Our expert says:
Atenolol is a cardioselective beta-blocker, meaning that its risk of causing bronchoconstriction is smaller as those beta-blockers that also exerts an effect on the airways.
This is a basic summary of what the literature has to say:
Atenolol is classified as a ß1-selective (or 'cardioselective') drug, one that exerts greater blocking activity on myocardial ß1-receptors than on ß2 receptors in the lung. The ß2 receptors are responsible for keeping the bronchial system open. If these receptors are blocked, bronchospasm with serious lack of oxygen in the body can result. However, due to its cardioselective properties, the risk of bronchospastic reactions if using atenolol is reduced compared to nonselective drugs as propranolol. Nonetheless, this reaction may also be encountered with atenolol at high doses. Although traditionally B-blockers have been contraindicated when a person carries a diagnosis of asthma, recent studies have revealed that at moderate doses selective B blockers such as Atenolol are well tolerated.
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