Beta blockers such as atenolol, metoprolol and propranolol have been used for decades to help control heart rhythm abnormalities and high blood pressure. A new study suggests that these inexpensive generic drugs may also improve survival for people diagnosed with melanoma. This skin cancer is the most dangerous and claims many lives each year.

The investigators analyzed Danish health records and discovered that patients taking beta blockers for hypertension or heart problems lived longer than melanoma patients not on such medications. These scientists predicted there might be a benefit based on their tissue-culture studies showing that beta blockers have anti-tumor effects on melanoma and other cancer cell lines.

[Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, online, Sept. 20, 2011]

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  1. JMc

    In 1976, I began taking Tenormin and to this day I take Atenolol which is the generic version. That is 35 years on the same drug, so I personally consider this a safe drug. My physician, however, would like me to change to what he thinks is a more effective medication. He considers Atenolol effective but believes that the drug does not have 24 hour benefits that some other newer BP medication provide. He recommends that I take 50 mg of atenolol in the AM and then again in the afternoon.
    I always take the medication in the AM but oftentimes forget the afternoon dosage. My BP usually reads in the high 120s over the high 70s which is acceptable, but not outstanding. I also find that exercise has a big effect on the effectiveness of atenolol.
    I have tried on several occasions to switch, even to other beta blockers but have had no success. Each time I try a new drug, I become very nervous and agitated and within weeks go back to Atenolol. I have even made the comment on many occasions, that I am addicted to this drug.

  2. Sandi

    You may be interested to know that metoprolol is not going to be an “inexpensive generic drug” in 2012. Yesterday I received my new drug list from my Part D carrier, United Health Care, and my co-pay on a 90-day supply will increase from $7 to $112. For some reason it has been increased to Tier 3 from Tier 2. Needless to say, I will be looking for a substitute for that one.

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