Compare Atenolol vs. Propranolol

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

Tenormin
(Atenolol)

Inderal
(Propranolol)

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 and controls heart rate. Inderal (Propranolol) is good for treating many heart problems and other problems in the body, but it has more side effects than other beta blockers. You can't miss doses.
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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 Inderal (Propranolol)
62%
+5% vs. Tenormin (Atenolol)
58%
+10% vs. Tenormin (Atenolol)
17%
1% vs. Tenormin (Atenolol)
Side effects
AtenololPropranolol
  • 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 »
  • Dizziness 5%
  • Fatigue 4%
More Propranolol side effects »
How it works
AtenololPropranolol
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.Inderal (Propranolol) is an alpha and beta blocker. It lowers blood pressure by slowing heart rate, relaxing blood vessels, and lowering the body's fight-or-flight response.
Type of medication
AtenololPropranolol
Antihypertensive
Beta blocker
Prescription only
Antihypertensive
Beta blocker
Prescription only
Available as
AtenololPropranolol
  • Pill
  • Pill
  • Extended release
  • Liquid
Used for (click to learn more)
AtenololPropranolol
Risk factors for serious side effects
AtenololPropranolol
  • Suddenly stopping Tenormin (Atenolol)
    • Taking calcium channel blockers
    • Major surgery requiring anesthesia
    • Diabetes
      • Taking clonidine
      Detailed Tenormin (Atenolol) risks & warnings »
      • Suddenly stopping Inderal (Propranolol)
        • Major surgery requiring anesthesia
        • Diabetes
          • Concurrent use of non-dihydropyridine calcium channel blockers, digoxin or clonidine
            Detailed Inderal (Propranolol) risks & warnings »
            Pregnancy category
            AtenololPropranolol
            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.No specific kidneys and liver-related info.
            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.
            • Cases of heart failure due to taking Inderal (Propranolol) have been reported. Tell your doctor if you noticed increased swelling around your legs or ankles, sudden weight gain or sudden shortness of breath as these may be symptoms of heart failure.
            Upsides and benefits
            AtenololPropranolol
            • 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 treatment to prevent chest pain (angina).
            • A first-choice treatment for heart failure, heart attack, heart valve disorders, and abnormal heart rhythm.
            • Also treats and prevents many non-heart problems, such as tremors, anxiety, migraines, and liver disease symptoms.
            • A first-choice treatment to prevent chest pain (angina).
            Downsides and risks
            AtenololPropranolol
            • You have to take Atenolol on an empty stomach.
            • 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.
            • 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.
            • Can hide symptoms of low blood sugar if you're diabetic.
            • Has more side effects than some beta blockers because it crosses into the brain and central nervous system.
            • You can't miss doses. Stopping Propranolol suddenly can cause your blood pressure to go up suddenly, which raises the risk of heart attack and stroke.
            • 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.
            • Can hide symptoms of low blood sugar if you're diabetic.
            Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
            AtenololPropranolol
            • Take it on an empty stomach.
            • Can cause fatigue and insomnia.
            • 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.
            • Can hide symptoms of low blood sugar. Be careful if you're diabetic.
            • Don't stop taking this medicine suddenly.
            • Can cause insomnia and fatigue.
            • 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.
            • Can hide symptoms of low blood sugar. Be careful if you're diabetic.
            • Don't stop taking this medicine suddenly.
            Learn more
            More about AtenololSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
            More about PropranololSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert