What Are the Different Types of Beta Blocker Drugs?

Deneatra Harmon
Deneatra Harmon
Beta blockers.
Beta blockers.

Doctors may prescribe beta blocker drugs to treat certain types of heart conditions and diseases. Most of these drugs must be taken orally, according to the instructions. Some common beta blocker drugs include acebutolol, bisoprolol, atenolol, carvediol, and propranolol. Using beta blockers usually improves the heart's ability to function properly, but may still cause side effects.

Three types of beta receptors exist on the body's nerves, including beta-1, beta-2, and beta-3. The heart, kidneys, and eyes house the beta-1 receptors, while beta-2 receptors can be located in the skeletal muscles, blood vessels, and liver, as well as the lungs, gastrointestinal tract, and uterus. The fat cells of the body store the beta-3 receptors.

Most beta blocker drugs block the effects of norepinephrine and adrenaline that normally target the beta-1 and beta-2 receptors in the body. When taken orally, beta blockers reduce blood pressure as well as heart rate. Doctors often prescribe beta blocker drugs to treat high blood pressure, chest pain known as angina, heart failure, and other conditions, such as arrhythmia, or an irregular heartbeat. According to medical sources, beta blockers are also known for saving heart attack patients and preventing the risk of future heart attacks.

More than a dozen types of beta blocker drugs come with a prescription. One of the most common includes acebutolol, which lowers high blood pressure and treats arrhythmia. This particular beta blocker stops the natural chemicals of epinephrine and adrenaline from straining the heart and blood vessels. Acebutolol may be taken orally up to twice a day, with or without meals.

Bisoprolol also lowers the risk of heart attacks, strokes, and kidney failure by lowering blood pressure. Like acebutolol, it works throughout the body to lessen the strain on the heart, as well as regulate the heart rate. Proper dosage of bisoprolol often depends on the patient's overall medical condition.

Atenolol treats angina and increases the patient's chances of survival following a heart attack. Doctors recommend taking this form of medication with nitroglycerin for effective chest-pain relief. In addition to treating high blood pressure and lowering the heart rate, atenolol reportedly treats arrhythmia, heart failure symptoms, and even migraine and alcohol-withdrawal symptoms.

Carvedilol is another type of beta blocker drug that treats heart problems and high blood pressure. Like the other beta blocker drugs, it stops epinephrine and other natural chemicals in the body from negatively affecting the heart rate and blood vessels. According to instructions, carvedilol must be taken at least twice daily with food to get the full benefits. Sources also warn against stopping the medication without a doctor's consultation.

Propanolol treats arrhythmia and high blood pressure. It also reportedly treats tremors from certain medical conditions, and stops symptoms of angina and migraine headaches. Propanolol may also be administered to save a heart attack patient's life. Doctors generally recommend that the patient take this medication no more than four times a day before meals and at bedtime.

Overall, some heart patients benefit from taking beta blocker drugs because they treat heart attack, heart failure, high blood pressure, and other related conditions. Still, others may experience side effects. Common side effects that warrant medical attention include dizziness, fatigue, and shortness of breath, as well as skin rashes and swelling of the legs and feet. Other side effects may include weight gain, chest pain, or vomiting or diarrhea.

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    • Beta blockers.
      By: Sergey Lavrentev
      Beta blockers.