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Beta-blockers are one of the most commonly prescribed medications for heart disease.

Beta-blockers, also known as beta-adrenoceptor blocking agents, work by slowing down the heart and stopping it beating too quickly and too forcefully. This reduces the amount of work the heart has to do and also increases the amount of blood it is able to pump with each beat. This is done by blocking the release of the hormones adrenaline and noradrenaline in some parts of the body.

Beta-blockers are life savers for people with heart failure and others with fragile hearts badly damaged by heart attacks. However, they're also given to people whose hearts aren't so fragile, including people with:

Other non-heart related uses for beta- blockers include:

Beta-blocker side-effects

Side effects of beta-blocker treatment include:

Never stop taking beta-blockers without seeking medical advice.

Make sure your doctor or pharmacist knows about other medical conditions, such as asthma, and treatments you are taking, including supplements so they can check for possible interactions between medicines.

Beta-blocker medication should be taken as directed by the doctor. Seek medical advice if a dose is missed or an extra dose taken by mistake.

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WebMD Medical Reference

Medically Reviewed by Dr Rob Hicks on October 22, 2014

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