These drugs can have a range of effects (some of which have not been proven). Known as beta blockers or beta antagonists they work by blocking the body’s receptors for adrenalin. They are used to treat a range of ailments associated with anxiety and tension, such as high blood pressure, angina, irregular heart beat, migraines, tremors, alcohol withdrawal and glaucoma.
Other drugs known as beta agonists have the opposite effect, a common beta agonist is the drug used in asthma inhalers (salbutamol) which acts to relax the airways, allowing the user to breathe more easily.
Beta blockers have been used by athletes in sports where a steady hand and eye are needed such as snooker, archery, darts and rifle shooting. In September 2006 Tiger Woods called for drug testing in golf as there were so many rumours of players taking beta blockers.
Some of the major side effects include; nausea, head aches, dizziness, muscle cramps or rapid heart flutters.