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Is atenolol a safe medicine for high BP?

Friday, 02 May 2003
Answered by: Chandra M. Gulhati
Editor,
MIMS,
New Delhi
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Q. My wife, 45 years old, has been taking a beta blocker - atenolol 25 mg for nearly about 5 years and was advised to switch over to a similar medicine - Concor 5 mg to keep her blood pressure at normal levels. Will these medicines in long run have any adverse effect on kidney or any other body part? Should she try switching over to natural or herbal products to control the blood pressure for the rest of her life?

A.  The normal recommended dose of atenolol in the treatment of high blood pressure is 50 to 100 mg daily. Your wife was taking 25 mg. If her blood pressure was not under control, the dose of atenolol should have been increased to 50 mg daily, or even 100 mg daily. There is no scientific basis for shifting the patient to another medicine that gives no added benefit besides being 100% more expensive. Furthermore 5 mg of bisoprolol (Concor) is equivalent to 100 mg of atenolol. Controlling blood pressure is exceedingly important. Use of atenolol over decades does not lead to any unacceptable side effects. The only precaution one should take is to select a good quality brand from a reputed manufacturer such as Aten (Cadila Healthcare), Tensimin (Unique), since so many sub-standard and fake medicines are being openly sold.

A.  The normal recommended dose of atenolol in the treatment of high blood pressure is 50 to 100 mg daily. Your wife was taking 25 mg. If her blood pressure was not under control, the dose of atenolol should have been increased to 50 mg daily, or even 100 mg daily. There is no scientific basis for shifting the patient to another medicine that gives no added benefit besides being 100% more expensive. Furthermore 5 mg of bisoprolol (Concor) is equivalent to 100 mg of atenolol. Controlling blood pressure is exceedingly important. Use of atenolol over decades does not lead to any unacceptable side effects. The only precaution one should take is to select a good quality brand from a reputed manufacturer such as Aten (Cadila Healthcare), Tensimin (Unique), since so many sub-standard and fake medicines are being openly sold.

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