Frequently Asked Questions

acebutolol

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Sectral

Cardioselective beta blockers Group II antiarrhythmics


Pronunciation

What is acebutolol?

Acebutolol is in a group of drugs called beta-blockers. Beta-blockers affect the heart and circulation (blood flow through arteries and veins).

Acebutolol is used to treat hypertension (high blood pressure) and heart rhythm disorders.

Acebutolol may also be used for other purposes not listed in this medication guide.

What is the most important information I should know about acebutolol?

Do not stop taking acebutolol without first talking to your doctor. Stopping suddenly may make your condition worse.

If you need to have any type of surgery, you may need to temporarily stop using acebutolol. Be sure the surgeon knows ahead of time that you are using acebutolol.

Slideshow: 2014 Update - First Time Brand-to-Generic Switches

Acebutolol can cause side effects that may impair your thinking or reactions. Be careful if you drive or do anything that requires you to be awake and alert.

Avoid drinking alcohol, which could increase drowsiness and dizziness while you are taking acebutolol.

Acebutolol is only part of a complete program of treatment for hypertension that may also include diet, exercise, and weight control. Follow your diet, medication, and exercise routines very closely if you are being treated for hypertension.

Keep using this medicine as directed, even if you feel well. High blood pressure often has no symptoms. You may need to use blood pressure medication for the rest of your life.

What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking acebutolol?

If you have any of these conditions, you may not be able to use acebutolol, or you may need a dosage adjustment or special tests during treatment:

  • asthma, bronchitis, emphysema;

  • diabetes;

  • low blood pressure;

  • a heart problem such as heart block, sick sinus syndrome, slow heart rate, or congestive heart failure;

  • depression;

  • liver or kidney disease;

  • a thyroid disorder;

  • myasthenia gravis;

  • pheochromocytoma; or

  • problems with circulation (such as Raynaud's syndrome).

FDA pregnancy category B. This medication is not expected to be harmful to an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant during treatment.

Acebutolol can pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. Do not use this medication without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

How should I take acebutolol?

Take acebutolol exactly as it was prescribed for you. Do not take the medication in larger amounts or for longer than recommended by your doctor. Follow the directions on your prescription label.

Take this medication with a full glass of water.

Take acebutolol at the same time every day.

Do not skip doses or stop taking acebutolol without first talking to your doctor. Stopping suddenly may make your condition worse.

To be sure this medication is helping your condition, your blood pressure will need to be checked on a regular basis. It is important that you not miss any scheduled visits to your doctor.

If you need to have any type of surgery, tell the surgeon that you are using acebutolol. You may need to briefly stop using acebutolol before having surgery.

Acebutolol is only part of a complete program of treatment for hypertension that may also include diet, exercise, and weight control. Follow your diet, medication, and exercise routines very closely if you are being treated for hypertension.

Keep using this medicine as directed, even if you feel well. High blood pressure often has no symptoms. You may need to use blood pressure medication for the rest of your life.

Store acebutolol at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. If your next dose is less than 4 hours away, skip the missed dose and take the medicine at the next regularly scheduled time. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention if you think you have used too much of this medicine.

Overdose symptoms may include uneven heartbeats, shortness of breath, bluish-colored fingernails, dizziness, weakness, fainting, or seizure (convulsions).

What should I avoid while taking acebutolol?

Acebutolol can cause side effects that may impair your thinking or reactions. Be careful if you drive or do anything that requires you to be awake and alert.

Avoid drinking alcohol, which could increase drowsiness and dizziness while you are taking acebutolol.

Acebutolol side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Call your doctor at once if you have any of these serious side effects:

  • slow or uneven heartbeats;

  • feeling light-headed, fainting;

  • feeling short of breath, even with mild exertion;

  • swelling of your ankles or feet;

  • nausea, stomach pain, low fever, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes);

  • depression; or

  • cold feeling in your hands and feet.

Less serious side effects may include:

  • decreased sex drive, impotence, or difficulty having an orgasm;

  • sleep problems (insomnia);

  • tired feeling; or

  • anxiety, nervousness.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

See also: Side effects (in more detail)

Acebutolol dosing information

Usual Adult Dose for Hypertension:

Initial dose: 400 mg orally once a day or 200 mg orally twice a day.
Maintenance dose: 400 to 800 mg per day.

