Atenolol (Tenormin) Side Effects, How it Works & Tips

Atenolol belongs to the group of medication called beta blockers. This medication is used for treating hypertension, more commonly known as high blood pressure. This medication helps by blocking certain natural chemicals which include epinephrine, from affecting the heart, the blood vessels, and the blood circulation. This helps by reducing the strain caused on the heart and helps by lowering one’s heart rate and blood pressure.


By lowering high blood pressure, you can prevent chances of heart attacks, strokes, and kidney problems. You can also use Atenolol to treat angina and to improve one’s chances of survival after a heart attack.  

Side Effects

Atenolol, like any other medication, has its fair share of adverse effects. However, remember if your doctor has prescribed you this medication, it is probably because the benefits of using this drug outweigh the side effects. Here are some side effects you are likely to experience.

Minor side effects

  • Dizziness
  • Lightheadedness
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Reduced blood flow to the hands and feet (your hands and feet will turn cold)



Major side effects

Following are some rare yet severe side effects of the drug

  • Extremely slow heartbeat
  • Severe dizziness
  • Fainting
  • Troubled breathing
  • Blue fingers and toes
  • Mood changes (including depression and mood swings)
  • Swelling of ankles and feet
  • Shortness of breath
  • Unusual weakness
  • Sudden weight gain
  • Allergic reactions

These lists do not mention all of the possible side effects that one may experience.


How to use Atenolol?

Atenolol is to be taken orally; you can take it with some food, once or twice a day as per your doctor’s directions. When taking this medication, you must avoid drinking both apple and orange juice. Wait for at least 4 hours after you’ve taken this medication to have some. Your dosage will depend on your condition and how well you are responding to the treatment. Do not use this medicine for a prolonged period and do not increase or decrease until your doctor tells you to do so. You need to take this medication on a regular basis to get the most benefit from it; it is advisable to take medicine at the same time each day. Do not stop taking this medication suddenly unless your doctor tells you to do so. People using this medication to treat chest pain must make sure to use this medication on a regular basis for it to be effective. However, do not use it to treat chest pain when it occurs. You will need to take this medication for 1 to 2 weeks before you see any difference. Also, you will have to get your blood pressure checked frequently.




When taking any medication, you need to be aware of certain factors. You must know what things to avoid to prevent any mishap from happening. You must let your doctor know of any medical condition that you suffer from to ensure your safety and health. Following are some conditions you must tell your doctor about:

  • Allergies
  • Medical history of heart rhythm problems
  • A serious heart condition
  • Heart failure
  • Breathing problems (asthma, bronchitis or emphysema)
  • Blood circulation problems
  • Kidney disease
  • Muscle disease (myasthenia gravis)

Atenolol tends to make one dizzy; hence you should avoid consuming alcohol and marijuana when taking this medication. Avoid doing such activities that require you to be alert all the time such as driving. Limit your marijuana and alcohol use when taking this medication.

Before undergoing surgery, make sure to inform your doctor about every prescribed medication you are taking.

Patients with diabetes may suffer from dizziness and sweating. This medication may also make it difficult to control your blood sugar. You will have to get your blood sugar checked frequently and will have to take care of your diet and exercise regularly.

Pregnant women must not use this medication as it may harm their unborn child. Nursing women must also avoid taking Atenolol as it passes into breast milk and might have undesirable effects on the child.