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Old 12-16-2012, 11:19 AM   #1
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Getting off of beta blockers: My success and failures

I am posting this so that my experience may help others. I had failed three previous times to get off of beta blockers. It is now over three weeks since I last took my last beta blocker pill on this, my fourth (and final) attempt to quit BB.

I was on beta blockers for six months; first with Metoprolol ER Succinate 50mg which I took for a month. During that month I had extreme anxiety, depression, panic attacks, lots of hair loss, poor vision, vivid nightmares, sleeplessness, chest pains, muscle cramps (including Charlie horses), muscle twitching, tiredness, fatigue, no energy, no sex libido (just thinking about sex worsted my anxiety), out of breath, ear clogging, tinnitus, pain in my upper torso, left and right shoulders, pulsating/debilitating migraines, and nerve pain which felt like being stuck with needles all over the body and including both sides of the neck and upper head, and it increased my blood pressure instead of decreasing it most of the time. It did decrease my pulse rate from the mid 70’s to the low 60’s.

My GP switched me to Lisinopril 10mg but it gave me anxiety and could not tolerate it. I had to continue taking the beta blockers.

I then started to see a Cardiologist who switched me to Bystolic (nebivolol) 5 mg which I switched to without weaning out of the Metoprolol since both are beta blockers. I did not experience anything unusual during the switch. The only things that got better on Bystolic were the hair loss, muscle twitching, and the needles only happened in the head and neck area. I continued to suffer from all of the other side effects. In addition, I started to suffer a LOT more frequently from increased chest, stomach, and neck pains. Months later I found out that the beta blockers had debilitated my LES (sphincter or a.ka. esophagus valve) causing reflux (more on that later). I started to take magnesium (magnesium oxide and then magnesium citrate) and got flutter in my chest. Not sure if it was esophageal spasms or arrhythmia. I discontinued using it.

On my other attempt, the doctor told me to stop cold turkey and prescribed Amlodipine (a calcium channel blocker CCB) 5mg. Four days after stopping the BB my blood pressure spiked to the upper hundreds over the low hundreds and my pulse rate was in the low hundreds. I panicked and called him after hours. He told me to take the BB again at 4 hour intervals. After two pills, my blood pressure came down to normal. I continued to take it and discontinued the CCB.

A few weeks later I decided on my own to stop the BB by weaning off of it. I started to divide my dosage every week to there I was taking about a quarter of the medicine. I stopped after that. I was off of it for four days and those were the best days that I had had in such a long time. On the evening of the fourth day my blood pressure shot up and so did my pulse. I had to be rushed to the ER where I was given the riot act by the ER nurses and the doctor for stopping the medicine without checking with my doctor. I told them of all my side effects and they said that at least I was alive to experience them and not dead where it’s where I could have ended up. This while my wife listened quietly but frightened next to me.

I went to the cardiologist again and we decided that I had enough. He switched me to Hydrochlothiazide 25 mg which I cannot take because it worsened my anxiety and panic attacks after only one pill. However, I started to wean off of the BB by again splitting my medicine in half but this time every two weeks. I got to the point where all I was taking was crumbs. I then started to take these crumbs every other day, then every three days and finally every four days. During this time I noticed and increase in my anxiety but I had Xanax .25mg which I took when I was feeling the worst. I also stopped taking my blood pressure during this time because in the past, I was taking my BP a couple of times a day every day and would worry about every spike I had which worsened my anxiety and triggered panic attacks.

It has now been over three weeks since I last took a beta blocker pill. The side effects have disappeared except for an occasional mild depression (a level 2 from a level 9 at its worst) and the worst reflux ever. The BB weakened my LES to where my esophagus is inflamed due to the stomach acid. The acid has given me severe chest pains that feel like heart attacks, neck pains (feels like the neck aortas are clogged) an occasional cough, ear clogging, inflamed sinus passages and sensitive teeth (like when you bleach your teeth). The chest pains landed me in the hospital a couple of times because I thought I was having heart problems. I am now taking Omeprazole (Prilozec) 40mg which is helping slowly. I tried Aloe Vera Juice but got itchy all over. I took DGL for a few days and got constipated.

Well, thank you for reading this and I hope that my experience (good and bad) helps you.

Last edited by Seekingpeace12; 12-16-2012 at 11:22 AM.

