Atenolol is a prescription medication used to manage your blood pressure levels. It works by making your heart beat slower and with less force. It usually starts working within 3 hours, but it can take 2 weeks to notice its full effects.

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Atenolol is a medication prescribed for high blood pressure that works to make your heart beat slower, and with less force.

Atenolol starts reducing your blood pressure within 3 hours of taking the medication, but it will take around 2 weeks to notice its full effects. It can also prevent heart attacks, strokes, and heart disease.

Dr Louisa Draper

Medically reviewed by

Dr Louisa Draper

Last reviewed: 02 Apr 2022

Atenolol prices

Pack Size Price
25 mg - 3 x 28 tablet(s) £18.00
25 mg - 6 x 28 tablet(s) £25.00
50 mg - 3 x 28 tablet(s) £18.00
50 mg - 6 x 28 tablet(s) £18.00
100 mg - 3 x 28 tablet(s) £18.00
100 mg - 6 x 28 tablet(s) £25.00

How it Works

Order Atenolol Tablets

What is Atenolol?

Atenolol tablets are a medication for high blood pressure and other heart and blood vessel conditions. They contain an active ingredient known as atenolol, which belongs to a group of medications called beta blockers. Beta blockers work to slow down the beating of your heart, which can lower your blood pressure.

How does Atenolol work?

Atenolol works by slowing down your heart rate, and making your heart beat with less force. This makes it easier for your heart to pump your blood around your body, which lowers your blood pressure.

How long does it take atenolol to take effect?

Atenolol can reduce your blood pressure within 3 hours of taking a tablet, but It will take around 2 weeks to feel the full effects of the medication.

How long does atenolol stay in your system?

Atenolol can stay in your system for around 24 hours.

How to take Atenolol

Atenolol is taken once a day, in the morning. The tablet must be swallowed whole, with a glass of water. This will help you remember to take it. Atenolol is a long term treatment, meaning that you need to continue taking it for it to have an effect while having your blood pressure monitored by your doctor.

What is the best time to take atenolol?

The best time to take atenolol is in the morning, as you will get the best effect from the medication during the day. Some doctors recommend that you take your first tablet in the evening as it can make you dizzy. If you feel fine, you can start taking them in the morning from then on.

What should I do if I miss a tablet?

If you miss a tablet, take it as soon as you remember. If it is time for your next dose, just continue treatment as normal. Do not take 2 tablets to make up for the missed tablet, as this means you are taking a higher dose, which could cause side effects.

Atenolol doses

When you start taking atenolol, it’s likely you will be prescribed a lower dose, such as 25mg. This will be increased over a few days, whilst your body gets used to the medication. The usual dose for atenolol when used for high blood pressure is 25mg to 50mg, once a day. Your doctor might prescribe you a different dose if you have other health conditions or problems with your kidneys, or if the lower dose is enough to bring your blood pressure down to a healthy range. Atenolol is also used for other conditions, such as chest pain (angina) and heart rhythm disorders (arrhythmias).

Atenolol 25mg

This is the usual starting dose for treatment, which will be increased over a few days. Atenolol 25mg may be given for 2 to 3 days before the dosage is increased. This is so your body can get used to the medication, and to make sure you do not receive a dose that is too high for you or causes side effects.

Atenolol 50mg

Atenolol 50mg may be given after 25mg to build up the dose. In some patients, 50mg may be a high enough dose to treat high blood pressure. Elderly patients, or those who have kidney conditions, may stay on 50mg tablets.

Atenolol 100mg

Atenolol 100mg is the usual dose for hypertension and will be given after 50mg tablets. You will be prescribed this once a day if your doctor has told you it is safe for you.

How to buy Atenolol

Can I buy atenolol online?

Yes, you can buy atenolol online safely and conveniently from Superdrug Online Doctor, with discreet delivery straight to your door. All you have to do is complete a short online questionnaire about your health, and our doctors can prescribe atenolol if it is safe and appropriate for you. All orders are delivered in discreet packaging, and our doctors can provide free expert advice if you have any questions about atenolol or your blood pressure.

How much does atenolol cost?

We provide a 3 month pack of atenolol for £18.

Can I buy atenolol over the counter?

No, you can’t get atenolol over the counter without a prescription. Atenolol is a prescription medication, which means a doctor needs to check to make sure it’s safe for you to take before you can get it.

Can I get atenolol on the NHS?

Yes, some NHS practices may prescribe atenolol for high blood pressure. You will need to make an appointment with your GP and have a health assessment to make sure it is right for you.

Atenolol side effects

Atenolol, like all medications, can cause some side effects. If you get any serious side effects, you must stop taking atenolol tablets and go straight to A&E.

The serious side effects are:

  • signs of a heart block, such as dizziness, fainting, or an abnormal heartbeat
  • signs of a serious allergic reaction, such as wheezing, swelling of the face or lips, and a rash
  • signs of heart failure, such as swollen ankles and shortness of breath
  • There are other side effects you may get when taking atenolol.