Usual Adult Dose for Premature Ventricular Depolarizations:

Initial dose: 200 mg orally twice a day.
Maintenance dose: 600 to 1200 mg per day in divided doses.

What other drugs will affect acebutolol?

Before taking acebutolol, tell your doctor if you are using:

  • allergy treatments (or if you are undergoing allergy skin-testing);

  • clonidine (Catapres);

  • guanabenz (Wytensin);

  • an MAO inhibitor such as isocarboxazid (Marplan), tranylcypromine (Parnate), phenelzine (Nardil), or selegiline (Eldepryl, Emsam);

  • a diabetes medication such as insulin, glyburide (Diabeta, Micronase, Glynase), glipizide (Glucotrol), chlorpropamide (Diabinese), or metformin (Glucophage);

  • a heart medication such as nifedipine (Procardia, Adalat), reserpine (Serpasil), verapamil (Calan, Verelan, Isoptin), diltiazem (Cartia, Cardizem);

  • medicine for asthma or other breathing disorders, such as albuterol (Ventolin, Proventil), metaproterenol (Alupent), pirbuterol (Maxair), terbutaline (Brethaire, Brethine, Bricanyl), and theophylline (Theo-Dur, Theolair); or

  • cold medicines, stimulant medicines, or diet pills.

This list is not complete and there may be other drugs that can interact with acebutolol. Tell your doctor about all the prescription and over-the-counter medications you use. This includes vitamins, minerals, herbal products, and drugs prescribed by other doctors. Do not start using a new medication without telling your doctor.

Where can I get more information?

  • Your pharmacist can provide more information about acebutolol.
  • Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.
  • Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ('Multum') is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum's drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.

Copyright 1996-2012 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 8.05. Revision Date: 2010-12-15, 5:01:39 PM.

Not all side effects for acebutolol may be reported. You should always consult a doctor or healthcare professional for medical advice. Side effects can be reported to the FDA here.

For the Consumer

Applies to acebutolol: oral capsule, oral tablet

In addition to its needed effects, some unwanted effects may be caused by acebutolol. In the event that any of these side effects do occur, they may require medical attention.

You should check with your doctor immediately if any of these side effects occur when taking acebutolol:

Less common
  • Changes in vision
  • chest pain
  • difficult or labored breathing
  • shortness of breath
  • swelling of face, fingers, feet, or lower legs
  • tightness in chest
  • wheezing

If any of the following symptoms of overdose occur while taking acebutolol, get emergency help immediately:

Symptoms of overdose
  • Anxiety
  • blurred vision
  • chest discomfort
  • chills
  • cold sweats
  • coma
  • confusion
  • convulsions
  • cool, pale skin
  • cough
  • decreased urine output
  • depression
  • dilated neck veins
  • dizziness, faintness, or lightheadedness when getting up from a lying or sitting position suddenly
  • extreme fatigue
  • headache
  • increased hunger
  • irregular breathing
  • loss of bladder control
  • muscle spasm or jerking of all extremities
  • nausea
  • nervousness
  • nightmares
  • noisy breathing
  • pain in the shoulders, back, neck, or jaw
  • shakiness
  • slow, fast, pounding, or irregular heartbeat
  • slurred speech
  • sudden loss of consciousness
  • sweating
  • troubled breathing
  • unusual tiredness or weakness
  • weight gain

Some of the side effects that can occur with acebutolol may not need medical attention. As your body adjusts to the medicine during treatment these side effects may go away. Your health care professional may also be able to tell you about ways to reduce or prevent some of these side effects. If any of the following side effects continue, are bothersome or if you have any questions about them, check with your health care professional:

Less common
  • Acid or sour stomach
  • belching
  • bloated
  • diarrhea
  • difficulty having a bowel movement (stool)
  • difficulty in moving
  • discouragement
  • excess air or gas in stomach or intestines
  • feeling sad or empty
  • full feeling
  • heartburn
  • indigestion
  • irritability
  • lack of appetite
  • loss of interest or pleasure
  • muscle aching or cramping
  • muscle pain or stiffness
  • pain in joints
  • passing gas
  • problems in urination or increase in amount of urine
  • rash
  • sleeplessness
  • stomach discomfort, upset, or pain
  • swollen joints
  • tiredness
  • trouble concentrating
  • trouble sleeping
  • unable to sleep
  • unusual dreams

For Healthcare Professionals

Applies to acebutolol: compounding powder, oral capsule

General

Acebutolol is generally well tolerated. Most side effects are mild and decrease with treatment.[Ref]

