Blockers, beta: A class of drugs that block beta-adrenergic substances such as adrenaline (epinephrine), a key agent in the "sympathetic" portion of the autonomic (involuntary) nervous system. They slow the heart beat, lessen the force with which the heart muscle contracts and reduce blood vessel contraction in the heart, brain, and throughout the body. Beta blockers can serve to treat abnormal heart rhythms (cardiac arrhythmias).


They are used specifically to prevent abnormally fast heart rates (tachycardias) or irregular heart rhythms such as premature ventricular beats. Since beta blockers reduce the demand of the heart muscle for oxygen and the chest pain of angina pectoris occurs when the oxygen demand of the heart exceeds the supply, beta blockers can be useful in treating angina. Beta blocker preparations for this purpose include timolol ophthalmic solution (TIMOPTIC) and betaxolol hydrochloride (BETOPTIC, BETOPTIC).





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