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Product Overview

Atenolol (generic Tenormin)

  • What is atenolol?
    Atenolol (generic Tenormin) is a prescription drug used to treat high blood pressure, migraines, heart failure, and chest pain. It can help improve recovery rates in patients who have suffered a heart attack.

    Tell your doctor about any preexisting conditions before beginning atenolol. You should also tell your doctor if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or plan to become pregnant.

  • What are common side effects of atenolol?
    While adverse reactions to atenolol are rare, some patients who take the drug may experience mild side effects including dizziness, lightheadedness, tiredness, drowsiness, depression, nausea, and diarrhea.

    Rare, more serious adverse events have also been known to occur, such as These include shortness of breath, weight gain, fainting, and swelling of the hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs. If you experience any of these symptoms, contact your provider immediately.

    This is not a complete list of side effects. For more information on side effects you may experience while taking atenolol, please visit the National Institutes of Health’s DailyMed webpage.

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Medically Reviewed By Dr. Allison Edwards, MD

Frequently asked questions about atenolol

What is atenolol?

Atenolol (Brand name Tenormin) is an antihypertensive prescription drug that is used to treat high blood pressure (hypertension) and chest pain (angina pectoris), and to improve survival and recovery rates after a heart attack. Nearly half of adults in the United States have high blood pressure. When left untreated, this condition can cause heart disease, heart failure, kidney disease, blood vessel damage, increased risk of a stroke or heart attack, and more.

Atenolol is in a class of drugs known as beta-blockers. It is generally taken in tablet form. If you are experiencing a heart attack, your doctors may administer atenolol through an injection. Once inside the body, atenolol relaxes the blood vessels and slows the heart rate. When taken in conjunction with lifestyle changes like diet and exercise, atenolol can improve blood flow and lower blood pressure.

What is atenolol used to treat?

The FDA has approved atenolol to treat hypertension and angina. Lowering blood pressure lowers the risk of cardiovascular problems, especially a heart attack or a stroke. It should be noted that, while atenolol is effective at controlling high blood pressure and angina, it does not cure these conditions.

It is also sometimes used to prevent migraines and to treat heart failure, irregular heartbeat, and alcohol withdrawal. Ask your doctor before using atenolol to treat any of these conditions.

How does atenolol work?

Atenolol belongs to a family of medicines known as beta-blockers. These medications are used to block the effects that the hormone adrenaline exerts on the body. By blocking adrenaline from interfering with your cardiac function, atenolol helps your heart beat more regularly, less forcefully, and more softly.

What are the most common side effects of atenolol?

It is important to remember that your doctor prescribed atenolol because its major benefit - reduced blood pressure - outweighs its potential adverse effects.

There are, however, some common side effects that patients taking atenolol have experienced. These may include dizziness, lightheadedness, tiredness, drowsiness, depression, nausea, and diarrhea. While uncommon, serious side effects can also occur. These include shortness of breath, weight gain, fainting, and swelling of the hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs. Some people may also experience allergic reactions. If you experience any of these, speak to your healthcare provider immediately.

Drug interactions have been known to occur with calcium channel blockers such as diltiazem and verapamil, clonidine (a common medication for ADHD), and NSAIDs such as indomethacin. Make sure your doctor and pharmacist are aware of all prescription and over-the-counter medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking.

Make sure you tell your healthcare provider if you have or have had asthma or other lung diseases; sinus bradycardia; a heart block greater than first degree; diabetes or hypoglycemia; severe allergies; hyperthyroidism (an overactive thyroid gland); pheochromocytoma (a tumor on a gland near the kidneys that may cause high blood pressure and fast heartbeat); heart failure; a slow heart rate; circulation problems; heart or kidney disease; or if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are currently breastfeeding.

This is not a complete list of atenolol side effects. To learn more about adverse reactions you may experience while taking atenolol, please visit the National Institutes of Health’s DailyMed webpage.

How long does it take for atenolol to work?

A significant reduction of exercise tachycardia occurs within the first hour of an oral dose. The maximal effects occur at the 2 to 4-hour mark and last for 24 hours. When administered intravenously, through an injection, atenolol reaches effect in about 5 minutes. However, it may take 1-2 weeks of continual use before you feel the full benefit. Continue to take atenolol even if you feel well. Do not stop taking atenolol without talking to your doctor.

What is the typical starting dose of atenolol?

Atenolol is generally taken orally. Depending on your needs, your doctor may prescribe a dosage of 25 mg, 50 mg, or 100 mg taken by mouth once or twice a day. If you are experiencing a heart attack, your doctor may administer atenolol intravenously through an injection in your arm.

Under no circumstances should you stop taking atenolol without consulting your doctor. Suddenly stopping atenolol is dangerous and may cause chest pain, heart attack, irregular heartbeat, ventricular arrhythmia. If your doctor feels that atenolol is no longer right for you, they will gradually reduce your dosage. If you miss a dose, don't worry. Just take the missed dose as soon as you remember. If it's almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and resume your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for the one that you missed.

Can I get atenolol over-the-counter?

Atenolol is currently only available via prescription. This means the use of this drug must be authorized by a licensed health care provider.

Looking for a prescription? Good news! Providers on Sesame can write a prescription – or refill an existing one – during a virtual or in-person visit. Depending on the medication, you can arrange for same-day pickup at a pharmacy near you or order the medication to be delivered to your door for just $5. Book an online consultation with a real, licensed provider on Sesame today to determine whether or not atenolol is right for you.

Note that all prescriptions are at the discretion of your health care provider. Providers on Sesame cannot prescribe controlled substances.

Can I get atenolol online?

Yes! Sesame offers a fully integrated prescription service, which means you can get the medication you need delivered right to your door, starting at just $5 a month.

Talk to a provider on Sesame and get your online doctor prescription or refill ordered right away for fast and convenient pickup from a pharmacy of your choice.

Note that all prescriptions are at the discretion of your clinician.