Beta blockers

Drug class: Beta blockers

Generic (Brand) names: bisoprolol (Zebeta), carvedilol (Coreg), metoprolol succinate (Toprol-XL)

In heart failure, the weakened heart cannot pump enough oxygen- and nutrient-rich blood throughout the body.

At first, your heart tries to compensate by beating faster and harder. Over time, these changes increase stress on your heart and worsen your heart failure

Beta blockers decrease your heartís workload and help protect your heart from injury.

Beta blockers slow your heart rate so your heart has more time to rest between beats. They reduce strain on your heart and lower blood pressure.

Beta blockers reduce heart failure symptoms, reduce hospitalizations, and help you live longer.

Side effects may include:

  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Shortness of breath
  • Insomnia
  • Reduced ability to exercise

Your provider will have told you what dose of this medication to take, and how many times per day to take it. The label on your medication bottle should also indicate how many pills to take, and how often.

Over time, your provider may adjust your dose.

Make sure the dose you need to take matches the strength of the tablets in your bottle. If the strength of your tablet does not match the dose you have been prescribed, you may need to split the pill and have only part of it, or take more than one pill. Always remember to consult your provider if you are unclear about what your most recent dose of beta blocker is.

Take this medication with food to minimize side effects.

Let your provider know if you experience side effects from this medication. He or she may be able to adjust your dose, switch you to a different medication within this drug class, or switch you to a different drug class.

Beta blockers can cause you to retain fluid. Monitor your weight and symptoms closely for signs of fluid buildup.

You should closely monitor your body weight and symptoms. Your provider may also ask you to monitor your heart rate and blood pressure at home.

In the short term, you may not feel different if you do not take this medication as directed. Over time, however, you will feel worse and be at greater risk for hospitalization. Your heart failure will also continue to progress.