Cardiovascular

Cardiovascular side effects include severe bradycardia (less than 48 bpm) in up to 1% of patients. Chest pain and edema have been reported in 3% to 6% of patients. Patients with a history of heart block may develop heart block or worsened heart block after acebutolol administration. As with other beta-blockers, acebutolol may worsen congestive heart failure.[Ref]

Cases of syncope associated with severe sinus bradycardia and hypotension after a single dose of acebutolol are reported.[Ref]

Nervous system

A case of myasthenia with antistriated muscle antibodies and acetylcholine receptor antibodies has been associated with acebutolol. Some beta-blockers may cause mental status changes (particularly depression), but this is rarely reported with acebutolol.[Ref]

Nervous system side effects are usually general and vague. Fatigue and headache are reported in up to 13% of patients. Other neurologic side effects include dizziness, insomnia, somnolence, depression, paresthesias, and dreams in less than 5% of patients. Impotence is reported in less than 2% of men.[Ref]

Gastrointestinal

Gastrointestinal side effects include nausea, diarrhea, dyspepsia, flatulence, or constipation in 5% to 8% of patients.[Ref]

Immunologic

Immunologic side effects of acebutolol are reported in rare cases. Symptoms include arthralgias, myalgias, joint swelling, and rash, and may be associated with the development of antinuclear antibodies and a lupus syndrome.[Ref]

Hypersensitivity

Hypersensitivity to acebutolol is rare. Urticarial rash, six cases of hypersensitivity hepatitis, and a case of lymphocytic pneumonitis are reported.[Ref]

Hepatic

In all six cases except one, affected patients were taking 400 mg per day, and developed symptoms such as fever, nausea, dark urine, and headache after a mean duration of 22 days. All patients fully recovered after acebutolol was withheld; two were rechallenged with recurrent reversible hepatitis. A hypersensitivity mechanism was suspected.[Ref]

Hepatic toxicity has been reported in only 6 cases of 1.6 million outpatient prescriptions of acebutolol.[Ref]

Respiratory

Respiratory side effects are rare. Dyspnea and rhinitis are reported in 4% and 2% of patients respectively. Pharyngitis, wheezing, and cough are reported in less than 2% of patients.[Ref]

A case of pleural thickening due to fibrotic pulmonary granulomas is reported. Hypersensitivity pneumonitis is reported in rare cases.[Ref]

Dermatologic

Dermatologic side effects are rare. A case of lichen planus with skin biopsy findings consistent with lupus erythematosus and chronic dermatitis associated with acebutolol has been reported.[Ref]

Metabolic

Metabolic changes are usually insignificant. Unlike some beta-blockers, acebutolol has not been associated with hypercholesterolemia or hypertriglyceridemia.[Ref]

After two months, mild decreases in HDL cholesterol may be seen, but no significant changes have been observed after six months of therapy.[Ref]

Genitourinary

Genitourinary problems include increased frequency and erection problems among male patients.[Ref]

The Treatment of Mild Hypertension Study (TOMHS), a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind study has shown that there is a slightly and significantly higher incidence of sexual dysfunction (obtaining and maintaining erections) among male patients who are taking acebutolol for 48 months compared with placebo.[Ref]

Musculoskeletal

Musculoskeletal side effects including arthralgia and myalgia have been reported.[Ref]

Other

Other side effects including abnormal vision have been reported rarely.[Ref]

References

1. "Product Information. Sectral (acebutolol)." Wyeth-Ayerst Laboratories, Philadelphia, PA.

2. "Multum Information Services, Inc. Expert Review Panel"

3. De Backer G "Multicentre study of the efficacy and tolerance of acebutolol versus atenolol in the long term treatment of mild arterial hypertension." Drugs 36 (1988): 51-6

4. Tirlapur VG, Evans PJ, Jones MK "Shock syndrome after acebutolol." Br J Clin Pract 40 (1986): 33-4

5. Crean PA, Williams DO "Effect of intravenous and oral acebutolol in patients with bundle branch block." Int J Cardiol 10 (1986): 119-26

6. Turner AS, Brocklehurst JC "Once-daily acebutolol and atenolol in essential hypertension: double-blind crossover comparison." Am Heart J 109 (1985): 1178-83

7. de Soyza N "Acebutolol for premature ventricular contractions: short- and long-term effects." Am Heart J 109 (1985): 1205-9

