What Is Atenolol Used For?
In general, atenolol is used for the treatment of high blood pressure and chest pain caused by angina, and is also often administered after a heart attack to improve survival. Off-label uses for the drug include preventing migraines, treating arrhythmias, and relieving alcohol withdrawal symptoms. Atenolol has not been approved for use in children.
Atenolol (Tenormin®) has been licensed to treat a number of conditions. These atenolol uses include:
- High blood pressure (hypertension) control
- Relief of chest pain caused by angina
- Treatment following a heart attack to improve survival.
High Blood Pressure
A blood pressure reading consists of two numbers (for example, 120/80). The top number is known as the systolic blood pressure, and the bottom number is the diastolic blood pressure. High blood pressure (hypertension) is defined as an average blood pressure higher than 140/90 with multiple blood pressure readings.
In clinical studies, atenolol has been shown to significantly lower systolic and diastolic blood pressure. The higher the dose of atenolol, the greater the drop in blood pressure is expected to be, up to an atenolol dose of 100 mg daily (at higher doses, no further blood pressure reduction is expected). By lowering blood pressure, atenolol can decrease the risks that occur with long-term high blood pressure (see Effects of High Blood Pressure). Atenolol does not, however, cure high blood pressure.
Angina is a type of heart disease that occurs when the heart muscle is not getting enough nutrient- and oxygen-rich blood for a short period of time. The inadequate blood flow is caused by narrowed coronary arteries (the blood vessels that supply blood to the heart). Chest pain is the most common angina symptom that occurs (see Angina Symptoms for other symptoms of angina).
Atenolol is effective at treating symptoms of angina because it decreases the workload of the heart. This, in turn, means that the heart needs less oxygen and nutrient-rich blood to function properly at any given level of effort. Atenolol does not cure this type of heart disease.