Uses of beta-blockers in heart disease and Hyperthyroidism

• Beta-blockers are the drugs which block the effects due to beta receptors. Beta blockers block ß1 and ß2 receptors. The effect of noradrenaline and adrenaline is blocked. This leads to following effects.
. Beta blockers decrease heart rate and pumping action.

. Reduce blood pressure by dilating blood vessels.

There are 2 types of beta-blockers.

. Selective beta blockers.

. Non -Selective beta blockers

• Selective beta blockers like metoprolol primarily block ß1 receptors and therefore mostly affect the heart and do not affect air passages.
. Some beta blockers like pindolol have intrinsic sympathomimetic activity (ISA), which means they mimic the effects of epinephrine and norepinephrine and can cause an increase in blood pressure and heart rate. Beta blockers with ISA have smaller effects on heart rate than agents that do not have ISA.

. Labetalol and carvedilol block beta and alpha-1 receptors. Blocking alpha receptors adds to the blood vessel dilating effect of labetalol and carvedilol.

Uses of beta blockers.

. Hyperthyroidism for symptomatic relief.

Read more - Hyperthyroidism.

. Hypertension

Read more - How to prevent Blood pressure

. Arrhythmias

. Cases of heart failure with systolic dysfunction.
. Palpitations - Palpitations means one can feel own heart beats. This occurs in heart diseases, arrythmias.
. Glaucoma – timolol, betaxolol eye drops are used.
. To relieve anxiety before making public speech, exams.
. To prevent an attack of migraine.
Read more -
Headache Migraine causes Treatment

Side effects of beta-blockers

. Asthma attack may be induced.
Read more -
Bronchial Asthma Diagnosis and Treatment
. Difficulty in erection, impotence, erectile dysfunction–
This is seen with nonselective drugs like propranolol, labetalol. Due to this, one has to be careful while prescribing this drug to young males.
The beta blockers that target only beta 1 receptors if given in proper dose do not cause this problem. These may cause decrease in libido but don't cause erectile dysfunction. Nebivolol, metoprolol don't cause this problem. METOPROLOL/TOPROL has the lowest chance of sexual problems.

. Beta-blockers can mask symptoms of hypoglycemia. All diabetics should know this if they are using beta-blockers.
. Depression. This may be due to loss of Sleep, decrease in libido( sexual desire)
. Fatigue
. The intolerance to beta-blockers might occur due to side effects of beta-blockers.


In following conditions, beta-blockers shouldn’t be taken / should be taken very carefully.

. Heart block
. Bradycardia
. Bronchial Asthma

Advantages of beta-blockers

. Beta blockers should be preferred over digoxin when there is a risk for arrhythmia or bradycardia.

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