Cardiac Medications

















Beta-Blockers

Beta-blockers are medications that can lower your blood pressure, reduce the frequency of angina attacks, control rapid heart rate and reduce the risk of complications after a heart attack by making the heart’s workload easier.

Beta-blockers may have side effects, which include fatigue, difficulty concentrating, insomnia, nightmares, impotence and alterations of peripheral circulation. Beta-blockers may also worsen asthma and you should not be taking these drugs if you have this condition. Despite this list of side effects, most patients tolerate Beta-blockers without significant problems.

Several studies have shown that, after a heart attack, Beta-blockers reduce the risk of another heart attack or sudden death. This is likely the reason that you would be prescribed a Beta-blocker while in hospital after your heart attack.

Some Names of Beta-blockers include:

Propranolol (Inderal)
Metoprolol (Lopresor, Betaloc)
Atenolol (Tenormin)
Timolol (Blocardren)
Acebutolol (Sectral, Monitan)
Nadolol (Corgard)
Sotalol (Sotacor)
Carvedilol (Coreg)
Bisoprolol (Monocor)


If you are to take one dose of this type of drug each day, and you miss a dose, take the missed dose within eight hours. If you take two or more doses each day, take the missed dose as soon as possible. Never take a double dose to make up for a missed dose.

Suddenly stopping these drugs can cause serious problems. They must be tapered off gradually. Some patients may have difficulty in getting to sleep when starting on these drugs. Taking the drug no later than two hours before bedtime can help with this.

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  Version 2.0, July 2004
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