Hypertension Home > What Is Penbutolol Used For?

High blood pressure is often treated with the drug penbutolol. It is a beta blocker that works to lower blood pressure by blocking beta receptors in the body. Occasionally, healthcare providers may also recommend off-label penbutolol uses, such as for the treatment of anxiety, including social phobia and performance anxiety. This drug is not approved for use in children or teenagers.

Penbutolol Uses: An Overview

Penbutolol sulfate (Levatol®) is a prescription medication approved for the treatment of high blood pressure (hypertension). It belongs to a group of drugs known as beta blockers. It can be used alone or in combination with other blood pressure medications. In particular, penbutolol is often used in combination with thiazide diuretics (a certain type of "water pill").
In clinical studies, penbutolol has been shown to significantly reduce blood pressure. By lowering blood pressure, medications like penbutolol are thought to decrease the risks that occur with long-term hypertension (see Effects of High Blood Pressure). This medication does not, however, cure high blood pressure.

How Does the Medication Work?

Penbutolol belongs to a group of drugs called beta-adrenergic blocking agents, more often known as beta blockers. As the name implies, these medications block beta receptors in the body. In addition to blocking beta receptors, however, penbutolol slightly stimulates beta receptors. Only a few beta blockers do this; this slight stimulatory action is known as "intrinsic sympathomimetic activity" or ISA.
Beta receptors are located in a number of places within the body, including the heart and blood vessels. Stress hormones such as adrenaline bind to these receptors and cause certain reactions in the body, such as:
By blocking beta receptors, penbutolol causes the reverse effect of stress hormones and reduces blood pressure. It may have less effect on heart rate and the workload of the heart compared to most other beta blockers, due to the fact that it slightly stimulates beta receptors.
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Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
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