Continued depression of the myocardium with beta-blocking agents over a period of time can, in some cases, lead to cardiac failure. At the first sign or symptom of impending cardiac failure, patients should be treated appropriately according to currently recommended guidelines, and the response observed closely. If cardiac failure continues despite adequate treatment, atenolol should be withdrawn. (See DOSAGE AND ADMNISTRATION)
PATIENTS WITH BRONCHOSPASTIC DISEASE SHOULD, IN GENERAL, NOT RECEIVE BETA-BLOCKERS. Because of its relative beta1 selectivity, however, atenolol may be used with caution in patients with bronchospastic disease who do not respond to, or cannot tolerate, other antihypertensive treatment. Since beta1 selectivity is not absolute, the lowest possible dose of atenolol should be used with therapy initiated at 50 mg and a beta2 -stimulating agent (bronchodilator) should be made available. If dosage must be increased, dividing the dose should be considered in order to achieve lower peak blood levels.
It is not advisable to withdraw beta-adrenoreceptor blocking drugs prior to surgery in the majority of patients. However, care should be taken when using anesthetic agents such as those which may depress the myocardium. Vagal dominance, if it occurs, may be corrected with atropine (1 to 2 mg IV).OVERDOSAGE).
Atenolol should be used with caution in diabetic patients if a beta-blocking agent is required. Beta-blockers may mask tachycardia occurring with hypoglycemia, but other manifestations such as dizziness and sweating may not be significantly affected. At recommended doses atenolol does not potentiate insulin-induced hypoglycemia and, unlike nonselective beta-blockers, does not delay recovery of blood glucose to normal levels.
Beta-adrenergic blockade may mask certain clinical signs (e.g., tachycardia) of hyperthyroidism. Abrupt withdrawal of beta-blockade might precipitate a thyroid storm; therefore, patients suspected of developing thyrotoxicosis from whom atenolol therapy is to be withdrawn should be monitored closely. (See DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION.)
Atenolol can cause fetal harm when administered to a pregnant woman. Atenolol crosses the placental barrier and appears in cord blood. Administration of atenolol, starting in the second trimester of pregnancy, has been associated with the birth of infants that are small for gestational age. No studies have been performed on the use of atenolol in the first trimester and the possibility of fetal injury cannot be excluded. If this drug is used during pregnancy, or if the patient becomes pregnant while taking this drug, the patient should be apprised of the potential hazard to the fetus.
Neonates born to mothers who are receiving atenolol at parturition or breastfeeding may be at risk for hypoglycemia and bradycardia. Caution should be exercised when atenolol is administered during pregnancy or to a woman who is breastfeeding. (See PRECAUTIONS, Nursing Mothers.)
Atenolol has been shown to produce a dose-related increase in embryo/fetal resorptions in rats at doses equal to or greater than 50 mg/kg/day or 25 or more times the maximum recommended human antihypertensive dose.* Although similar effects were not seen in rabbits, the compound was not evaluated in rabbits at doses above 25 mg/kg/day or 12.5 times the maximum recommended human antihypertensive dose.*
The drug should be used with caution in patients with impaired renal function. (See DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION.)
Calcium channel blockers may also have an additive effect when given with atenolol (See WARNINGS).
Disopyramide is a Type I antiarrhythmic drug with potent negative inotropic and chronotropic effects. Disopyramide has been associated with severe bradycardia, asystole and heart failure when administered with beta-blockers.
Amiodarone is an antiarrhythmic agent with negative chronotropic properties that may be additive to those seen with beta-blockers.
Beta-blockers may exacerbate the rebound hypertension which can follow the withdrawal of clonidine. If the two drugs are coadministered, the beta-blocker should be withdrawn several days before the gradual withdrawal of clonidine. If replacing clonidine by beta-blocker therapy, the introduction of beta-blockers should be delayed for several days after clonidine administration has stopped.
Concomitant use of prostaglandin synthase inhibiting drugs, e.g., indomethacin, may decrease the hypotensive effects of beta-blockers.
Information on concurrent usage of atenolol and aspirin is limited. Data from several studies, i.e., TIMI-II, ISIS-2, currently do not suggest any clinical interaction between aspirin and beta-blockers in the acute myocardial infarction setting.
While taking beta-blockers, patients with a history of anaphylactic reaction to a variety of allergens may have a more severe reaction on repeated challenge, either accidental, diagnostic or therapeutic. Such patients may be unresponsive to the usual doses of epinephrine used to treat the allergic reaction.
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