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Old 09-22-2011, 11:17 AM   #1
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Terrified to Wean Off Metoprolol

Hi Everyone, I posted yesterday for the first time on these boards and had a very nice person reply and suggest I repost in this section as I would get more help and support. So, I will copy/paste my post here:

Hi

I started metoprolol when I was only 19 because my doctor (who is a huge pill pusher, I do not see this doctor anymore) said I had a slight case of tachycardia. I do not believe this is the case. At the time I was highly stressed in an abusive relationship and I know this is why my heart rate was elevated and I was feeling so sick all the time. I was just so stressed out. I did not want to even start the medication but he made me feel so guilty about not, so I ended up caving and now I regret it every day. Years ago, after being on the metoprolol at 50MG for a few years, and no longer being stressed, I tapered down to 25MG on my own because my doctor at the time refused to do it. I felt no side effects and continued on the 25MG twice a day, then finally down to only once a day. I would take it when I got up around 10am and would be fine until the next day at 10am. If I took it a couple hours late I would notice intense dizziness and some lightheadedness as well as not feeling well. But as long as I took it at 10am each morning, I felt great. I know that I was addicted to it then, judging by how my body reacted to not getting the medication at all, but it wasn't no where as bad as it is now.

Almost a year ago I got a terrible case of anxiety, it was pretty severe and my heart rate would go up before my next dose of metoprolol. At the time I swore the medication just wasn't doing its job but looking back I know now it was just the anxiety and not the medication. However, that is when my doctor upped my dosage from 25mg to 50mg twice daily (every 12 hours). When that didn't do the trick, he kept the dosage at 50mg, told me to start taking it every 8 hours. At the time, it seemed to help keep my heart rate down better, but now that the anxiety is mostly gone, I no longer need it every 8 hours anymore.

I feel really scared taking it when my heart rate is already at 70bpm. But if I wait to take it after the 8 hours, I start going into what feels like withdraw symptoms. I get super dizzy, light headed, feel faint, short of breath, and I get this weird feeling come over me and I just don't feel right, and all this starts happening if I am only between 30 minutes to one hour late taking it. Once I waited an hour and a half past time to take it and my heart would beat hard and irregular if I tried to do anything other than just sit still. What I don't understand is why do I feel so bad during the day if I don't take it on time, but I can skip my evening dose and go all night with out taking it and be just fine? I even typically wake up with my heart rate between 70 and 80bpm most mornings, sometimes at 90bpm but not often.

I know my heart is very strong and healthy because about a year ago when the anxiety started, I had several tests done on my heart and everything was perfect, the cardiologist said my heart was strong and couldn't be healthier and didn't see any reason I need to be on the metoprolol and wanted to take me off when my anxiety lessened, but I was unable to go back to see her and now all I have is my general doctor. (The cardiologist is in another state, I had to temporarily move and plan to go back once I get rid of the anxiety 100%)

Another thing I am scared about is the symptoms I feel. Are they dangerous or are they harmless and just feel scary? If I feel this bad just being simply 30 minutes to an hour late taking my medication, how am I ever going to completely be free of this medication? I have even tried taking only half a 50MG pill twice a day, but after 6 hours it wore off and I started getting all those withdraw type symptoms and my heart rate went up if I tried to do anything.

It is honestly controlling my life right now, it's holding me back from doing the things I want to do and living my life. I just turned 27 a few months ago, I feel that I am way too young to be going through all this. I want to live my life and continue accomplishing the dreams that got put on hold when all this happened. If there is anything anyone has to offer, anything at all, please do not hesitate to reply. I need all the help I can get. Is there anything I can do to lessen the withdraw symptoms? How do I tell the difference between a safe withdraw symptom and a dangerous one? I am going to see my doctor next week and I am going to talk to him about coming off this medication. I am so terrified about coming off of it.

 
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Old 09-22-2011, 09:42 PM   #2
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Re: Terrified to Wean Off Metoprolol

Your body is highly dependent on the medication...and now your mind as well. There is a physical withdrawal from beta blockers, and it is real. You have to taper very slowly, but it CAN be done successfully. Look at this long term, and prepare to go down very gradually over the next 6 months. The slower the better. It was a long post, but if you tell me how much and how often you are taking the drug now, I can help you tailor a down titration schedule...but you should always run anything you do with medication past your Dr. and I am not a physician. I did successfully wean off atenolol, another beta blocker, and had very similar symptoms exactly after 24 hours passed like clockwork.

