This is one of the most popular among cardiologists and therapists class of drugs that are successfully used not only for the treatment of arterial hypertension, but also for many other diseases. Professor W. Blake was awarded the Nobel prize for the development and successful implementation of beta blockers in clinical practice.
How do beta blockers work?
The mechanism of action of beta-blockers is complex. These drugs act directly on special receptors in the heart and blood vessels, resulting in a reduced heart rate, slightly reduced contractile function of the heart muscle, and reduced blood flow to the vessels. In addition, beta-blockers reduce the formation and release into the blood of certain substances responsible for increasing blood pressure.
What are the different types of beta blockers?
Some beta blockers only work on the heart and blood vessels (so-called selective beta blockers). These include atenolol, betaxolol, metoprolol, and bisoprol.
Non-selective beta-blockers also act on the bronchi, which limits their use in chronic bronchitis, bronchial asthma. Among them, propranolol was previously the most widely used, which is practically not used at the present time.
In hypertension, only selective beta-blockers are almost always used.
What are beta blockers good for?
Beta-blockers reduce blood PRESSURE well, reduce the risk of coronary heart disease and myocardial infarction, reduce the mortality of patients who have suffered a myocardial infarction, and have an antiarrhythmic effect. The advantages of beta blockers should also include their relatively low cost.
In what cases does the doctor prescribe beta-blockers?
Beta-blockers are effective not only in the treatment of arterial hypertension. They are successfully used in patients with angina, who have suffered a myocardial infarction. They take a special place in heart rhythm disorders (arrhythmias). Heart rate is of great importance when prescribing beta blockers. Beta-blockers are prescribed for patients with rapid heart rate (tachycardia). On the contrary, beta-blockers are usually not used when the pulse is rare (less than 60 beats per minute).
When it is impossible to prescribe beta-blockers?
Beta-blockers are usually not prescribed for rare pulse (bradycardia), some lung diseases (chronic obstructive bronchitis, bronchial asthma). Their use is limited in diabetes mellitus, atherosclerosis of the arteries of the lower extremities (“intermittent lameness”. However, all of these conditions are not absolute contraindications to the use of beta-blockers. If the expected benefit exceeds the expected adverse effects, the doctor may prescribe adequate doses of beta-blockers.
In recent years, new beta blockers have been created, such as bisoprolol and nebivolol, which can also be used in the above-mentioned clinical situations.
Be sure to tell your doctor:
• Do you suffer from chronic bronchitis, asthma, or diabetes?
• Do you have trouble breathing or coughing?
• Have you ever had an elevated blood sugar level?
• Have you noticed episodes of heart rate reduction (up to 50 beats per minute or less), accompanied by dizziness, weakness.
• Whether you have taken beta blockers before, and how you reacted to them.
How should I take beta blockers?
When treating beta-blockers, it is important that the effect of the drug continues for a day. The frequency of taking drugs depends on the duration of their action. Short-and long-acting beta-blockers are isolated.
Long-acting medications should be taken once a day at the same time.
A very important point in the treatment of beta-blockers is the “withdrawal syndrome”. With long-term treatment with these drugs, abrupt discontinuation of their intake can cause a hypertensive crisis, and in some cases-a myocardial infarction, stroke, etc. Even if there are side effects, you should not abruptly stop taking beta-blockers! Consult a doctor!
Abruptly stop taking beta-blockers is dangerous!
What adverse (side) effects are possible when taking beta-blockers?
Side effects in the treatment of beta-blockers are rare. The most frequent adverse effect is slowing of the pulse (bradycardia). Breathing difficulties are much less common (especially in patients with chronic bronchitis, asthma), increased heart failure (when taking large doses), and intermittent lameness. With long-term treatment, the reaction may slow down, decrease in concentration, and depression.