Types of Beta Blockers
There are various different beta blockers available, and there are several important differences among the various medications. 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. There are also beta blockers that are non-selective, do not have intrinsic sympathomimetic activity, and do not block alpha receptors.
There is also one beta blocker medication, Sotalol (Betapace®, Sorine®), that is unique among beta blockers in that it also blocks potassium channels in the heart. Some beta blockers fall into more than one category.
(Click List of Beta Blockers for a more in-depth look at the different types of these products. This article explains the different categories of beta blockers and describes how these various beta blockers affect the body in different ways.)