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Esmolol is used to control post-operative high blood pressure, treat cardiac arrhythmia (abnormal heart rate and rhythm) originating in the small chambers (atria) of the heart such as atrial flutter, atrial fibrillation and sinus tachycardia (increased heart rate).

How it works

Esmolol belongs to the class of drugs called Beta-blockers. It binds to the ?-adrenergic receptors in the heart, blocks them, opposes the action of certain endogenous chemicals and slows the heart rate as well as relaxes the blood vessels, thereby controlling the arrhythmia and lowering the blood pressure.

Common side effects

Vomiting, Nausea, Agitation, Confusion, Fatigue, Headache, Decreased blood pressure, Injection site pain, Sleeping for unusually long periods


Expert advice

  • Vital signs such as blood pressure and heart rate will require continuous monitoring when esmolol is being administered.
  • Inform your doctor if you are suffering from any heart conditions, especially when the blood pressure is uncontrolled or heart function is compromised or even if you have kidney disease.
  • Inform your doctor if you are suffering from diabetes, as esmolol may mask the symptoms of excessive low blood sugar, putting you at risk of undetected and untreated hypoglycaemia.
  • Inform your doctor if you have any condition which causes reduced blood flow to any part of the body, especially limbs, leading to intermittent pain (peripheral vascular disease, Raynaud’s disease).
  • Inform your doctor if you have any allergies, lung or breathing problem or overactive thyroid.

Frequently asked questions


Q. Is esmolol a vasodilator?
Esmolol belongs to the class of drugs called beta-blocker, and can dilate blood vessels.
Q. Is esmolol a vesicant?
Yes. Esmolol is a vesicant and can cause skin discoloration and necrosis if it leaks during infusion.
Q. Is esmolol a vasopressor?
Esmolol is a vasodilator.
Q. How is esmolol supplied?
Esmolol is supplied in the form of solution for injection or infusion.
Q. What is esmolol drip?
Esmolol drip is the esmolol solution for injection or infusion.
Q. Why is esmolol short acting?
Esmolol is short acting as it undergoes quick breakdown (hydrolysis) and has an elimination half-life of about 9 mins.

Content on this page was last updated on 30 September, 2016, by Dr. Varun Gupta (MD Pharmacology)