Beta-blockers and glucose control

Drug Intell Clin Pharm. 1985 Apr;19(4):246-51. doi: 10.1177/106002808501900401.


Literature on the effects of beta-blockers on blood glucose is reviewed. Data are presented regarding the adrenergic influences on glucose regulation and the effects of beta-blockade during hypo- and hyperglycemia in normal and diabetic individuals. beta-adrenergic stimulation enhances insulin and glucagon secretion, as well as glycogenolysis, gluconeogenesis, and lipolysis. alpha-adrenergic stimulation inhibits insulin secretion and may inhibit glucagon secretion and enhance liver glycogenolysis. In nondiabetics, beta-blockers represent minimal risk of affecting glucose control. In insulin-dependent diabetics, beta-blockers can prolong, enhance, or alter the symptoms of hypoglycemia, while hyperglycemia appears to be the major risk in noninsulin-dependent diabetics. beta-blockers can potentially increase blood glucose concentrations and antagonize the action of oral hypoglycemic drugs.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adrenergic beta-Antagonists / therapeutic use*
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / drug therapy
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / drug therapy
  • Humans
  • Hyperglycemia / drug therapy
  • Hypoglycemia / drug therapy
  • Sympathetic Nervous System / drug effects


  • Adrenergic beta-Antagonists
  • Blood Glucose