 
Old 09-23-2011, 10:47 AM   #3
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Smile Re: Terrified to Wean Off Metoprolol

Hi Soflsun,

Thank you for replying and helping me out! I am currently taking one 50MG pill at least twice daily, 8 hours apart. I take one 50MG pill at 7am, then take my second dose at 3pm. I typically skip my dose at night time and do just fine until the morning, but I do take it occasionally at night if I'm planning on staying up. If I do, then I'll just take half a pill, so 25MG around 11pm.

I will run your tapering plan by my doctor before I start it, no worries! I plan to see him next week.

Thank you so much again!!

 
Old 09-23-2011, 11:40 PM   #4
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Re: Terrified to Wean Off Metoprolol

First thing I would do it to stretch out the time between doses in 30-60 minute increments, until you are one 50 mg 2x/day. I would think you can accomplish this over the next 2 weeks if you take it slow. If at any point you feel lousy, cut back the next dose by 30 minutes, or if possible, stay at that schedule for a day or two until you adjust.

I can give you more steps, but as you can see I am very conservative. If you want to let us know when you reach success at 2x/day, I can give you the next step, or I can break down a few more levels for you. It will also be based on your response to the taper.

Always remember, there was a time you were on 25 mg 2x/day and a time even before that before you were on meds...you can do it! Do you monitor your blood pressure on only heart rate?

 
Old 09-25-2011, 10:10 AM   #5
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Re: Terrified to Wean Off Metoprolol

Yes, I do completely understand where you are coming from in wanting to only give me one step at a time, but please do not worry. I do not have any intention of trying to move this along any faster than my body is ready for. And I will never do anything with out going over it with my doctor first, I know I will need to keep regular appointments with him as I do this. Having said that, I would very much appreciate if you could give me all the steps so that when I see my doctor next week I will be able to go over it with him and have a discussion with him about it.

Thank you for your words of encouragement!! You are absolutely right! There was a time when I was even doing 25MG 1x a day and that was on a 12 hour pill, not 24 hour. Your words have helped me greatly with this fear of weaning off. Thank you!!

 
Old 09-25-2011, 10:16 AM   #6
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Smile Re: Terrified to Wean Off Metoprolol

I forgot to respond to your question about if I monitor my blood pressure or just heart rate. I only monitor my heart rate because that's what it was given to me for years ago, but I do realize it can affect blood pressure as well. Every time I go to the doctor my blood pressure is perfect, I have never had any issue. However, if it is a good idea to start monitoring it as I wean off, I can get access to a blood pressure monitor.

 
Old 09-27-2011, 08:09 AM   #7
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Re: Terrified to Wean Off Metoprolol

You should monitor your blood pressure when weaning off a beta blocker because there is the potential for rebound hypertension. You have to think of a beta blocker like a crutch, it blocks the beta receptors that causes your heart to beat quickly/with force. Once the medication is stopped or reduced, these receptors are allowed to be active again. It is such a precarious process because your body may feel overwhelmed by these feelings, causing your heart rate and blood pressure to rise. I used to be on 200 mgs/day of a beta blocker, went all the way down to 50 mgs, but the entire process was horrible and I developed an EXTREME anxiety disorder from the process. I am currently on Bystolic, and I am still having issues 6 months after I reduced. Beta blockers are very strong, especially if people are sensitive to them.

 
Old 09-27-2011, 01:02 PM   #8
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Smile Re: Terrified to Wean Off Metoprolol

Hi Midi77,

Thank you for posting your reply. I will make sure to talk to my doctor about this. I am a bit confused though, as you said rebound hypertension and I have never had a hypertension issue. I was only given this medication for an elevated heart rate during a time of high stress years ago. I have only continued taking it due to the fact I felt crummy when I didn't and my doctor kept refusing to take me off of it.
It does concern me that the process caused you to have severe anxiety, as I am just getting over having anxiety. It was what I would think you would call severe and now I am at a point where it is mild. I do not want it coming back, it has taken me almost a year to get where I am now. At the same time, having to be on this medication due to my dependance upon it right now is also not allowing me to have the life I want. I am stuck sitting at home day after day because it is making me miserable and controlling my life. I need to get off of this stuff so I can have my life back.
I am wondering if you could share with me the symptoms you experienced and how you dealt with them?
I know how terrible and terrifying it is to have an anxiety disorder, I've been there. If there is anything I can do to help you with any anxiety you are experiencing now, I would be happy to help you overcome it.

