Neurotransmitters are chemicals found in the brain that help in communicating information throughout the brain and body. The brain relies on and uses the neurotransmitters in telling the lungs to breathe, heart to beat, and the stomach to digest. Beta blockers are a class of drugs, which help in preventing or blocking neurotransmitters such as epinephrine and norepinephrine from binding to receptors. If these neurotransmitters do not bind to receptors, it blocks the effects of adrenaline or epinephrine. Hence, the heart relaxes and beats slowly, something that reduces the amount of blood being pumped by the heart. With time, the pumping mechanism of your heart may improve as a result of repose and slow beats. Your heart is not overworked to supply oxygen-rich blood to the body parts.
Beta Blockers Drugs
Drugs that are a part of the beta-blocker drug class include:
- atenolol (Tenormin)
- acebutolol hydrochloride (Sectral)
- esmolol hydrochloride (Brevibloc)
- penbutolol sulfate (Levatol)
- timolol maleate (Blocadren)
- nadolol (Corgard)
- sotalol hydrochloride (Betapace)
- betaxolol hydrochloride (Kerlone)
- pindolol (Visken)
- nebivolol (Bystolic)
- metoprolol (Lopressor and Toprol XL)
Beta Blockers Uses
Beta-blockers are used in managing a number of conditions, and they include heart failure, diabetes, angina pectoris- caused by coronary atherosclerosis, hypertension, and cardiac arrhythmias. Cardiac or heart arrhythmias are irregular heartbeats where the heart beats too fast or too slow. Beta-blockers are also used off label in managing migraine headaches, fibromyalgia, glaucoma, generalized anxiety disorder, and hyperthyroidism.
Beta Blockers Side Effects
While beta blockers are well tolerated with patients showing mild adverse effects, these drugs may cause side effects, including:
- Stomach cramps
- Muscle cramps
- Blurred vision
- Cold extremities
Beta Blockers Interactions
Beta blockers can interact with other drugs or medicines, and this is called drug-drug interaction. These drugs can interact with antiarrhythmics used to control irregular heartbeats. Since both beta blockers and antiarrhythmic slow the heart, there may be a risk of your heart beating very slow.
Antipsychotics used in the treatment of mental problems may react with some beta-blockers like Sotalol and increase the risk of suffering from arrhythmias.
Medicines used to lower blood pressure, or the antihypertensives can contribute to increased low blood pressure or hypotension if taken alongside beta blockers. Some beta blockers when taken with clonidine or Catapres (drug for treating hypertension and alcohol withdrawal) could lead to serious blood pressure increases that may be life threatening, Patients receiving beta-blockers propranolol and pindolol should not use phenothiazines such as thioridazine and chlorpromazine.