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About atenolol

Atenolol is a beta blocker medicine, used to treat high blood pressure (hypertension) and irregular heartbeats (arrhythmia).

If you have high blood pressure, taking atenolol helps prevent future heart disease, heart attacks and strokes.

It can also be used to prevent chest pain caused by angina.

Atenolol works by slowing down your heart rate, making it easier for your heart to pump blood around your body.

Atenolol is sometimes prescribed to prevent migraines and help with anxiety.

This medicine is only available on prescription.

It comes as tablets or as a liquid that you swallow. It can also be given as an injection, but this is usually done in hospital.

Atenolol can also be mixed with other medicines such as nifedipine (brand name Tenif). It it's mixed with chlortalidone it's called co-tenidone or by the brand names Tenoret or Tenoertic.

Key facts

  • Atenolol can make you feel dizzy, sick or tired and can cause diarrhoea. These side effects are usually mild and do not last long.
  • Your very first dose of atenolol may make you feel dizzy, so take it at bedtime. After that, if you do not feel dizzy, you can take it in the morning.
  • If you're taking atenolol for high blood pressure it may not make you feel any different. This does not mean it's not working, so it's important to keep taking your medicine.
  • If atenolol makes you feel dizzy, do not drive a car, ride a bike, or use tools or machinery until you feel better.
  • Do not stop taking atenolol suddenly, especially if you have heart disease. This can make your condition worse.

Page last reviewed: 5 April 2022
Next review due: 5 April 2025