Commonly Used Brand Names in the United States
Betapace/Betapace AF (sotalol)
Coreg/Coreg CR (carvedilol)
Inderal/Inderal LA (propranolol)
Lopressor/Lopressor HCT (metoprolol)
Toprol XL (metoprolol)
Therapeutic Uses of Beta Blockers
Beta blockers are used to treat:
• High blood pressure (hypertension)
• Congestive heart failure (CHF)
• Abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmias)
• Chest pain (angina)
• The prevention of future heart attacks
How Beta Blockers Work
Beta blockers slow the heart rate, decrease cardiac output, lessen the force with which the heart muscle contracts, and reduce blood vessel contraction. They do this by blocking the effects of adrenaline on beta-adrenergic receptors in various parts of the body.
Beta 1 receptors are responsible for heart rate and the strength of the heartbeat. Beta 2 receptors are responsible for the function of smooth muscle. Some beta blockers are selective, which means that they block beta 1 receptors more than they block beta 2 receptors. Nonselective beta blockers block both types of beta receptors. As a result, the heart does not have to work as hard because it needs less blood and oxygen. Beta blockers also block impulses that can cause an arrhythmia.
The information in this section is meant to provide a brief description of this medicine. It does not cover all of the possible uses, warnings, dosages, side effects, or interactions with other medicines and vitamin or herbal supplements. This information should not be used as medical advice for individual problems.
Texas Heart Institute www.texasheartinstitute.com/HIC/Topics/Meds/betameds.cfm
American Heart Association www.americanheart.org/presenter.jhtml?identifier=3056839
Updated December 2009