Beta Blockers

Beta Blockers are drugs that slow the heart rate, decrease cardiac output, lessen the force with which the heart muscle contracts and reduce blood vessel contraction. They do this by blocking beta-adrenergic receptors in various parts of the body. This prevents adrenaline (epinephrine) from stimulating these receptors. They may be used to treat abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmias) and prevent abnormally fast heart rate (tachycardia) or irregular rhythms such as premature ventricular beats. Since they reduce the demand of the heart muscle for oxygen they may be useful in treating angina (chest pain), which occurs when the oxygen demand of the heart exceeds the supply. They have become an important drug in improving survival after a person has had a heart attack. Beta-blockers are also used to treat high blood pressure and other heart conditions.

Beta-blockers reduce the heart rate, the heart's workload and the heart's output of blood, which lowers blood pressure. Beta-blockers cause contraction of the smooth muscle of the peripheral arteries and thereby decrease blood flow to body tissues. As a result, the patient may experience coolness in the hands and feet. In response to the beta-blockers, the airways are squeezed (constricted) by the contracting smooth muscle; this squeezing (impingement) on the airway causes wheezing, especially in individuals with a tendency for asthma.

The beta-blockers include:

  • atenolol (Tenormin),
  • propranolol (Inderal),
  • metoprolol (Toprol),
  • nadolol (Corgard),
  • betaxolol (Kerlone),
  • acebutolol (Sectral),
  • pindolol (Visken),
  • carvedilol (Coreg)
  • penbutolol (Levatol),
  • bisoprolol (Zebeta),
  • Timolol (Blocadren).

Potential side effects of beta-blockers:

  • Insomnia
  • Cold hands and feet
  • Tiredness or depression
  • Slow heartbeat
  • Symptoms of asthma
  • Impotence may also occur
  • If you have diabetes and you're taking insulin, have your responses to therapy monitored closely.


ACE Inhibitors

ACE Inhibitors (Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme Inhibitors) are drugs used to treat high blood pressure and heart failure.

They stop the body’s ability to produce angiotensin II, a natural substance that causes blood vessels to tighten (contract). ACE inhibitors relax and expand (dilate) blood vessels, allowing blood to flow more easily. This increases the supply of blood and oxygen to the heart, making the heart work more easily and efficiently. (Also known as antihypertensive drugs.

Side effects of ACE inhibitors?

ACE inhibitors are well-tolerated by most individuals. Nevertheless, they are not free of side effects, and some patients should not use ACE inhibitors.


Angiotensin II Receptor Blockers (ARBs) are drugs most often prescribed for people who experience side effects with ACE inhibitors.

Beta Blockers

Beta Blockers are drugs that slow the heart rate, decrease cardiac output, lessen the force with which the heart muscle contracts and reduce blood vessel contraction.

Calcium Channel Blockers

Calcium Channel Blockers are drugs that block the movement of calcium into heart and blood vessel muscle cells, which can decrease the pumping strength of the heart and relax blood vessels.

This causes the muscles to relax, lowering blood pressure, slowing the heart rate and decreasing oxygen demands of the heart. They are used to treat high blood pressure and chest pain (angina) caused by reduced blood supply to the heart muscle, as well as some abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmias).

Some noted possible side effects of calcium channel blockers:


Diuretics (often called water pills) are drugs that cause the body to rid itself of excess fluids and sodium through urination.

Nitroglycerin (NTG)

Nitroglycerin is used medically as a vasodilator to treat heart conditions, such as angina and heart failure. It is one of the oldest and most useful drugs for treating heart disease by shortening or even preventing attacks of angina. Nitroglycerin comes in forms of tablets, sprays or patches.