Beta blockers possess several pharmacologic characteristics which highly recommend them for use in the therapeutic branches of medicine: their actions are mild and develop slowly, providing thus a fine regulation of cardiovascular functions; no tolerance occurs to the pharmacodynamic actions of beta blockers, and therefore they ean be used for years without loss of activity; pharmacokinetics of beta blockers is adjusted to the current therapeutic needs by molecular manipulation and/or pharmaceutical technology, and nowadays many members of this group may be used 1-2 times daily which is optimal dosage schedule for chronic diseases. Due to the convenient pharmacologic profile, beta blockers are widely used in clinical medicine, first of all in cardiology for the treatment of hypertension, ischaemic heart disease, cardiac arrhythmias, in acute myocardial infarction and its primary and secondary prevention, and, to a lesser degree, in ophthalmology, neurology, psychiatry and other branches of medicine.
Beta-blockers that are used clinically can be divided into two classes: 1) non-selective blockers (block both β 1 and β 2 receptors) , or 2) relatively selective β 1 blockers ("cardioselective" beta-blockers). Some beta-blockers have additional mechanisms besides beta-blockade that contribute to their unique pharmacologic profile. The two classes of beta-blockers along with specific compounds are listed in the following table. Additional details for each drug may be found at . The clinical uses indicated in the table represent both on and off-label uses of beta-blockers. For example, a given beta-blocker may only be approved by the FDA for treatment of hypertension; however, physicians sometimes elect to prescribe the drug for angina because of the class-action benefit that beta-blockers have for angina.