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What is the Recommended Atenolol Dosage?

Tricia Christensen
Updated Feb 05, 2024
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Atenolol is also called by its brand name Tenormin®. It belongs to a class of drugs called beta-blockers and its specific uses are to treat pain associated with angina and to help control high blood pressure. It is most prescribed for adults and hasn’t been tested significantly for use with children. However, in rare instances atenolol might be used for kids with rare heart defects or disease when other medications are not working.

Atenolol dosage will vary by each patient, and age of patient can be a determining factor. There are also very specific directions on how and when to take this medication. Warnings also exist about possible drug interactions and side effects.

Most people begin dosage at 25-50 mg. According to medical literature on this topic, maximum atenolol dosage is 100 mg (although some patients may take as much as 200 mg) and this may not be high enough to completely lower blood pressure. Some people will require other medications that work with this drug to fully address symptoms.

There are special guidelines for atenolol dosage among the elderly. Their dose may stay at 25-50 mg. This is because the medication can affect the kidneys. Particular concerns exist when using this medication in any person who has impaired kidney function. If used, the dose is generally at the low end.

Another exception to atenolol dosage may occur when the medication is used for other purposes. Sometimes doctors use it right after a heart attack has occurred to stabilize blood pressure. The amount used will depend upon the discretion of the treating physician.

For most people who take this medication at home, the dosing instructions are the same, no matter the amount. People should strive to take atenolol at the same time every day and they should take it with a large glass of water. If the medication works effectively, most patients will see results in one to two weeks after beginning treatment.

There are a number of medications that may not be used when taking atenolol regularly. These include some common over the counter and prescription medications. People should avoid over the counter drugs like calcium carbonate, which is present in many antacids. Antibiotics like ampicillin are not advised, nor are medications such as insulin. If unsure, patients should check with doctors or a pharmacist to make certain this medication won’t interfere with other common meds.

A few people should not take atenolol, and these include women who are pregnant, plan to become pregnant or who are breastfeeding. This medication does secrete through breast milk. It has also been indicated in causing birth defects. Those with diabetes, impaired kindney function, or history of asthma may also want to alert their doctor to these conditions prior to beginning atenolol.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a WiseGeek contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.
Discussion Comments
By anon925830 — On Jan 14, 2014

I am on 100 mg per day. I think it's too high a dose.

By anon332861 — On May 01, 2013

I am on low dose atenolol for high blood pressure. I also have "white coat syndrome". My blood pressure would often be about 180/90-100 in the doctors office. I was started on 25 mg and have remained on that and it has made a huge difference even to in clinic measurements.

Would I be right (since I have been claiming this for years due to physical feelings but pretty much ridiculed) that I might have some sort of disorder whereby too much adrenaline is produced (used to get major out-of-the-blue feelings of fight or flight), or that I have too many adrenaline receptors? Or do I have an anxiety disorder (I rarely feel stressed now since I started on low dose atenolol). I have a background in biomedical sciences so I can understand most concepts. Look forward to reading your opinions.

By accordion — On Feb 09, 2011

The side effects are one of the reasons that atenolol dosage can vary so much from person to person. My dad takes either this drug or a similar one, and he does not suffer any side effects, though he probably could also take a larger dose if his doctor chose. As it is, though, he is doing fine.

By behaviourism — On Feb 07, 2011

Taking drugs like atenolol will not always help to lower blood pressure. You also do need to think about things like dietary factors, exercise, and other lifestyle changes. Often a multi- prong approach is needed to really help blood pressure.

By PandaGolden — On Feb 07, 2011

@Moontiger – I take atenolol, and when I first started I was tired and a little dizzy. Plus my heart rate slowed down and my hands and feet were cold. My blood pressure would also go down for a minute whenever I switched from a seated to standing position, or a lying down to standing position. All those side effects eventually went away though, and now I’m doing great with it.

By moonTiger — On Feb 07, 2011

I just started taking atenolol; can anyone tell me some more about the side effects that come with it? Thanks!

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a WiseGeek contributor, Tricia...
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