8. Singh BN, Thoden WR, Ward A "Acebutolol: a review of its pharmacological properties and therapeutic efficacy in hypertension, angina pectoris and arrhythmia." Drugs 29 (1985): 531-69

9. de Divitiis O, Petitto M, Di Somma S, et al "Acebutolol and nifedipine in the treatment of arterial hypertension: efficacy and acceptability." Arzneimittelforschung 34 (1984): 710-5

10. Davidov M "Acebutolol in essential hypertension: results of two multicenter studies against placebo and propranolol." Am Heart J 109 (1985): 1158-67

11. Logan R, Holmden RH "Subjective anaesthesia with acebutalol." N Z Med J 87 (1978): 403-4

12. Chandraratna PA "Comparison of acebutolol with propranolol, quinidine, and placebo: results of three multicenter arrhythmia trials." Am Heart J 109 (1985): 1198-204

13. Gabriel R "Acebutolol in the management of hypertension in patients with renal disease." Br J Clin Pract 33 (1979): 259-62

14. Tanner LA, Bosco LA, Zimmerman HJ "Hepatic toxicity after acebutolol therapy." Ann Intern Med 3 (1989): 533-4

15. Leggett RJ "Pleurisy and pulmonary granulomas after treatment with acebutolol." Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 285 (1982): 1425

16. Taylor AE, Hindson C, Wacks H "A drug eruption due to acebutolol with combined lichenoid and lupus erythematosus features." Clin Exp Dermatol 7 (1982): 219-21

17. Confavreux C, Charles N, Aimard G "Fulminant myasthenia gravis soon after initiation of acebutolol therapy." Eur Neurol 30 (1990): 279-81

18. Stevens MB "Drug-induced lupus." Hosp Pract (Off Ed) 27 (1992): 27-36

19. Bloomquist JN, Laddu A, Engler R "Adverse effects of acebutolol in chronic stable angina: drug-induced positive antinuclear antibody." J Cardiovasc Pharmacol 6 (1984): 735-8

20. Cody RJ, Calabrese LH, Clough JD, Tarazi RC, Bravo EL "Development of antinuclear antibodies during acebutolol therapy." Clin Pharmacol Ther 25 (1979): 800-5

21. Record NB "Acebutolol-induced pleuropulmonary lupus syndrome." Ann Intern Med 95 (1981): 326-7

22. Wood GM, Bolton RP, Muers MF, Losowsky MS "Pleurisy and pulmonary granulomas after treatment with acebutolol." Br Med J 285 (1982): 936

23. Ashford R, Staughton R, Brighton WD "Cutaneous vasculitis due to acebutolol." Lancet 2 (1977): 462

24. Akoun GM, Herman DP, Mayaud CM "Acebutolol-induced hysersensitivity pneumonitis." Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 286 (1983): 266-7

25. Camus P, Lombard JN, Perrichon M, et al "Bronchiolitis obliterans organising pneumonia in patients taking acebutolol or amiodarone." Thorax 44 (1989): 711-5

26. Salpeter SS, Ormiston T, Salpeter E, Poole P, Cates D "Cardioselective beta-blockers for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease." Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2 (2002): CD0003566

27. Grimm RH, Granditis GA, Prineas RJ, et al. "Long-term effects on sexual function of five antihypertensive drugs and nutritional hygienic treatment in hypertensive men and women: treatment of mild hypertension study (TOMHS)." Hypertension 29 (1997): 8-14

More about acebutolol

  • Side Effects
  • During Pregnancy or Breastfeeding
  • Dosage Information
  • Drug Images
  • Drug Interactions
  • Support Group
  • En Espanol
  • 2 Reviews - Add your own review/rating

Consumer resources

  • Acebutolol
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  • Other brands: Sectral

Professional resources

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Related treatment guides

  • Ventricular Tachycardia
  • Premature Ventricular Depolarizations
  • Migraine Prevention
  • High Blood Pressure

Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided is accurate, up-to-date and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. In addition, the drug information contained herein may be time sensitive and should not be utilized as a reference resource beyond the date hereof. This material does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients, or recommend therapy. This information is a reference resource designed as supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill , knowledge, and judgement of healthcare practitioners in patient care. The absence of a warning for a given drug or combination thereof in no way should be construed to indicate safety, effectiveness, or appropriateness for any given patient. Drugs.com does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of materials provided. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the substances you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist.