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Difference Between Alpha and Beta Blockers

Main_complications_of_persistent_high_blood_pressure.svgAlpha vs Beta Blockers

One of the deadliest diseases in the world today is hypertension.  To prevent such illnesses, the human body needs to have these blocking agents to aid their veins in the smooth flow of blood circulation.  Alpha and Beta Blockers are often supporting medications that will assist in the lowering of blood pressure.  However, there are some differences between these two that you must note of. Alpha blockers generally help relaxe the muscles, which in turn can lead to the opening of the blood vessels for smooth circulation.  The Beta Blockers, on the other hand, work by reducing the persons heart rate. Thus, it results in the reduction of blood flow.  The BP is decreased because of the dilation of the blood vessels. Eventually, although their purpose is the same, they work differently.

Alpha Medications work by keeping the hormones of norepinephrine or noradrenaline at bay.  Thus, it can lead to a smoother blood flow through open veins.  The Beta Blockers, meanwhile, works by blocking the hormone called epinephrine or better known as adrenaline.  This hormone often causes increased heart rates that can lead to increased blood pressure levels.  The Beta medication prevents this from happening. Alpha blockers simply work to lower blood pressure and increase the blood flow to the heart while the Beta medications work in slowing the heart rate at the same time lowering BP rates.

These Alpha medications are also known as alpha adrenergic blocking agents or alpha adrenergic antagonists.  Such medications mostly focus on the blood pressure and blood circulation alone.  The Beta Blockers’ work on the heart, the blood flow and the BP levels, however, most of the time, these Beta blockers work on the heart rate alone. People with arrhythmias or abnormal heart rhythms and tachycardia or fast heart rates take this medication.  When it comes to the side effects, both the medication can cause dizziness and fatigue when it is first taken.  However, the Beta blockers are noted to cause some breathing problems.  This is why this medication is not suggested for those patients who have history of asthma.

For the side effects, some of the beta blockers are noted to cause weight gain.  This is probably because of the decreased metabolism rates.  As the heart rate does down, many experts believe so does the digestive and metabolism rate.  Alpha blockers, on the other hand, do not necessarily result in weight gain.  The Alpha blockers are noted to have the risk of heart failure if they are taken for a longer time.  At the same time, the Beta Blockers must not be stopped immediately as this may cause heart attacks or other cardiac problems.


1.  Alpha blockers work on the blood muscles to open up the blood vessels while the Beta medications work on the heart to ease the flow of blood.
2. Alpha meds work on the hormone of norepinephrine or noradrenaline while the Beta works on the epinephrine or adrenaline.
3. Alpha blockers work for the blood pressure levels alone while the Beta blockers can work for both heart and the blood pressure.
4. Beta blockers can cause weight gain while Alpha medications do not.

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  1. very good article on blood pressure meds

  2. There are a number of grammatical errors in this article. That hurts your credibility massively. More importantly, you make no mention of how they compare for handling prostate swelling issues. They are both used for that purpose a good bit more than for blood pressure, it seems. Let me know if you fix all this.

    • Joseph M I am a nurse and worked in a heart failure and heart transplant clinic for 7 years. As far as prostaglandins they can effect blood pressure when NSAIDS are used. I don’t remember anything about beta blockers or alpha blockers causing prostate swelling. If a heart failure patient is volume overloaded then a beta blocker (Coreg or Toprol XL) are held since they can exacerbate volume overload. Ace inhibitors can cause tongue swelling and could effect potassium and creatinine levels and calcium channel blockers can cause lower extremity swelling. Your reply to the author is completely wrong and disrespectful! Yours truly LaToya! I wish I could remember the medication we used for large prostates.. For some reason BPH comes to mind..

    • I did not notice any grammatical errors while reading this article. There may be some present but they definitely don’t stand out and there are certainly not enough errors to affect the credibility of this article. I think the article is well written and I don’t think the article is written for the purpose of covering all the conditions that these drugs are used to treat. Also, I would check your facts about what conditions these drugs are used most often for. I found the article quite helpful.

  3. Nice article, clear explanations. Thanks .. I was searching for propranol side effects.

  4. Would you be able to inform me whether a person who takes exforge 5/160 and a beta blocker can safely also take an alpha blocker? I’ve arrhythmia and enlarged prostate problems.

    Thanking you in advance for any information.


  5. Straightforward explanation! Thanks!

  6. Joseph M., If you’re going to criticize the author’s grammar, you should make sure your own is correct. “That hurts your credibility massively” Really?? Are you Donald Trump?

    This guy likely spent hours writing this article, doing the research and publishing it. Although, the article didn’t discuss a topic you wanted, it still provides readers with a lot of valuable information.

    “Let me know when you fix this”?? Were you abused as a child?

    Since you seem to be an authority on this subject, I suggest you get off your swollen prostate and write your own fuc*** article.

    • Very well said. Definitely must have been abused as a child.
      I enjoyed the article immensely, very informative well put and easy to understand, and all this a*** has to comment is the author’s grammar?

  7. When I was using alpha blockers my bp still high
    But when I used beta blockers pb became Norman
    I have benign protostate enlargement and felt more comfortable with my prostate

  8. Can someone please tell me or explain in simple non tech terms the difference between alpha & beta-What they are, what they should do, are they the same or different. Interact etc… so I understand if I’m being treated correctly

  9. Mashaa Allah.Thank you brother.

  10. Lovely Article… Helpful

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