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Susan Ivy
Susan Ivy, Nurse (RN)
Category: Health
Satisfied Customers: 4058
Experience:  BSN, MSN, CNS
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Thank you for addressing my question. My doctor has prescribed

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Thank you for addressing my question. My doctor has prescribed Atenolol for my extreme anxiety, as well as xanax. I am really frightened by the possible side effects, but am desperate to find relief from the spurts of adrenaline, trembling, and fast heart rate (and the anxiety that these feelings cause me to feel, as if those alone weren't bad enough.) He has prescribed 25mg. How long will it take for this to work, and how long will it be in my system? I am also nervous about taking it with the xanax (because I take that 4 times a day, which means I'd have to take the atenolol with a xanax in the morning.) I am used to the xanax, so that doesn't scare me, but I'm really terrified of the Atenolol to the point where I've had it for 3 weeks and have been unable to take it. What is the worst that could happen if I were to take the atenolol? I am assuming death is not likely. Sorry to sound so nervous about it, but that's the nature of my problem...anxiety all around. Thank you.



Thank you for writing to JustAnswer Health with your question.


I am familiar with your condition and understand how fearful it can be to try new things.


Atenolol is one in a class of medications called Beta Blockers. It works to slow down the heart. It is an adrenoreceptor blocking agent, so it decreases the effects of adrenaline (the chemical your body releases when anxious) thus decreasing your anxiety. Inderal is the name of the first Beta Blocker. Atenolol was made to replace Inderal. Atenolol does not cross the blood brain barrier, which keeps it from giving one certain CNS side effects such as drowsiness, which can occur with Inderal.


Normal starting dose is 25mg to 100mg, so you are getting the smallest amount that is prescribed.


It's peak effect is felt in 2 to 4 hours, so you may gradually feel it's action take effect, and the strongest effect should come at 4 hours. The dose effects last for 24 hrs.


It is eliminated through the kidneys, so it has no effect on other other drugs eliminated through the liver.


It is contraindicated in those who has asthma or diabetes.


Unlike Xanax, which one will gain a tolerance to, and one has to be carefully weened from to prevent withdrawal side effects, one does not form a tolerance to Atenolol, so the dose will not need to be increased, unless it is found that your starting dose needs to be higher, and it is not addictive.


As far as how the atenolol will make you feel, it may be very suttle, and you are likely just to notice a lack of anxiety rather than any type of feeling.


I hope this helps you. This is a good method of treating anxiety that your doctor has prescribed for you, and this drug is considered safer than Xanax (xanax is a controlled substance, atenolol is not).


But because xanax has a quick onset, and atenolol slower, there is no problem for you to take them together.


There are also many methods you can learn to help with your anxiety as well. If you have never tried these, or even if you have, you should read about these and practice them over and over as they take practice before one really gets proficient at them. If you look at the end of this article, you will find several relaxation techniques, probably some you have not heard of.




Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Your answer was WONDERFUL.

My only remaining quick question is - I took 1/2 of a 50mg trazedone about 2 hours ago hoping it would help me sleep (I know this is a super-low dose but I really am terrified of medicine, and it didn't work anyway...) but...could I try the atenolol now, or should I wait for a few hours?

Thank you so very, very much. You are so kind, and your answer has helped reassure me.

I'll look up to see if there is any interaction between them and be right back.


First of all since it has been two hours since you took the trazadone, there is likely to be little additive effect.


If you took all three at the same time, then it would be important to arise slowly from a sitting or recumbent position, as the body may take a few seconds longer to adjust the blood pressure. So especially after laying down for awhile, you will want to first sit up on the side of the bed before standing up to avoid and dizziness or lightheadedness.


It should be safe to take the dose of atenolol that you have now, especially since you are not feeling the effects of the trazodone.


Thank you very much for your compliments. I think you will be able to relax and get to sleep before too long now.



Susan Ivy, Nurse (RN)
Category: Health
Satisfied Customers: 4058
Experience: BSN, MSN, CNS
Susan Ivy and 4 other Health Specialists are ready to help you
please review my last reply, I added to it after you looked at it , I believe.

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