REVIEW Similar to other beta-blockers, esmolol blocks the agonistic effect of the sympathetic neurotransmitters by competing for receptor binding sites. Because it predominantly blocks the beta-1 receptors in cardiac tissue, it is said to be cardioselective. In general, so-called cardioselective beta-blockers are relatively cardioselective; at lower doses they block beta-1 receptors only but begin to block beta-2 receptors as the dose increases. At therapeutic dosages, esmolol does not have intrinsic sympathomimetic activity (ISA) or membrane-stabilizing (quinidine-like) activity. Antiarrhythmic activity is due to blockade of adrenergic stimulation of cardiac pacemaker potentials. In the Vaughan Williams classification of antiarrhythmics, beta-blockers are considered to be class II agents.
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