Beta blockers are medications used to treat various conditions of the heart and blood vessels. Specifically, they can treat conditions such as high blood pressure, chest pain, and glaucoma. Although most people tolerate these medications well, these products are not suitable for everyone. Potential side effects include a slow heart rate, low blood pressure, and fatigue.
What Are Beta Blockers?Beta blockers are prescription medications used to treat a wide variety of conditions. Some of the most common uses of beta blockers include (but are not limited to):
- Treating high blood pressure (known medically as hypertension)
- Reducing the risk of future heart attacks and heart-related death in people who have had a heart attack
- Treating angina (chest pain)
- Treating glaucoma.
(Click Beta Blockers Uses for more information on what these medications are used for, including possible off-label uses.)
Beta Blocker MedicationsThere are several different beta blocker medications, some of which are used frequently and some of which are used rarely. Some are "cardioselective" (meaning they are more likely to affect the heart and blood vessels rather than other parts of the body), some have "intrinsic sympathomimetic activity" (meaning they slightly stimulate beta receptors while also blocking them), and some are alpha blockers as well as beta blockers.
(Click List of Beta Blockers for a description of the medications in this category that are currently available in the United States.)