 
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Old 12-20-2012, 01:26 PM   #2
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Re: Getting off of beta blockers: My success and failures

This scares me. I began taking Carvedilol in April. Before that, I too was on HCTZ and Lisinopril and they both gave me anxiety attacks so I stopped those and started Carvedilol. I started at 6.25mg and am now at 12.5mg. I am hoping to stop around Spring if I can get my BP under control by then and I have a feeling it will be no walk in the park.

 
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Old 12-22-2012, 11:38 AM   #3
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Re: Getting off of beta blockers: My success and failures

Seekingpeace12, Merry Christmas to you and yours!

Sorry to read about the nasty, unpleasant side effects that you have had to endure with medications! Wow, are you sensitive to medications!

Beta Blockers do come with unpleasant side effects. I take Coreg (Carvedilol), which I consider a wonderful, curative medication for my blood pressure, heart failure, atrial fibrillation and insulin resistance. Coreg has given me a new lease on life! I have learned to tolerate and live with the side effects from 25mg Coreg, twice a day, but, then again, I haven't had to deal with side effects as nasty as you have experienced. It's a shame that you can't take a medication like Coreg. But, if it hurt me as much as it hurts you, I would ditch it in a second!

Your struggles and health problems have not only significantly effected you, but also the rest of your family. I hope that you can get your health problems resolved soon!

Back in 2004, after many years of constantly high, very unhealthy blood pressure, my first big breakthrough was when I changed my diet. (ref: Does an "Insulin Resistance" diet improve blood pressure? posted 01-13-2005, 08:38 PM link: http://www.healthboards.com/boards/high-low-blood-pressure/242229-does-insulin-resistance-diet-improve-blood-pressure.html

In lieu of medications, have you thought about going on a high quality, low calorie, small meal, frequent eating, balanced diet?
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CHF, A-Fib, HBP, Diabetes, Asthma doing great

⇒ Avoid allergic & non-allergic irritants/triggers
⇒ Low calorie ovo-vegetarian diet
⇒ Power walk, weight lifts, pushups
⇒ Coreg 25mg bid

Last edited by Machaon; 12-22-2012 at 11:40 AM.

 
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Old 12-25-2012, 07:47 PM   #4
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Re: Getting off of beta blockers: My success and failures

Machaon, Happy Holidays to you as well. Thank you the suggestions regarding a balanced diet. Yes, I have learned through this and other boards that what we eat affects our health in so many ways. I have learned to watch what I eat, when I eat, and how I eat it. Eating smaller portions and watching my sodium intake has worked for me by lowering my blood pressure naturally. I am hoping that it also helps with my GERD. I am sure that had I not changed my eating habits, my BP would be higher than it is now that I am off HBP medicines. It has not been easy because I crave so badly the foods and drinks that I am accustomed to. I am also introducing natural supplements to my diet in hopes that they work for me as they have for others here on this board.
I am glad that Carvedilol has worked so well for you. Perhaps someone considering beta blockers will do as well on it as you have. I did not try and wonder if I may have been better on it than with the Bystolic.

 
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Old 12-27-2012, 05:56 PM   #5
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Re: Getting off of beta blockers: My success and failures

Hello Seekingpeace12,

I have been through mostly the same symptoms as you have. I am now of the BB for over 2 .5 months and i still get the chest pain which is more like "pins and needles" and an occasional sharp pain for a few seconds. I also have really bad reflux and am currently treating myself for this. I get pain in my hands and my shoulder to this day and i have done an ESG about 4 times now with all showing perfect readings. I am due to in a few weeks to see a Cardiologist just to make sure that my heart is good. Expect the anxiety to return at all stupid times but this will get better over time. This is a horrible medicine. While it works for some many suffer without knowing the cause. I am currently managing my BP without any drugs and i think i am doing OK. Hang in their friends and things will get better.

Last edited by Boy252; 12-27-2012 at 06:49 PM.

 
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Old 12-30-2012, 12:44 PM   #6
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Re: Getting off of beta blockers: My success and failures

has anyone had experience with bisoprolol because Ive been on it for a week or so and I feel tired as hell and having some goofy dreams.

 
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Old 06-17-2013, 08:35 AM   #7
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Re: Getting off of beta blockers: My success and failures

I wanted to update my initial post as I have since found that many of the symptoms that I have are due to Lyme Disease. I have been without blood pressure medication for almost 6 months now and my blood pressure continues to be OK.

