Beta blockers are a class of medications that can be prescribed to treat conditions including high blood pressure, arrhythmias, and migraines. The medications work by blocking two types of hormones from binding to nerve sites, slowing the rate of heartbeats and causing blood vessel dilation. The beta blockers dosage for a patient will depend upon the medication type, treatment condition, and side effect presentation.
There are three different types of beta nerve receptors to which these medications can bind: beta-1, beta-2 and beta-3. Beta-1 receptors are found primarily in the heart and kidneys, while beta-2 are in the blood vessels, lungs, and muscles. The final beta-3 receptors are localized to cells in the fat and are typically not a priority for medicinal treatments.
Beta blockers dosage depends on pairing the correct medication with the correct receptors. Propranolol is an example of the general class of non-selective beta blockers that can treat conditions related to beta-1 and beta-2 receptors, including heart arrhythmia, high blood pressure, and chest pains. Metoprolol belongs to a class of selective beta blockers that only target beta-2 receptors and thus treat conditions such as congestive heart failure, high blood pressure, and heart attacks. There is some overlap between classes as to what they can treat, which makes it important to consider other factors of beta blockers dosage.
The majority of beta blockers dosage regimens will involve an oral tablet or capsule taken multiple times per day. Dosage typically begins at a smaller milligram per day amount and builds up over the course of several days. Elderly patients and children will be given smaller doses than adults because of toxicity risks among those populations.
Patients beginning a beta blockers dosage must discuss with his or her doctor any other current medication dosages. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), such as ibuprofen, can neutralize the blood pressure, lowering effects of beta blockers. Clonidine dosage concurrent with beta blockers can cause spikes in blood pressure, while phenobarbital can cause blood pressure to drop too low. Chlorpromazine can also cause lowered blood pressure or create an arrhythmia.
The doctor will monitor a patient’s progress during beta blockers dosage to make any adjustment in strength and frequency of the medication. It may become necessary to switch to another medication if the first isn’t effective. It is important for the patient to keep appointments and communicate any side effects that may occur with his or her doctor.
Presentation of side effects, both minor and serious, may cause a doctor to alter the beta blockers dosage. Potential minor side effects include fatigue, dizziness, and nausea. Serious side effects may include depression, shortness of breath, and sleep disturbances. Recurrence of serious side effects may result in immediate cessation of that particular medication.