How do beta blockers work?


Quick Answer

Beta blockers work by inhibiting the transmission of certain nerve impulses and blocking the actions of hormones, such as adrenaline. Also known as beta-adrenoceptor agents, beta blockers are a group of drugs that are used to treat conditions such as high blood pressure, angina and heart failure. They are available only through prescription by a professional health care provider.

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Full Answer

There are different types of beta blockers, each with their own characteristics, as stated by NHS. A doctor will prescribe a particular type of beta blocker depending on the condition of a person. Some examples of beta blockers include Inderal, Coreg, Tenormin, Brevibloc, Sectral, Lopressor and Zebeta.

Beta blockers should be taken as directed by the doctor. Taking them after meals helps to reduce side effects because of slow absorption. People suffering from diabetes, asthma, kidney disease, or heart disease should inform their doctor prior to using beta blockers.

A person using beta blockers may experience several side effects, including depression, fatigue, upset stomach, low sex drive, diarrhea, breath shortness, dizziness, cold hands, constipation or trouble sleeping. Some of the symptoms may be temporary. Abruptly stopping the use of these drugs due to the appearance of these symptoms is not advisable as it may lead to other conditions, such as heart attack, as stated by the Mayo Clinic.

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