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Drugs Information Healthline

What you need to know about beta-blockers?

Beta-blockers are drugs that can lower stress on the heart and blood vessels. They can also help manage migraine, anxiety, tremor, and other conditions.
Other names for beta-blockers include beta-antagonists, beta-adrenergic blocking agents, and beta-adrenergic antagonists.
In this article, learn about the different types of beta-blockers, how they work, and who they can help.

How they work

Doctors mainly prescribe beta-blockers to manage cardiovascular symptoms, such as angina and high blood pressure.

Beta-blockers work by blocking the action of certain hormones in the nervous system, such as adrenaline. By doing this, they help prevent the activation of the “fight-or-flight” stress response.

Adrenaline and noradrenaline are hormones that prepare the muscles in the body for exertion. This is a crucial part of responding to danger.

If the body releases high levels of adrenaline, a person may experience a rapid heartbeat, high blood pressure, excessive sweating, anxiety, and heart palpitations.

Blocking the release of these hormones lowers stress on the heart and reduces the force of the contractions of the heart muscle. In turn, it also takes pressure off the blood vessels in the heart, the brain, and the rest of the body.

Beta-blockers also obstruct the production of angiotensin II, which is a hormone that the kidneys produce. This relaxes and widens the blood vessels, easing the flow of blood through them.

Uses

Beta-blockers have a range of uses. The sections below outline some of them.
Cardiovascular symptoms
The main use of beta-blockers is to manage cardiovascular symptoms.
They can help treat or prevent the followingTrusted Source:

Migraine

In 2012, the American Academy of Neurology and American Headache SocietyTrusted Source recommended using propranolol and metoprolol, both of which are types of beta-blocker, as a first-line therapy for preventing migraine.
A 2019 reviewTrusted Source of trials from around the world concluded that propranolol was more effective than a placebo in preventing migraine and tension-type headaches.
Overall, the results suggested that this medication can reduce the number of episodes a person experiences from five to three per month.

Glaucoma

Glaucoma is a condition in which pressure grows within the eye due to a buildup of fluid. It is a common cause of vision loss among older adults.
Doctors often prescribe eye drops containing beta-blockers to lower the production of this fluid and reduce pressure within the eye.

Anxiety

Beta-blockers block the effects of stress hormones. As a result, they can also reduce the physical symptoms of anxiety, such as trembling and sweating.
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