Beta-blockers are prescribed to treat high blood pressure because they decrease the frequency and strength of heart beats. Beta blockers are also used to relieve or prevent angina, to treat various arrhythmias and the prevention of recurrent myocardial infarction (heart attack).
These drugs bind to proteins called beta receptors to block the action of adrenaline. These receptors are located on heart cells, blood vessels and airways.
On top of the effect on the heart, beta blockers can cause constriction of the airways. They are therefore prescribed with caution to people who suffer from asthma, bronchitis or other respiratory disorders.
A beta blocker may be given alone or in combination with another drug, usually a thiazide diuretic.
See also: Beta Blockers.
Cardiovascular drug groups:
Diuretics | Beta Blockers | Calcium Channel Blockers | ACE Inhibitors | Centrally Acting Adrenergic Drugs | Peripherally Acting Adrenergic Drugs | Nitrates | Hypolipidemic Agents | Cardiac Glycosides | Antithrombotics