PMID: 9628Jan 1, 1976

The properties of beta-adrenoceptor antagonists

Postgraduate Medical Journal
R G Shanks


After the clinical studies with pronethalol and propranolol confirmed Black's hypothesis that drugs which block beta-adrenoceptors were of value in the treatment of patients with angina pectoris and cardiac arrhythmias, other compounds have been described which block beta-adrenoceptors. Detailed pharmacological studies with propranolol and comparison of its properties with those of other beta-adrenoceptor blocking drugs have indicated that these drugs may possess properties in addition to their effect in blocking beta-adrenoceptors. These properties have been termed intrinsic sympathomimetic activity, membrane stabilizing activity and cardioselectivity. These properties have all been described in detailed observations in laboratory animals but not to the same extent in normal man or in patients. It appears that the therapeutic effectiveness of these drugs results from their beta-adrenoceptor blocking activity and that intrinsic sympathomimetic activity and membrane stabilizing activity do not contribute to the effects of these drugs in patients, although cardioselectivity may be of value in some patients.

Related Concepts

Adrenergic beta-Antagonists
Angina Pectoris
Plasma Membrane
Pulse Rate
Hypertensive Disease
Sympathetic Nervous System

Related Feeds

Antiarrhythmic Agents: Mechanisms of Action

Understanding the mechanism of action of antiarrhythmic agents is essential in developing new medications as treatment of cardiac arrhythmias is currently limited by the reduced availability of safe and effective drugs. Discover the latest research on Antiarrhythmic Agents: Mechanism of Action here.

Antianginal Drugs: Mechanisms of Action

Antianginal drugs, including nitrates, beta-blockers, and calcium channel blockers, are used in the treatment of angina pectoris. Here is the latest research on their use and their mechanism of action.

Antihypertensive Agents: Mechanisms of Action

Antihypertensive drugs are used to treat hypertension (high blood pressure) which aims to prevent the complications of high blood pressure, such as stroke and myocardial infarction. Discover the latest research on antihypertensive drugs and their mechanism of action here.


Arrhythmias are abnormalities in heart rhythms, which can be either too fast or too slow. They can result from abnormalities of the initiation of an impulse or impulse conduction or a combination of both. Here is the latest research on arrhythmias.

Atrial Fibrillation

Atrial fibrillation is a common arrhythmia that is associated with substantial morbidity and mortality, particularly due to stroke and thromboembolism. Here is the latest research.