Beta-Blockers: Care Instructions

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Your Care Instructions

Beta-blockers are used to lower blood pressure and relieve angina symptoms, such as chest pain or pressure. And they decrease the chance of a second heart attack in someone who has already had a heart attack. They also slow the heart rate and reduce strain on the heart muscle and blood vessels.

Most people do not have any side effects from beta-blockers. In rare cases, they can make asthma worse or make you feel tired. In some people, heart rate or blood pressure can drop too low. You may feel light-headed. This may happen if you stand up quickly. It usually gets better with time.

Before you start to take this medicine, make sure your doctor knows if you have severe asthma, frequent asthma attacks, or a history of depression.

Examples include:

  • Atenolol (Tenormin).
  • Labetalol (Trandate).
  • Metoprolol (Lopresor).
  • Propranolol (Inderal).

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

How can you care for yourself at home?

  • Take your medicines exactly as prescribed. Be sure to take high blood pressure medicines every day. Since high blood pressure often has no symptoms, it is easy to forget to take the pills. Call your doctor or nurse call line if you think you are having a problem with your medicine.
  • Always tell your doctor if you think you are having a side effect from your medicine. Stopping suddenly may make chest pains worse or cause your blood pressure to go up. Or it can cause other symptoms. If side effects are a problem with one medicine, you can try a different one.
  • Check with your doctor before you use any over-the-counter medicines. Beta-blockers can interact with other medicines. Make sure your doctor knows all of the medicines and natural health products you take.
  • Some people feel tired when they take beta-blockers. If you exercise, you may tire more easily. If beta-blockers make it very hard for you to exercise, talk to your doctor.

When should you call for help?

Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • You have wheezing or trouble breathing.
  • You have swelling in your face, head, neck, or tongue.
  • You are dizzy or light-headed, or you feel like you may faint.

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if you have any problems.

Where can you learn more?

Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

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Current as of: January 27, 2016