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Asthma

Atenolol and Asthma

04/25/2006

Question:

I am 48 years and had asthma in my twenties. I used to take Deriphylin, Terbutaline. I had dust allergy etc. During the last 25 years, I had a bout of asthmatic bronchitis once every three years. Especially in winter or while going to sea shore. Sometimes, I feel exertional asthma but relieved on rest quickly. Is it necessary for me to have Pulmoary Functional test to review my old ailment. What precautions do I need to take so that it may not aggravate suddenly. I am hypertensive on Atenolol 100, Amlodepine 10mg, and Losartan 100. Earlier, docotor had suggested Diltiazem 120 in place of Atenolol 100 but as I was not comfortable, he put me back to Atenolol 100.

Answer:

Your doctor probably tried to change your Atenolol to a different medication because beta-blockers can in some circumstances make asthma worse.  However, recent studies indicate that beta blockers are not an absolute contraindication in patients with asthma.  You should have pulmonary function testing to evaluate your lung capacity and to see if your lung function improves after bronchodilator medication.  If there is a >12% improvement in your FEV1 you should be on asthma medication(s).  You should see an allergist or pulmonary doctor experienced in the evaluation and treatment asthma who can determine if you actually have asthma, if so how severe is it and what treatment (if any) is necessary.  

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Response by:

Jonathan   Bernstein, MD Jonathan Bernstein, MD
Associate Professor of Medicine
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati