Cardiovascular diseases are one of the deadliest conditions known to mankind. Most of them are irreversible. Hypertension, for example, can only be managed but never entirely cured. Once a person develops high blood pressure, it will be with him for the rest of his life
Though the ailments of the cardiovascular system may never be treated, management and prophylaxis is possible. Prevention of anginal attacks, arrhythmia and myocardial infarction are done through the use of certain drugs for the cardiovascular system.
Some of these drugs are the beta-blockers. Beta antagonists or beta-blockers mainly prevent the beta-adrenergic receptors from getting stimulated by epinephrine and norepinephrine. These beta receptors are mostly found in the heart and blood vessels, and by discouraging sympathetic activity of the cardiovascular system, the blood vessels and heart relax and promote more blood flow and easier blood circulation. A side effect of beta-blockers is usually bronchoconstriction. Fortunately, cardioselective beta-blockers were discovered. These cardioselective beta antagonists lessen the risk of constriction because it mainly targets beta-1 receptors. Most of the receptors found in the heart are beta-1, while the ones in the muscles of the bronchi are mostly beta-2. Two of the most commonly used cardioselective beta-blockers are metoprolol and atenolol.
Metoprolol is used for the management of angina pectoris, high blood pressure, irregular heart rhythm and prevention of heart attacks and heart failure. It is also said to be used for migraine headaches. It has the ability to lower blood pressure and heart rate. The most common side effects of this drug are dizziness and lightheadedness.
Atenolol, since also a cardioselective beta antagonist, functions pretty much the same way as metoprolol. It is prescribed in cases of hypertension, arrhythmia and angina. These two substances have many similarities. Excessive doses of either drug can cause lowered heart rate, extreme hypotension. Both these drugs are not suitable for patients experiencing bradycardia, as these drugs lower heart rate. High doses of these substances may also create a risk of bronchoconstriction, but at normal, prescribed doses, they are less risky than non-cardioselective beta-blockers. However, patients with asthma are still advised to take these with caution. Recent studies have also shown depression and hair loss are side effects of both these drugs. Also, they both cause withdrawal symptoms when stopped suddenly.
Metoprolol vs Atenolol Comparison
Now metoprolol VS atenolol will be compared. Although having many similar functions and side effects, these two cardiovascular drugs do differ in some ways. Some studies show a higher incidence of sleep disturbance and hallucinations in patients taking metoprolol. This is possibly due to the more lipophilic or fat-soluble property of metoprolol VS atenolol, so it readily crosses the blood-brain barrier and affects the central nervous system easily. Atenolol, being hydrophilic, enters the placenta barrier easily, which means it may pass into the breastmilk of a mother and harm her baby. It is always best to inform a physician if the patient is pregnant because many drugs may affect the baby.
Metoprolol VS atenolol half-life shall be discussed also. The usual dose of atenolol taken orally lasts for about 24 hours. Metoprolol, however, has a short half-life. This is why it is prescribed twice a day and why extended-release formulations of this drug were made. Therefore, a huge difference in half-life can be seen in metoprolol VS atenolol.
Consulting a physician is required when taking these two medications as they can cause severe, even fatal, side effects, especially when ceased abruptly. When comparing metoprolol VS atenolol, one may differ from the other in some ways, but both are risky when stopped without doctor’s advice.