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Discharge Instructions: Taking Beta-Blockers

Beta-blockers are used to treat high blood pressure (hypertension). They also prevent a type of chest pain called angina, correct irregular heartbeats, and help prevent heart attacks in some people. For these reasons, they may help you live longer.

The name of your beta-blocker is


Guidelines for Use

  • Follow the fact sheet that came with your medication. It tells you when and how to take your medication. Ask for a sheet if you didn’t get one.

  • Tell your doctor about all medications you take, including over-the-counter medications, supplements, or herbal remedies.

  • Take your medication at the same time(s) each day.

  • If you take a long-acting tablet or capsule, swallow it whole. Don’t chew it, crush it, or break it open unless your healthcare provider tells you to.

  • If you miss a dose of this medication, take it as soon as you remember—unless it’s almost time for your next dose. In that case, just wait and take your next dose at the normal time. Don’t take a double dose.

  • Don’t stop taking your beta-blocker unless your doctor tells you to. Stopping the medication too soon can make your condition worse. When it’s time to stop, follow your doctor's instructions.

  • Don’t drive unless you are sure your beta-blocker doesn't make you sleepy or dizzy.

  • To prevent dizziness, get up slowly after sitting or lying down.

  • Learn to take your pulse. Keep a record of your results. Ask your doctor what your normal pulse range should be and what results mean that you need medical attention.

Possible Side Effects

Tell your doctor if you have any side effects. But, even if you have side effects, don’t stop taking the medication unless your doctor tells you to. Side effects may include:

  • Mild fatigue

  • Cold hands and feet

  • Sexual problems

  • Drowsiness

  • Nausea

  • Weakness

  • Dizziness or lightheadedness

  • Trouble sleeping


Make a follow-up appointment as directed by our staff.

When to Call Your Doctor

Call your doctor right away if you have any of the following:

  • Wheezing or trouble breathing

  • Chest pain, jaw pain, or pain in the left arm

  • Slow pulse or irregular heartbeat

  • Swelling in your lower legs or feet

  • Yellowing of your skin or eyes (jaundice)

  • Numbness or tingling

  • Skin rash or itching

  • Depressed mood

  • Unexpected weight gain

  • Severe dizziness; fainting


NOTE: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a black box warning for this medication. The medication can cause potentially dangerous side effects if the medication is stopped too quickly. Take this medication only as directed. Do not stop taking this medication without talking to your healthcare provider first. When told you can stop taking this medication, follow all instructions you are given carefully. Talk with your healthcare provider about anything you don’t understand or to learn more about your medication.


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