Common side effects include:

  • slower pulse (this is normal but if you are worried, speak to your doctor)
  • diarrhoea
  • cold feet and hands
  • nausea (feeling sick)
  • feeling tired
  • aching or tired muscles

Uncommon side effects include:

  • trouble sleeping

Rare side effects include:

  • heart block
  • skin rash
  • Raynaud’s disease, such as numbness in the fingers followed by pain and warmth
  • depression or other mood changes
  • nightmares
  • confusion
  • feeling scared
  • personality changes or hallucinations
  • headaches
  • dizziness
  • erectile dysfunction
  • tingling in your hands
  • thinning hair
  • dry mouth or eyes
  • changes to your vision
  • bruising more easily due to low platelets in your blood
  • purple marks on the skin
  • jaundice, which can cause your skin to go yellow

Most side effects will go away once your body is used to the medication, but you should speak to your doctor if you get any.

Some conditions can get worse whilst you are taking atenolol, these are:

  • swollen ankles and shortness of breath, if you have heart failure - this may indicate your heart failure is worse and you must see a doctor for advice
  • psoriasis, a skin condition
  • asthma or other breathing problems
  • poor circulation

What are the long term side effects of atenolol?

Atenolol can very rarely cause changes in your blood. Your doctor should take a blood sample at least every year whilst you are taking it.

Atenolol erectile dysfunction

Atenolol can cause erectile dysfunction, but this is rare. You can also get erectile dysfunction if your blood pressure is high. Speak to your doctor if you are taking atenolol and get erectile dysfunction, as they will be able to suggest treatment for you or alternative blood pressure treatment.

Does atenolol cause weight gain?

Atenolol does not have weight gain listed as a side effect. Some beta blockers can cause weight gain so you should speak to your doctor if you gain weight unexpectedly whilst taking atenolol.

Why does atenolol cause a cough?

Atenolol does not cause a cough. If you get a cough whilst taking atenolol, it could be a sign of heart problems, so speak to your doctor straight away. If you are taking other blood pressure medication then it may be the cause of the cough.

What happens if I stop taking atenolol?

You should not stop taking atenolol without speaking to your doctor first. If you stop taking atenolol, your blood pressure will rise, and this could be dangerous. If you want to stop taking atenolol, your doctor may tell you to stop taking it gradually, over 1 to 2 weeks. They will monitor you during this time.

Atenolol warnings

Atenolol is not suitable for everyone and should not be given to children. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, speak with your doctor before taking atenolol.

You should not take atenolol tablets if you:

  • are allergic to atenolol
  • have metabolic acidosis, which is a high level of acid in your blood
  • have severe heart problems, especially second or third degree heart block, or heart failure that is not under control
  • have a tumour near your kidney called pheochromocytoma, which is not being treated

You should speak to your doctor before taking atenolol if you have:

  • asthma or breathing problems
  • angina (chest pain)
  • problems with your kidneys
  • an overactive thyroid gland
  • heart block
  • diabetes
  • heart failure
  • poor blood circulation

Some medications can affect the way atenolol works so speak to your doctor if you also take:

  • cold or sinus remedies
  • other high blood pressure medications, such as clonidine
  • medication for heart problems, such as quinidine, digoxin or nifedipine
  • adrenaline
  • ibuprofen
  • diabetic medication

You must also tell your doctor that you are taking atenolol if you have an operation as it may interact with some anaesthetics.

Atenolol and Viagra

Atenolol and Viagra can both cause low blood pressure. Speak to your doctor before taking Viagra if you take atenolol.

What painkillers can I take with atenolol?

Paracetamol is safe to take with atenolol. You should speak to your doctor before taking ibuprofen with Atenolol, as it could cause side effects and affect the way atenolol works.

Foods to avoid when taking atenolol

You can eat normally when taking atenolol. You should avoid or limit the amount of alcohol you drink whilst taking it, as this can make your blood pressure drop too low. You may get dizzy if you drink alcohol and take atenolol.

Atenolol and grapefruit

Atenolol does not have any interactions with grapefruit but this does not mean that an interaction does not exist. If you have grapefruit and get any side effects, speak to your doctor.

Coronavirus and atenolol

Atenolol is not linked to the severity of coronavirus, as found in this study. It also is not known to increase the risk of death in coronavirus patients. If you catch coronavirus, you should continue to take your blood pressure medications. Speak to your doctor if you have any concerns.

Atenolol alternatives

There are other alternatives to atenolol if it is not suitable for you or does not work, but you should not change your medication without speaking to a doctor about this first. There are other beta blockers, which can work on your heart and other parts of your body to lower your blood pressure, such as propranolol. These may cause more side effects, as they work on more parts of your body.

The common alternatives to atenolol include:

Many patients take beta blockers with another blood pressure medication.

What if atenolol does not work?

If atenolol does not work, your doctor may adjust your dose, unless you are already taking 100mg tablets. They may suggest an alternative treatment or may give you another treatment with atenolol. If you do not feel better after taking atenolol for 2 weeks, speak to your doctor. You should also talk to your doctor about lifestyle measures to reduce your blood pressure and protect your heart.


Antihypertensive drugs and risk of incident gout among patients with hypertension: population based case-control study (2012) British Medical Journal (BMJ) (accessed 24 September 2021)

Antihypertensive Drugs and COVID-19 Risk (2021) American Heart Association (AHA) (accessed 24 September 2021)

Atenolol (2019) NHS (accessed 24 September 2021)

ATENOLOL (2021) NICE (accessed 24 September 2021)

Atenolol 50 mg Tablets (2020) EMC (accessed 24 September 2021)

High blood pressure (hypertension) (2019) NHS (accessed 24 September 2021) 

Sildenafil Interactions (2021) NICE (accessed 24 September 2021)

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