Health Information and Tools > Patient Care Handouts >  Learning About Pre-Op Beta-Blockers
Facebook Tweet Email Share

Main Content

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:

  • Propranolol (Inderal).
  • Atenolol (Tenormin).

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

  • Take your medicines exactly as prescribed. Call your doctor if you think you are having a problem with your medicine. After surgery, follow your doctor's instructions about taking beta-blockers.
  • Do not take two or more medicines at the same time unless the doctor told you to. Beta-blockers can interact with other medicines.
  • Check your pulse before you take this medicine. Do not take it if your pulse is below the number your doctor told you.
  • Take this medicine with a sip of water.
  • When you exercise, you may tire more easily. Get extra rest if you need it.
  • Tell your doctor if you think you are having a side effect. If side effects are a problem with one medicine, a different one may be used.

Where can you learn more?

Go to

Enter T638 in the search box to learn more about "Learning About Pre-Op Beta-Blockers".

Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.