Efficacy of Atenolol as a Single Antihypertensive Agent in Hyperthyroid Cats

Henik R.A., Stepien R.L., Wenholz L.J., et al.

Journal of Feline Medicine & Surgery, 2008. 10(6): p.577-582.


[beta]-Adrenergic blockers, particularly atenolol, are often recommended for the tachycardia and hypertension that accompany hyperthyroidism; however, the effects of monotherapy with atenolol on both systolic blood pressure (SBP) and heart rate (HR) have not been reported. Twenty hyperthyroid cats with SBP >=160†mmHg were studied retrospectively to investigate the SBP and HR lowering effects of atenolol. Median pre-treatment SBP and HR for all cats were 186.5†mmHg and 231†beats/min, respectively. All cats were treated with atenolol at a dosage of 1-2†mg/kg PO q 12†h for a minimum of 5 days prior to reassessment and treatment with radioactive iodine. SBP and HR both decreased following atenolol therapy in this group of cats to median values of 171.5†mmHg (P†=†0.0088) and 185/min (P†=†0.0003). However, when successful clinical control of hypertension was defined as a post-treatment SBP <160†mmHg, atenolol monotherapy was ineffective in 70% of the cases. There was no statistically significant difference in baseline serum total thyroxine or atenolol dosage between clinical responders and non-responders. While atenolol effectively reduces HR in most cats with hyperthyroidism, elevated SBP is poorly controlled, and the addition of another vasodilator such as amlodipine or an angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitor is needed to treat associated hypertension.