 
Old 10-02-2011, 05:02 PM   #9
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Re: Terrified to Wean Off Metoprolol

Sorry for the delay in reply, I had holidays over the last week. In your case, assuming you are on an immediate release formulation (that can be split without concern), I would do the following:

To try to minimize the side effects as much as possible, you WANT to get your body slowly used to less blood concentration of the medication in your system...but if you cut one of the doses by half, or even a quarter, you may have an issue due to your sensitivity. So, I would for the next several months simply increase the time between your doses by 15 minutes two (2) times per week. So, in a month you will be taking the doses about 2 hours further apart. Once you are taking the doses every 16 hours, you can try to cut one of the pills by 25%, or just continue in the same fashion. In 6 months you will be taking one (1) pill a day, and then you can slowly, but cutting the pills in quarters, slowly reduce to nothing if you would like. It is a long process, but you will likely suffer close to ZERO side effects and this is what I did to get off atenolol. Just a suggestion from someone who tried it with success.

It's a good method psychologically as well because every week you are making slow, steady improvements.

Last edited by soflsun; 10-02-2011 at 05:03 PM.

 
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Old 10-17-2011, 04:50 PM   #10
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Re: Terrified to Wean Off Metoprolol

I'm sorry it's been a while since I replied, I have been having internet issues and got it fixed today.
I seen my doctor a couple weeks ago and he gave me pretty much the same plan you gave me. I have started the weaning process and did notice a few days where I was struggling with just 15 minutes. I was already not feeling very well to begin with, so it may very well have been that playing into it. Due to that, I ended up just doing 15 minutes for an entire week. I have been feeling better now, so I upped my time today. I will continue the process and hopefully have as much success as you!!

You have been very helpful and hope you'll stick around as I continue my weaning process. Thanks again!!

 
Old 10-17-2011, 11:09 PM   #11
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Re: Terrified to Wean Off Metoprolol

I will be here...good luck! Stay positive, you can do anything you set your mind to.

Small progress is still progress. Even 15 minutes a week would eventually get you to your goal!!

 
Old 01-01-2012, 07:32 AM   #12
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Re: Terrified to Wean Off Metoprolol

I am weaning off Atenolol and I want the least withdrawal symptoms as I can. I am on 25mg once daily. Could you tell me a safe way with the least withdrawal symptoms?

 
Old 02-03-2012, 03:35 PM   #13
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Re: Terrified to Wean Off Metoprolol

Hey Soflsun, I hope you are still around the boards. I have finally gotten myself up to taking the metoprolol every 10 1/2 to 11 hours apart. I'm noticing some new stuff going on at this point and wanted your advice. I have been noticing that I will get a breathless or shortness of breath feeling a few hours before I need to take the medication, sometimes I get dizzy as well a little bit before. Sometimes the dizziness doesn't hit until right before I need to take it, along with a faint feeling and a hot, flushing feeling, right as I feel that my heart rate goes up. Once I take it the symptoms go away. I am guessing this is part of the weaning process, but wanted to make sure this is all normal stuff. I notice I feel all these symptoms but can not take the medication because my heart rate remains low in the 70s for quite some time now. So I just deal with it the best I can. It's scary stuff
Thanks for all your help!!

 
Old 02-03-2012, 03:37 PM   #14
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Re: Terrified to Wean Off Metoprolol

Hey Soflsun, I hope you are still around the boards. I have finally gotten myself up to taking the metoprolol every 10 1/2 to 11 hours apart. I'm noticing some new stuff going on at this point and wanted your advice. I have been noticing that I will get a breathless or shortness of breath feeling a few hours before I need to take the medication, sometimes I get dizzy as well a little bit before. Sometimes the dizziness doesn't hit until right before I need to take it, along with a faint feeling and a hot, flushing feeling, right as I feel that my heart rate goes up. Once I take it the symptoms go away. I am guessing this is part of the weaning process, but wanted to make sure this is all normal stuff. I notice I feel all these symptoms but can not take the medication because my heart rate remains low in the 70s for quite some time now. So I just deal with it the best I can. It's scary stuff
Thanks for all your help!!

 
Old 02-03-2012, 08:20 PM   #15
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Re: Terrified to Wean Off Metoprolol

Hi,

Glad to see you are working your way down, sorry to hear about your troubles. Sounds like CLASSIC withdrawal symptoms coming off a beta blocker. I experienced the same problems exactly! Just stick with the exact amount and time apart until it subsides...may take a day, may take a month (probably not). Just stick with it and you will be off it at some point. Don't give up and feel free to ask questions anytime.

FYI: I'm not telling you to go backwards, but there is nothing wrong with taking your meds in the 70's, I have taken in the 50's...truth is, it will have less effect on your heart rate the lower it is to begin with It's a percentage drop usually...

 
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