We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What are Beta Blockers?

Tricia Christensen
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Beta blockers or beta-adrenergic blocking agents are medications that change the way the body responds to adrenaline (epinephrine). Essentially, they block or nullify much of the function of epinephrine, which can have an effect on the way the heart works. In particular, these substances reduce the number of heartbeats and force of each beat, which reduces blood pressure and improves heart function. Though most often used to treat conditions like congestive heart failure or high blood pressure, they have many other uses.

These medications may certainly improve blood pressure but they’re not necessarily first line treatment for high blood pressure. They also might not be prescribed alone, and they aren’t restricted to use in people with hypertension. Beta blockers are particularly useful in treating congestive heart failure, and other conditions like abnormalities in heart rhythm and angina.

It would be a mistake to think of beta blockers as solely heart medications. They’ve been found effective in the treatment of migraines, hyperthyroidism and glaucoma too. Some types of these medications are used as anti-anxiety meds, like buspirone.

Studies have recently focused on how blocking adrenaline effects may be particularly helpful in anxiety producing situations like a public performance. Unlike tranquilizers, beta blockers don’t tend to sedate or cause sleepiness, so they may not affect the performance, but they can take away stage fright. It should be noted that some people don’t find buspirone effective, and may benefit from a different medication, either another beta blocker or a different class of drugs.

Doctors often note that people who take beta blockers for conditions like congestive heart failure often don’t feel well the first few months. In fact, people may feel like their symptoms are worsening instead of improving. The body eventually copes with the different way adrenaline is being processed, and improvement tends to be noted about two months after treatment starts.

There are many beta blockers available and these include some of the following: buspirone, atenelol, propranolol, metroprolol, bisoprolol, carvedilol, and labetol. These may have numerous trademarked names too. Each may have slightly different side effects, but common side effects of these meds can include dizziness or lightheadedness, insomnia, indigestion, stomach upset, constipation, flatulence and weight gain. Others may experience side effects like erectile dysfunction and depression.

Some people shouldn’t take beta blockers. They’re generally not prescribed to those who suffer from diabetes because they can adversely affect blood sugar. They may also not be indicated in those who are asthma sufferers since they increase asthma attack frequency. Another possible risk exists for those with major depressive illnesses. Since beta blockers may fuel depression, they may render ineffective other medications used to treat it.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a WiseGeek contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.
Discussion Comments
Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a WiseGeek contributor, Tricia...
Learn more
WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.