Beta-blockers - Uses 

Uses of beta-blockers 

Beta-blockers block the release of the hormones adrenaline and noradrenaline in certain parts of the body. They help reduce blood pressure by making the heart work more slowly and improve blood flow by helping blood vessels to open.

Beta-blockers take some of the workload off the heart. This means the heart does not have to work so hard pumping blood around the body.

This medicine is especially important for people with angina (chest pain caused by restricted blood flow to the heart) or heart failure, or for those who have had a heart attack. It helps prevent attacks of angina and reduces your risk of having a further heart attack if you have already had one.

Beta-blockers control irregular heartbeats by blocking the electrical nerve impulses that stimulate the heart. This decreases the activity of the heart and can slow heart rate.

Beta-blockers are also commonly used to treat:

  • hypertension (high blood pressure): beta-blockers reduce blood pressure by slowing the heart rate and pumping force of the heart
  • heart failure (where the heart does not pump blood around the body effectively)
  • atrial fibrillation (irregular heartbeat)

Read more information about the uses of beta-blockers.

Beta-blockers are sometimes used to prevent migraine or treat:

  • an overactive thyroid
  • anxiety conditions
  • tremor 
  • glaucoma: eye drops can be used which relieve pressure inside the eyeball by reducing production of aqueous humour (fluid inside the eyeball)

Page last reviewed: 03/04/2012

Next review due: 03/04/2014

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