Atenolol (brand name Tenormin) is a type of medication known as a beta blocker. Beta blockers are often used for cardiovascular diseases, such as hypertension (high blood pressure). But could it also be used for vertigo?
You won’t find atenolol for vertigo on most lists of medication for vertigo, and there are two reasons for that. But, as we will see, it is sometimes helpful in alleviating vertigo.
First, atenolol is not typically a medication used to suppress vertigo symptoms. In fact, beta blockers are not commonly thought of as vertigo treatments.
However, they are migraine treatments. That being said, atenolol is a less commonly prescribed migraine drug.
So atenolol is sometimes used to treat migraine – migraine with the symptom of vertigo. Treat the migraine, treat the vertigo.
However, you still won’t find it on most lists, because it’s not usually one of the first beta blockers to try.
Beta blockers that seem to be more effective for treating migraine (including migraine related vertigo) include propranolol, metoprolol and timolol. Atenolol also tends to be discouraged in pregnant women, seniors, and people with depression and diabetes (among other things).
The short answer is this: Medication for vertigo will depend on the cause of the vertigo. If the vertigo is related to migraine, your best bet is to treat the migraine disease itself. Beta blockers are an option (not necessarily the first option to try, however), and atenolol may be helpful. But your doctor will probably recommend you try other treatments first, before recommending atenolol for vertigo (for examples of higher rated treatments, including beta blockers, check out From Current Studies: What Migraine Treatments Work?).
For an overview of the drug treatments for vertigo, check Management of Dizziness and Vertigo. Also see Migraine-associated dizziness: patient characteristics and management options. and Atenolol in the prophylaxis of chronic migraine. Finally, here is a discussion including atenolol for vertigo in migraine.