However, many of the symptoms that I described in my original post continue. I wore an event monitor for a month and found that my heart skips beats. This is attributed to the Lyme Disease as well as the over 48 other symptoms that I continue to suffer. Other symptoms that relate to the heart and blood pressure are heart palpitations, hearing my heart beat in my ears and feeling my heartbeat thump in sync with my heart on my legs, arms, face, bottom of feet, head, etc. Oh yeah, I also see my heartbeat in my right eye (vision comes and goes in sync with my heartbeat) when I strain. My right eye is infected with LD.

It is very odd that my Lyme Disease symptoms started at the same time as when I started to take beta blockers which never helped control my blood pressure, in the contrary, it made it worse as it used to go up and down. It stabilized in the normal range once I got off of the BP medicine.

 
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Old 06-18-2013, 07:56 AM   #8
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Re: Getting off of beta blockers: My success and failures

Hi seekingpeace12, I'm glad to hear you are doing better. I'm on day #20 of no beta blockers after weaning off of almost a year of taking mostly atenolol (except for a 5 day excursion by my cardiologist to bisoprolol because of the atenolol side effects; bisoprolol was even worse and he switched me back to atenolol!), and after reading all of your posts in this thread I can relate - I've had 99% of all of those symptoms myself. The first week and a half completely off of them was the worst - I had such irrational panic, fear, and anxiety that I was terrified to be in the parking garage at work by myself and I didn't want my husband to leave me alone at the house - how crazy is that?!? That irrational fear did eventually go away. My bp is now under control with Losartan (Cozaar) but my heart rate is still relatively high (80s - 90s), I still get the adrenaline surges, shakiness, and a feeling of my nerves quivering occasionally, and I still have some vivid dreaming but not nearly as bad as in the final weeks of weaning and then the first week completely off. The pins and needles have finally stopped and so has my reflux and I'm not having breathing problems anymore. Crazy what these meds do to you. I'm now trying to get off the bp meds for good by doing the plant-based diet (low fat vegan) and juicing. Glad you found answers and, more importantly, relief.

 
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Old 06-21-2013, 06:33 AM   #9
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Re: Getting off of beta blockers: My success and failures

Amy, I am so glad to hear that you are getting better. I understand that beta blockers have their place in medicine to help people with heart issues but I can’t comprehend why many doctors prescribe them as a first course treatment for high blood pressure when there are so many HBP medicines out there.

I can completely relate to how you felt about your husband leaving you alone in the house. Because of my panic and anxiety, I started to leave to front door unlocked in case something happened to me and the paramedics needed to get in or the police to do a well-being check. It sounds irrational, but when you are this sick, you worry about the silliest things.

Focusing on your diet is a great idea since many of our problems start at the gut. Yogurt and probiotics are great for those of us who take medicines.

Good luck on your quest to get off of them and please keep us posted.

 
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Old 08-20-2013, 08:35 AM   #10
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Re: Getting off of beta blockers: My success and failures

Quote:
Originally Posted by Seekingpeace12 View Post
Amy, I am so glad to hear that you are getting better. I understand that beta blockers have their place in medicine to help people with heart issues but I canít comprehend why many doctors prescribe them as a first course treatment for high blood pressure when there are so many HBP medicines out there.

I can completely relate to how you felt about your husband leaving you alone in the house. Because of my panic and anxiety, I started to leave to front door unlocked in case something happened to me and the paramedics needed to get in or the police to do a well-being check. It sounds irrational, but when you are this sick, you worry about the silliest things.

Focusing on your diet is a great idea since many of our problems start at the gut. Yogurt and probiotics are great for those of us who take medicines.

Good luck on your quest to get off of them and please keep us posted.
I totally agree with you about not using beta blockers as a first line. My present doctor doesn't prescribe them first either. I've been on Bystolic for four years and I'm trying to get off it. The first drug was a fail-diltiazem, a calcium channel blocker, made my heart race-so now I have to go back tomorrow to see what else will control my bp without the nasty bb side effects. I have a feeling it's going to be a tough time, not only because my body is addicted to the bb, but I have multiple food, environmental, and drug allergies. Any medical procedure is miserable for me. I do a lot of natural things and am considering consulting a naturopath about weaning off all bp meds, but not until the Bystolic is out of my system.

 
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Old 04-02-2014, 02:20 PM   #11
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Re: Getting off of beta blockers: My success and failures

I have CAD and have been on bisoprolol for 7 years. I never had high BP before my diagnosis so all of my meds are 'preventative". I am going to asking my Cardiologist to take me off them this fall when I see her as I am sure they have a lot to do with my restless legs, fatigue and weight gain. I agree with the others about 'lifestyle' being just, if not more, important than medications. Good luck all!!

 
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