Alpha-Beta Blockers: Uses, Side Effects

Alpha-beta blockers are medications that contain both an alpha blocker and a beta blocker, combining the effects of the two medications. They belong to a class of medications called “adrenergic inhibitors,” which act on nerve transmitters related to certain hormones essential to the body. These combination therapies are most commonly used to treat hypertension, the condition more commonly known as high blood pressure.

The critical mechanism of action of alpha-beta blockers lies in the combination of two distinct drug classes.

The first, known as alpha blockers or alpha-adrenergic antagonists, work by relaxing certain vascular muscles and blocking the tightening action of the hormone norepinephrine. This keeps the walls of the veins and small arteries open, allowing better blood flow. The muscle-relaxant function of these drugs also makes alpha blockers a good treatment option for older men with prostate problems because it helps improve urine flow.

The second class, known as beta blockers or beta-adrenergic blocking agents, work by blocking the effects of epinephrine, commonly referred to as adrenaline. These medications help the heart beat more slowly and with less force, which in turn reduces blood pressure. Beta blockers also improve blood flow and may be used to treat glaucoma and migraines.

Side Effects

Patients taking alpha-beta blockers need to take certain precautions, as faintness or dizziness can occur while taking the medications. These side effects commonly occur during a sudden change in position, such as standing up after lying down for a period of time.

Other possible side effects of alpha-beta blockers include:

  • Depression
  • Diarrhea
  • Slow heart rate
  • Swelling of the legs and feet
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Skin rashes may also occur
  • Wheezing or shortness of breath
  • Drowsiness


Keyword: alpha-beta blockers.

* The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.