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Custom Side Effects of Beta-Blockers Essay

A side effect is a secondary consequence to the intended therapeutic effect. Side effects are usually of serious concern because they preclude medicines from their full treating applications. If ignored, side effects may cause life-threatening conditions, as I discuss in this essay.

Beta-blockers are drugs used to treat congestive heart failure, ischemic heart disease, arterial hypertension, arrhythmias and other heart disorders. In this light, beta-blockers are essential drugs for many medical conditions. They act through blocking adrenergic receptors on the surface of cell membranes. The adrenoreceptors are classified into alpha and beta receptors. Beta receptors are in high concentrations on membranes of cardiomyocytes. Beta-blockers cause their effects by acting directly on the heart. Beta adrenergic receptors are divided into type one and type two. Beta-1 receptors stimulate heart rate and its contractility. Beta-2 receptors are in minor concentrations on the heart, but they need to be kept in mind due to possible adverse effects. Today, beta-blockers are the first-line remedy to treat many heart diseases as they are proven to make life longer and support its quality substantially. However, it was not so long ago that beta-blockers were almost abandoned. Those were clinical observations and scientific rationale in the 1980’s and 1990’s to promote beta-blockers into cardiology.

Pharmacodynamics of beta-blockers explains their clinical effects as well as complications associated with them. In this light, what we see lies deeply in understanding of how molecules of the drug interact with the human organism.

Beta-1 receptors are responsible for the heart rate. They are concentrated in the sinus node and atrioventricular node. Thus, beta blockers preclude physiologic adrenaline from stimulating heart rate and impulse conduction. When overdose takes place, heart rate may decrease significantly. If atrioventricular conduction disturbance prevails, atrioventricular block may appear. Complete (third degree) block is the most severe complication. Should hemodynamic instability arise, heart pacing is in need.

Beta-2 receptors are located on bronchial muscles. If blocked, bronchospasm develops. Exacerbation of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or bronchial asthma is a concern to those who are prescribed beta-blockers, especially if non-selective beta-blockers are used. In order to overcome this side effect, cardio selective beta-blockers have been developed (i.e. beta-1 selective). Numerous cardio selective blockers have been introduced recently. This helps millions of diseased to combat heart disorders.

Stimulating beta-adrenergic receptors is essential to support contractility of myocardium. Reduced ejection fraction of the left ventricle is the leading cause of congestive heart failure. Some still have doubts whether it is safe to prescribe beta-blockers when heart would decompensate severely (like in leg edema or lung congestion). On the other hand, protection of the heart muscle from adrenaline burden is essential for improving long-term prognosis and supporting survival. Thus, in cases of worsening heart failure, it is wise to reduce beta-blockers’ dosage. Reducing cardiac output may result in complaints of weakness, cold extremities, headache and hypotension. Some patients feel nausea, tiredness or decreased exercise tolerance.

Beta-adrenoreceptors are also present in the central nervous system including the brain. If the drug is permeable through the hematoencephalic barrier (the active molecule must be soluble in lipids), neurological adverse effects like depression can appear.

Beta-2 receptors are found on the surface of hepatic cells and enhance glucose metabolism, which results in elevating blood sugar level. Thus, beta-blockers lead to a lower level of blood glucose. At the same time, when beta-1 receptors are suppressed, symptoms of diabetes may be masked. Clinical observations also suggest that beta blockers place an individual at risk to develop diabetes.

In conclusion, most adverse effects of beta-blockers can be explained by the theory of beta receptors. An experienced clinician may accurately predict the possible side reactions beta-blockers. This kind of drug is not a safe remedy and needs accurate evaluation. Nevertheless, if properly treated, the side effects can be either prevented (for example, if pulse rate or blood pressure measured regularly the drug may be withdrawn in time), or treated effectively (for example, elevated blood glucose level can be controlled more effectively if beta-blockers avoided).

Code: Sample20

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