According to the American Heart Association, beta blockers are drugs that slow the heartbeat, lessen the force with which the heart muscle contracts and reduce blood vessel contraction in the heart, brain and throughout the body. As the Texas Heart Institute points out, the beta blocker class includes both selective and nonselective beta blockers. They work by blocking the effects of adrenaline on the body's beta receptors.Continue Reading
Selective beta blockers primarily block the beta one receptor, which is responsible for heart rate and strength of the heartbeat, explains the Texas Heart Institute. Nonselective beta blockers also block the beta two receptor, which is responsible for the function of smooth muscles (muscles that control automatic body functions). Beta blockers are used to treat conditions such as hypertension, congestive heart failure, arrhythmia, angina, and post myocardial infarction.
According to Dr. Richard Klabunde from Cardiovascular Pharmacology Concepts, as a result of their beta two blocking effects, nonselective beta blockers are associated with an increased risk of bronchoconstriction when administered to patients with asthma. As a result, nonselective beta blockers are contraindicated in patients with asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
A patient should always consult a physician or pharmacist with any questions regarding his medication. As pointed out by the Texas Heart Institute, someone taking a beta blocker should report any side effects to his doctor immediately. A patient should not stop taking the medication without first consulting his doctor, or worsening of his condition can occur.Learn more about Medications & Vitamins