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Is atenolol safe for a woman who already has low blood pressure?

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Is atenolol safe for a woman who already has low blood pressure? I am 42 but am always told that my blood pressure is on the low side. The drug is to be used for Anxiety - mainly GAD and Social Anxiety.

Thank you.
Posted Wed, 31 Oct 2012 in Medicines and Side Effects
Answered by Dr. Jonas Sundarakumar 1 hour later
Hi and welcome to Healthcare Magic. Thanks for your question...

Atenolol is a anti-hypertensive medication (belonging to a class called beta blockers) which is also used to treat the 'somatic' or physical manifestations of anxiety - like palpitations, tremors, etc. Due to its anti-hypertensive effects, it has to be used with caution in people with low blood pressure, as well as in certain medical conditions like cardiac disorders, asthma, etc. So, if your blood pressure has been clearly documented to be low on several occasions, then I suggest that it is better to avoid Atenolol or use it in minimal doses only.

There are several other anti-anxiety medication which can be safely used in your case. Moreover, Atenolol is usually given as an adjunct for controlling the physical symptoms and has no role in controlling the psychological symptoms of anxiety, like feeling tense / worried, apprehension, inability to relax, agitation, etc.

You can also try non-medication methods like relaxation exercises, biofeedback, etc. which can also help you control your physical anxiety symptoms.

Wish you all the best.

- Dr. Jonas Sundarakumar
Consultant Psychiatrist
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