Acebutolol is a selective β1-receptor antagonist. Activation of β1-receptors by epinephrine increases the heart rate and the blood pressure, and the heart consumes more oxygen. Acebutolol blocks these receptors, lowering the heart rate and blood pressure. This drug then has the reverse effect of epinephrine. In addition, beta blockers prevent the release of renin, which is a hormone produced by the kidneys which leads to constriction of blood vessels.
Acebutolol is a cardioselective, beta-adrenoreceptor blocking agent, which possesses mild intrinsic sympathomimetic activity (ISA) in its therapeutically effective dose range. In general, beta-blockers reduce the work the heart has to do and allow it to beat more regularly. Acebutolol has less antagonistic effects on peripheral vascular ß2-receptors at rest and after epinephrine stimulation than nonselective beta-antagonists. Low doses of acebutolol produce less evidence of bronchoconstriction than nonselective agents like propranolol but more than atenolol.
Subject to extensive first-pass hepatic biotransformation (primarily to diacetolol).
Symptoms of overdose include extreme bradycardia, advanced atrioventricular block, intraventricular conduction defects, hypotension, severe congestive heart failure, seizures, and in susceptible patients, bronchospasm, and hypoglycemia.