Compare Atenolol vs. Norvasc

Head-to-head comparisons of medication uses, side effects, ratings, and more.

Tenormin
(Atenolol)

Norvasc
(Amlodipine)

Lowers blood pressure and controls heart rate. Tenormin (Atenolol) is good for controlling chest pain and treating heart failure and heart attack with fewer side effects than other beta blockers. You have to take it on an empty stomach, and you can't miss doses.Lowers blood pressure. Norvasc (Amlodipine) works well to lower blood pressure and prevent chest pain. You can't miss doses, and you might get persistent swelling.
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Reviews & ratings
Button Group. All currently active
Button Group. All currently active
4.896860986547085Atenolol
Reviews for Tenormin (Atenolol)
57%
of people say Tenormin (Atenolol) is worth it
48%
say it works well
16%
say it's a big hassle
Reviews for Norvasc (Amlodipine)
59%
+2% vs. Tenormin (Atenolol)
50%
+2% vs. Tenormin (Atenolol)
14%
+2% vs. Tenormin (Atenolol)
Side effects
AtenololNorvasc
  • Tiredness 13%
  • Dizziness 7%
  • Cold extremities 7%
  • Low mood disorder 3%
  • Vivid dreams 2%
  • Shortness of breath 2%
  • Leg pain 2%
  • Nausea 2%
  • Diarrhea 1%
  • Fatigue 1%
More Atenolol side effects »
  • Swelling due to excess fluid 10%
  • Fatigue 2%
  • Nausea 1%
  • Dizziness 1%
More Norvasc side effects »
How it works
AtenololNorvasc
Tenormin (Atenolol) is a selective beta blocker that works specifically on the heart. It lowers blood pressure by slowing down the heart and making it less work to pump.Norvasc (Amlodipine) is a calcium channel blocker. It lowers blood pressure by slowing your heart rate and relaxing your blood vessels. Your heart gets more oxygen and doesn't have to work as hard to pump, which can relieve chest pain.
Type of medication
AtenololNorvasc
Antihypertensive
Beta blocker
Prescription only
Antihypertensive
Calcium channel blocker
Prescription only
Available as
AtenololNorvasc
  • Pill
  • Pill
Used for (click to learn more)
AtenololNorvasc
Risk factors for serious side effects
AtenololNorvasc
  • Suddenly stopping Tenormin (Atenolol)
    • Taking calcium channel blockers
    • Major surgery requiring anesthesia
    • Diabetes
      • Taking clonidine
      Detailed Tenormin (Atenolol) risks & warnings »
      • Age 65 years or older
      • History of heart problems
      • Liver disease
      • History of blood vessel disease
      • History of heart failure
      • History of kidney disease
      • Obesity
      Detailed Norvasc (Amlodipine) risks & warnings »
      Pregnancy category
      AtenololNorvasc
      DFDA pregnancy category (Weigh risks vs. benefits)

      Research studies with real people found harmful effects on unborn babies, but the benefits might outweigh the risks even if you’re pregnant. Talk with your doctor.

      See the FDA package insert
      CFDA pregnancy category (Weigh risks vs. benefits)

      Research studies with animals found harmful effects on unborn babies. It hasn’t been properly studied in humans. The benefits might outweigh the risks even if you’re pregnant. Talk with your doctor.

      See the FDA package insert
      Alcohol
      No specific alcohol-related info.No specific alcohol-related info.
      Food
      No specific food-related info.No specific food-related info.
      Kidneys and liver
      No specific kidneys and liver-related info.
      • Norvasc (Amlodipine) can cause varying degrees of swelling in your limbs. The most commonly affected areas are your feet, ankles, legs, or occasionally your arms. Swelling may be worse if you have other conditions that makes it hard for your body to get rid of fluids such as congestive heart failure or kidney disease. If your swelling is caused by Norvasc (Amlodipine), it should improve when you stop taking the medication. If the swelling is bothersome, a different medication may be better for you.
      Sex
      No specific sex-related info.No specific sex-related info.
      Sleep
      No specific sleep-related info.No specific sleep-related info.
      Weight
      No specific weight-related info.No specific weight-related info.
      Upsides and benefits
      AtenololNorvasc
      • A first-choice treatment to prevent chest pain (angina).
      • A first-choice treatment for heart failure and heart attack.
      • At lower doses, Atenolol has fewer side effects than most beta blockers because it targets the heart and doesn't cross into the brain and central nervous system.
      • A first-choice blood pressure treatment for many people.
      • Calcium channel blockers work especially well for African Americans to lower blood pressure.
      • Lowers the risk of heart attack and stroke.
      • Prevents heart-related chest pain (angina) if you take it regularly.
      • Each dose lasts longer than other calcium channel blockers, which keeps blood pressure consistent without big ups and downs.
      • Particularly good at lowering systolic blood pressure (the top number), so it's a good option for older people who can commonly get high blood pressure only in the top number.
      Downsides and risks
      AtenololNorvasc
      • You have to take Atenolol on an empty stomach.
      • Taking a beta blocker might make you feel more tired or out of breath during exercise or normal daily routines. This gets better for most people, but for some might not go away.
      • Not a first-choice treatment for high blood pressure according to the latest guidelines, except if you have heart failure or heart disease. As a second choice, your doctor might add it to medicines you're already taking if your blood pressure is still too high.
      • You can't miss doses. Stopping Atenolol suddenly can cause your blood pressure to go up suddenly, which raises the risk of heart attack and stroke.
      • Can hide symptoms of low blood sugar if you're diabetic.
      • Calcium channel blockers can cause swelling in your limbs. If this happens for you, it probably won't get better over time, so talk to your doctor about alternatives if it bothers you.
      • Women are more likely to have side effects (especially swelling) from Amlodipine than men.
      • Some people might experience flushing with this medication.
      • You can't miss doses. Stopping Amlodipine suddenly can cause your blood pressure to go up suddenly, which raises the risk of heart attack and stroke.
      • If you have severe heart disease, using Amlodipine might increase your risk of chest pain or heart attack during the time right after starting the medication or raising the dosage.
      • Might not be a good choice if you have liver disease.
      Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
      AtenololNorvasc
      • Take it on an empty stomach.
      • Can cause fatigue and insomnia.
      • Can hide symptoms of low blood sugar. Be careful if you're diabetic.
      • Don't stop taking this medicine suddenly.
      • Can cause dizziness in the first few days.
      • Check your blood pressure 1 week after starting this medicine, and tell your doctor if it hasn't improved.
      • Interacts with the cholesterol medicine Simvastatin.
      • Can cause ankle or foot swelling.
      • Can cause gum overgrowth. Ask your dentist to check for this side effect.
      • Can cause dizziness in the first few days.
      • Check your blood pressure 1 week after starting this medicine, and tell your doctor if it hasn't improved.
      Learn more
      More about AtenololSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
      More about NorvascSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert