The beta-adrenergic receptors (ADRBs) are cell surface receptors that play central roles in the sympathetic nervous system. Pharmacological targeting of two of these receptors, ADRB1 and ADRB2, represents a widely used therapeutic approach for common and important diseases including asthma, hypertension and heart failure. Genetic variation in both ADRB1 and ADRB2 has been linked to both in vitro and clinical disease phenotypes. More recently, interest has shifted to studies that explore potential interaction between variation in ADRBs and medications directed at these important receptors. This paper reviews the current state of knowledge and understanding of ADRB genetic variation and explores the likely direction of future studies in this area.