (pindolol) vs. 3% placebo]. The table includes adverse reactions either volunteered or elicited, and at least possibly drug related, which were reported in greater than 2% of Visken® (pindolol) patients and other selected important reactions.

Adverse Reactions Which Were Volunteered or Elicited (and at least possibly drug related)

Body System/Adverse Reactions Visken ® (pindolol)
(N=322) %
Active Controls*
(N=188) %
(N=78) %
Central Nervous System
  Bizarre or Many Dreams 5 0 6
  Dizziness 9 11 1
  Fatigue 8 4 4
  Hallucinations <1 0  
  Insomnia 10 3 10
  Nervousness 7 3 5
  Weakness 4 2 1
Autonomic Nervous System
  Paresthesia 3 1 6
  Dyspnea 5 4 6
  Edema 6 3 1
  Heart Failure <1 <1 0
  Palpitations <1 1 0
  Chest Pain 3 1 3
  Joint Pain 7 4 4
  Muscle Cramps 3 1 0
  Muscle Pain 10 9 8
  Abdominal Discomfort 4 4 5
  Nausea 5 2 1
  Pruritus 1 <1 0
  Rash <1 <1 1
*Active Controls: Patients received either propranolol, a-methyldopa or a diuretic (hydrochlorothiazide or chlorthalidone).

The following selected (potentially important) adverse reactions were seen in 2% or fewer patients and their relationship to Visken ® (pindolol) is uncertain. CENTRAL NERVOUS SYSTEM: anxiety, lethargy; AUTONOMIC NERVOUS SYSTEM: visual disturbances, hyperhidrosis; CARDIOVASCULAR: bradycardia, claudication, cold extremities, heart block, hypotension, syncope, tachycardia, weight gain; GASTROINTESTINAL: diarrhea, vomiting; RESPIRATORY: wheezing; UROGENITAL: impotence, pollakiuria; MISCELLANEOUS: eye discomfort or burning eyes.

Potential Adverse Effects

In addition, other adverse effects not aforementioned have been reported with other beta-adrenergic blocking agents and should be considered potential adverse effects of Visken ® (pindolol).

Central Nervous System : Reversible mental depression progressing to catatonia; an acute reversible syndrome characterized by disorientation for time and place, short-term memory loss, emotional lability, slightly clouded sensorium, and decreased performance on neuropsychometrics.

Cardiovascular : Intensification of AV block. (See CONTRAINDICATIONS)

Allergic : Erythematous rash; fever combined with aching and sore throat; laryngospasm; respiratory distress.

Hematologic : Agranulocytosis; thrombocytopenic and nonthrombocytopenic purpura.

Gastrointestinal: Mesenteric arterial thrombosis; ischemic colitis.

Miscellaneous : Reversible alopecia; Peyronie's disease.

The oculomucocutaneous syndrome associated with the beta-blocker practolol has not been reported with Visken ® (pindolol) during investigational use and extensive foreign experience amounting to over 4 million patient-years.

Read the Visken (pindolol) Side Effects Center for a complete guide to possible side effects


Catecholamine-depleting drugs (e.g., reserpine) may have an additive effect when given with beta-blocking agents. Patients receiving Visken ® (pindolol) plus a catecholamine-depleting agent should, therefore, be closely observed for evidence of hypotension and/or marked bradycardia which may produce vertigo, syncope, or postural hypotension.

Visken ® (pindolol) has been used with a variety of antihypertensive agents, including hydrochlorothiazide, hydralazine, and guanethidine without unexpected adverse interactions.

Visken ® (pindolol) has been shown to increase serum thioridazine levels when both drugs are co-administered. Visken® (pindolol) levels may also be increased with this combination.

Risk of Anaphylactic Reaction

While taking beta blockers, patients with a history of severe anaphylactic reaction to a variety of allergens may be more reactive to repeated challenge, either accidental, diagnostic, or therapeutic. Such patients may be unresponsive to the usual doses of epinephrine used to treat allergic reaction.

Read the Visken 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: 2/13/2008

Side Effects

Visken - User Reviews

Visken User Reviews

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