Compare Atenolol vs. Tenex

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

Tenormin
(atenolol)

Tenex
(guanfacine)

Lowers blood pressure and controls heart rate. Tenormin (atenolol) is good for controlling chest pain and treating a heart attack. It has fewer side effects than other beta blockers. You need to take it on an empty stomach and you can't skip doses.Treats ADHD and lowers blood pressure. Tenex (Guanfacine) can be used to treat both blood pressure and ADHD, but it's not recommended as a first-line treatment for either problem.
Reviews & ratings
Filter group. All currently selected
Filter group. All currently selected
4.92Atenolol
Reviews for Atenolol
58%
of people (All ages) say Atenolol is worth it
48%
say it works well
16%
say it's a big hassle
457 reviews
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Have you used Tenex (guanfacine)?
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Side effects
AtenololTenex
  • Tiredness 13%
  • Dizziness 7%
  • Low mood disorder 3%
  • Cold arms and legs 7%
  • Fatigue 1%
  • Shortness of breath 2%
  • Light-headedness 3%
  • Leg pain 2%
  • Decreased energy 3%
More Atenolol side effects »
  • Dry mouth 1%
  • Dizziness 2%
  • Any side effect 3%
  • Muscle weakness 2%
  • Drowsiness 13%
  • Impotence 3%
  • Constipation 5%
More Tenex side effects »
How it works
AtenololTenex
Tenormin (atenolol) is a selective beta blocker that works specifically on the heart by slowing down the heart and making the heart pump better.Tenex (Guanfacine) is a centrally-acting alpha agonist medication. It lowers blood pressure by slowing down the heart rate and relaxing the blood vessels. It's not clear how Tenex (Guanfacine) works in ADHD, but it's used when stimulants haven't worked or can't be used in people.
Type of medication
AtenololTenex
Prescription onlyPrescription only
Available as
AtenololTenex
  • Pill
  • Pill
  • Extended release
Used for
AtenololTenex
Risk factors for serious side effects
AtenololTenex
  • Suddenly stopping Tenormin (atenolol)
  • Taking calcium channel blockers
  • Major surgery requiring anesthesia
  • Diabetes
  • Taking clonidine
Detailed Tenormin (atenolol) risks & warnings »
  • Taking other medications that cause sedation or sleepiness
  • Stopping Tenex (Guanfacine) suddenly to treat high blood pressure
Detailed Tenex (guanfacine) risks & warnings »
Pregnancy

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.

Research studies with animals haven’t found a risk to unborn babies, but it hasn’t been properly studied in humans.

Alcohol
AtenololTenex
No alcohol related info.
  • Limit the amount of alcohol you drink while taking this.
Sleep
AtenololTenex
No sleep related info.
  • People report having sleepiness or sedation while on Tenex (Guanfacine). You're at higher risk for this if you're taking other medications that have similar effects. Don't drive or do anything that requires concentration until you know how Tenex (Guanfacine) affects you.
  • You can feel sleepy the first few times you take it, or when your dose is increased. Don't drive or do anything that requires concentration until you know how the medication affects your body.
Upsides and benefits
AtenololTenex
  • A first-choice treatment to prevent chest pain (angina).
  • A first-choice treatment for heart attack recovery.
  • At lower doses, Tenormin (atenolol) has fewer side effects than other beta blockers because it targets the heart and not other parts of the body.
  • The same medication treats two different things, high blood pressure and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
  • It's not a "controlled medication".
  • Used to control ADHD when stimulant medications haven't worked or can't be used due to other medical problems.
  • Available as a generic medication, so it should be more affordable than other options.
Downsides and risks
AtenololTenex
  • You need to take Tenormin (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 it might not go away for others.
  • Not a first-choice treatment for high blood pressure unless you have heart disease. However, your doctor could add it to other medicines you're already if your blood pressure is still too high.
  • You can't miss or skip doses. If you stop Tenormin (atenolol) suddenly, it can cause your blood pressure to go up really quickly, raising your risk of heart attack and stroke.
  • Tenormin (atenolol) can hide symptoms of low blood sugar if you're diabetic.
  • Doesn't control ADHD as well as stimulants do, so it's used as a second-line medication.
  • Not a preferred drug to control blood pressure.
  • Can't be stopped suddenly, especially for blood pressure, since the blood pressure can dramatically increase.
Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
AtenololTenex
  • Lowers bad cholesterol and triglycerides. Raises good cholesterol.
  • Avoid grapefruit and grapefruit juice while taking this medicine.
  • Tell your doctor if you develop sudden muscle pain, fever, or weakness.
  • Tell your doctor if you notice dark urine or yellowing in your eyes or skin.
  • Don't stop taking Tenex (Guanfacine) without talking to your doctor first.
  • Limit the amount of alcohol you drink while taking this.
  • Drink plenty of liquids and don't get overheated while taking Tenex (Guanfacine).
  • You can feel sleepy the first few times you take it, or when your dose is increased. Don't drive or do anything that requires concentration until you know how the medication affects your body.
  • Can take up to 2 weeks for the maximum effect.
Learn more
More about AtenololSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Tenormin (atenolol)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
More about TenexSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Tenex (guanfacine)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it