Atenolol (Tenormin) for migraine

by James on 2 April 2008

Atenolol, sold under the brand name Tenormin, is from a drug class commonly known as beta-blockers.  Beta-blockers (beta-adrenergic blocking agents) have a long history of success as migriane preventatives.  Although they’re not the first line of attack, they have worked with some patients who have not responded to the more usual migraine medications.

But what about Atenolol?  Is it a good option for you?

Tenormin is actually a very common beta blocker.  It’s usually used to treat cardiovascular diseases, such as hypertension.  Each beta-blockers works a little differently, and so they are prescribed to specific patients according to their situation.

Although Tenormin has helped some patients with migraine, it’s far more common to be prescribed Propranolol (Inderal) or metoprolol (Toprol), since right now the stats say they have the best chance of success.

As for beta-blockers themselves, there are common reasons why they might not be used.  For example, athletes don’t usually use them for migraine because they are less able to exercise.  Also, patients that already have low energy and/or depression are not the best candidates for this class of drugs, due to possible side-effects such as drowsiness, nightmares, depression, impotence, memory problems and sleep disorders.

Tenormin probably won’t be the first migraine drug your doctor prescribes, or even the first preventative or beta-blocker.  If you’ve tried it and it hasn’t helped, there are probably other choices out there that have a better chance of success.

Read more details about Tenormin at the MayoClinic.  Thanks to Migraine and Other Headaches, The Pill Book, and Headache: The Journal of Head and Face Pain for much of this information.

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