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Learning About Pre-Op Beta-Blockers


Beta-blockers help reduce the work the heart does. They do this by slowing your heartbeat and lowering your blood pressure. Some people take beta-blockers before surgery to lower the risk of heart problems after surgery. But beta-blockers are not right for everyone. Whether they are right for you depends on the type of surgery, your health, and your risk of heart problems. If you are having a heart surgery, you might take them to lower your risk of a heart rhythm problem. For other surgeries, you might take them to lower your risk of a heart attack and heart rhythm problems.

Do not take this medicine if you are allergic to any type of beta-blocker. Make sure to tell your doctor if you have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), severe asthma, or frequent asthma attacks.


These drugs include:

  • Atenolol (Tenormin).
  • Bisoprolol.

Possible side effects

Common side effects of this medicine include:

  • Feeling tired.
  • Feeling dizzy or light-headed.

You may have other side effects or reactions not listed here. Check the information that comes with your medicine.

What to know about taking this medicine

  • Be safe with medicines. Take your medicines exactly as prescribed. Call your doctor or nurse advice line if you think you are having a problem with your medicine. After surgery, follow your doctor's advice about taking beta-blockers.
  • Talk with your doctor or pharmacist before taking any new medicine. Tell your doctor all of the medicines you take.
  • Do not suddenly stop taking a beta-blocker. This can cause high blood pressure, a heart attack, or a dangerous heart rhythm.
  • If you have diabetes, watch closely for symptoms of low blood sugar. Beta-blockers can hide your symptoms.
  • If you have asthma, tell your doctor if you feel more short of breath. Beta-blockers can make your symptoms worse.
  • Your doctor may ask you to take your pulse regularly to make sure your heart rate is not too slow.

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