How does this medication work? What will it do for me?
Acebutolol belongs to the class of medications called beta-blockers. It is used to treat mild-to-moderate high blood pressure and angina (chest pain). It is often used along with other medications that work in different ways to reduce the demands put on the heart.
This medication may be available under multiple brand names and/or in several different forms. Any specific brand name of this medication may not be available in all of the forms or approved for all of the conditions discussed here. As well, some forms of this medication may not be used for all of the conditions discussed here.
Your doctor may have suggested this medication for conditions other than those listed in these drug information articles. If you have not discussed this with your doctor or are not sure why you are taking this medication, speak to your doctor. Do not stop taking this medication without consulting your doctor.
Do not give this medication to anyone else, even if they have the same symptoms as you do. It can be harmful for people to take this medication if their doctor has not prescribed it.
What form(s) does this medication come in?
Ava-Acebutolol is no longer being manufactured for sale in Canada. For brands that may still be available, search under acebutolol. This article is being kept available for reference purposes only. If you are using this medication, speak with your doctor or pharmacist for information about your treatment options.
How should I use this medication?
The usual adult starting dose of acebutolol to treat high blood pressure is 100 mg taken twice daily. After a week, your doctor may begin to gradually increase the dose to a maximum of 400 mg taken twice daily depending on how well the medication works for you and how well you tolerate the medication.
When used for treating angina symptoms, the starting adult dose is 200 mg taken twice a day. This dose may be increased to 300 mg taken twice daily.
Acebutolol can be taken with or without food.
Many things can affect the dose of a medication that a person needs, such as body weight, other medical conditions, and other medications. If your doctor has recommended a dose different from the ones listed here, do not change the way that you are taking the medication without consulting your doctor.
It is important that this medication be taken exactly as prescribed by your doctor. If you miss a dose, skip the missed dose and continue with your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one. If you are not sure what to do after missing a dose, contact your doctor or pharmacist for advice.
Store this medication at room temperature, protect it from light and moisture, and keep it out of the reach of children.
Do not dispose of medications in wastewater (e.g. down the sink or in the toilet) or in household garbage. Ask your pharmacist how to dispose of medications that are no longer needed or have expired.
Who should NOT take this medication?
Do not take acebutolol if you:
- are allergic to acebutolol or any ingredients of the medication
- are in cardiogenic shock
- are scheduled for anesthesia with an agent that causes myocardial depression (e.g., ether)
- have a severely slow heart rate
- have congestive heart failure
- have pheochromocytoma
- have right ventricular failure secondary to pulmonary hypertension (excessive blood pressure in the lungs)
- have serious heart block (second- and third-degree AV block)
- have severe circulation disorders of the extremities (i.e., legs, hands)
What side effects are possible with this medication?
Many medications can cause side effects. A side effect is an unwanted response to a medication when it is taken in normal doses. Side effects can be mild or severe, temporary or permanent.
The side effects listed below are not experienced by everyone who takes this medication. If you are concerned about side effects, discuss the risks and benefits of this medication with your doctor.
The following side effects have been reported by at least 1% of people taking this medication. Many of these side effects can be managed, and some may go away on their own over time.
Contact your doctor if you experience these side effects and they are severe or bothersome. Your pharmacist may be able to advise you on managing side effects.
- drowsiness (slight)
- dry eyes
- skin rash
- unusual tiredness or weakness
Although most of these side effects listed below don't happen very often, they could lead to serious problems if you do not check with your doctor or seek medical attention.
Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur:
Some people may experience side effects other than those listed. Check with your doctor if you notice any symptom that worries you while you are taking this medication.
Are there any other precautions or warnings for this medication?
Before you begin using a medication, be sure to inform your doctor of any medical conditions or allergies you may have, any medications you are taking, whether you are pregnant or breast-feeding, and any other significant facts about your health. These factors may affect how you should use this medication.
Asthma and other breathing problems: Acebutolol and other beta-blockers may cause symptoms of asthma to worsen. Low doses of acebutolol may be used with caution by people with asthma who do not respond to or who cannot tolerate other treatment.
Heart failure: This medication may make the symptoms of congestive heart failure worse, by slowing down the heart rate and heartbeat strength. If you have congestive heart failure, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.
Kidney function: Kidney disease or reduced kidney function may cause this medication to build up in the body, causing side effects. If you have reduced kidney function or kidney disease, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.
Low blood sugar: The signs of low blood sugar may not be as noticeable to people taking acebutolol. People with diabetes who take insulin or other medications that work by reducing the blood sugar should be cautious and monitor blood sugar carefully while taking this medication.
Stopping the medication abruptly: Acebutolol should not be stopped suddenly by people who take it to treat angina. There have been reports of severe worsening of angina and of heart attack or abnormal heart rhythms occurring for people with angina pectoris who have done this.
Surgery: If you are scheduled for surgery, inform all doctors involved in your care that you are taking this medication.
Systemic lupus erythematosus: This medication can worsen or activate the symptoms of lupus. If you experience swollen and painful joints, fever, fatigue, or rash on the nose and cheeks while taking this medication, contact your doctor.
Thyroid disorders: This medication may mask the signs of hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid). If the medication is stopped suddenly, the symptoms of hyperthyroidism may become much worse.
Pregnancy: There has been no experience with the use of acebutolol by pregnant women. This medication should not be used during pregnancy unless the benefits outweigh the risks. If you become pregnant while taking this medication, contact your doctor immediately.
Breast-feeding: This medication passes into breast milk. If you are a breast-feeding mother and are taking acebutolol, it may affect your baby. Talk to your doctor about whether you should continue breast-feeding.
Children: The safety and effectiveness of using this medication have not been established for children.
Seniors: Seniors may be more likely to experience side effects of this medication, because of reduced kidney or liver function. Your doctor may prescribe a lower dose of this medication.
What other drugs could interact with this medication?
There may be an interaction between acebutolol and any of the following:
If you are taking any of these medications, speak with your doctor or pharmacist. Depending on your specific circumstances, your doctor may want you to:
- stop taking one of the medications,
- change one of the medications to another,
- change how you are taking one or both of the medications, or
- leave everything as is.
An interaction between two medications does not always mean that you must stop taking one of them. Speak to your doctor about how any drug interactions are being managed or should be managed.
Medications other than those listed above may interact with this medication. Tell your doctor or prescriber about all prescription, over-the-counter (non-prescription), and herbal medications you are taking. Also tell them about any supplements you take. Since caffeine, alcohol, the nicotine from cigarettes, or street drugs can affect the action of many medications, you should let your prescriber know if you use them.