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Beta Blockers

There are over 20 different kinds of beta blockers which cover an array of uses. For example, your doctor may have prescribed a beta blocker for you if you have hypertension (high blood pressure), angina (chest pain), certain arrhythmias (irregular heart rhythms) or congestive heart failure.

Beta blockers also help the heart require less fuel and to work more efficiently. They also play a role in preventing second heart attacks.

Beta blockers comprise one of the few groups of medicines which can prolong life in certain individuals.

Beta blockers prevent migraine headaches, blunt the shakiness from "stage fright". and treat other ailments.

Beta blockers block or inhibit certain actions of the sympathetic nervous system including those actions which may lead to a rapid heart beat. They reduce the heart's demand for oxygen, thereby preventing angina. Angina occurs when the heart's demand for oxygen exceeds its supply.

What are the potential side effects of this medication?
Beta blockers may cause you to feel drowsy or tired. They may cause sleep disturbances. Your hands and feet may feel cold. You may experience weakness, dizziness or shortness of breath.

In rare instances, people have had abdominal cramps, diarrhea, constipation, nausea, and depression. Some people have experienced memory loss or impotence.

Are there any risks or dangers associated with this medication?
Certain beta blockers may cause your heart to slow down to a dangerous rate and may even cause shock. Consult with your physician about your individual condition and steps you can take to avoid a dangerous situation

Is there anyone who should not take this medication?
If you already have bradycardia (slow heart rate) or heart block (a block in the conduction of the normal electrical impulses in the heart), you should not take beta blockers.

If you have asthma, beta blockers may aggravate your condition. You should consult your physician immediately if you have severe difficulty in breathing.

Some people who have diabetes should refrain from taking certain beta blockers which can mask the early warning symptoms of low blood sugar. Discuss your situation with your physician.

Is there any problem with discontinuing this medication?
If you have coronary artery disease and you have been taking beta blockers for more than one month, you will have to discontinue your use gradually. Abrupt cessation may lead to angina (chest pain) or myocardial infarction (heart attack).

Are there any medicines which I should not take in conjunction with beta blockers?
Some patients should not take beta blockers with other medications that slow the heart rate or lower blood pressure. Sometimes the two medications will have more than an additive effect Consult with your physician concerning your individual situation.

Are there any underlying medical conditions which would prohibit the use of this medication?
You should not take beta blockers if you have severe lung disease or uncontrolled congestive heart failure.

If I am taking this medication, is there anything I must do (e.g. take it with food)? Is there anything I must not do?
Alcohol and aluminum containing antacids reduce the absorption of certain beta blockers. Ask your physician if you should refrain from using these substances.

Are there any other medications which have the same or similar effect?
Some calcium channel blockers have a similar effect to beta blockers. If you take both types of medications, the effect is additive.

Are there any natural remedies which have the same or similar effect as this medication?

Can I take a generic version of this medication?
Yes, there are generic versions of beta blockers.

Is there an over-the-counter version of this medication?



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