HealthBoards (
-   High & Low Blood Pressure (
-   -   Newbie to Atenolol (

marantz1935 10-08-2007 01:55 PM

Newbie to Atenolol
Hello and thanks to everyone for their very helpful posts.

I've been just recently diagnosed as having HBP and have been put on 50mg of Atenolol once a day.

I went to my GP originally complaining of difficulty passing water. Tests in the doctors office and results from the hospital were negative (including blood tests). As a matter of routine (I'm guessing), I had my BP checked by my doctors nurse. She said I was 130 over something (can't remember), and she told my GP of the reading. I was asked to take home a BP monitor for the week and write down my numbers (I was in a state of panic at this stage). At home, I was getting figures in the 140's, 150's and 160's all week long. I just want to say at this point in my post is that I was rattled with fear and was in shock. Anyway, I brought back my results and was promptly put on Atenolol. The hole thing has me in disbelief. I've been asked to come back before my pills run out and will be getting another blood test (this has me worried). My colestoral is up slightly as well. I'm not handling all of this very well as I do suffer from anxiety, especially when it concerns my health.

As regards my original problem, I still find passing water a bit slow, but not as painful. I'm hoping my GP will refer me for a scan or something to see if their is blockage. He has told me not to worry, and that as I get older, things will start to happen to me appropriate to my age (I'm in my forties). All I know is this: my problems only happened after my urinary problems began. I've been feeling crap all along, both before and after the Atenolol. I just don't feel myself at all.

P.S., my mother has HBP, but the suddenness of my BP increase leads my to thinks it's linked to my urinary tract.

Thanks for reading.

famnd 10-08-2007 06:29 PM

Re: Newbie to Atenolol
Hi Mar,

We understand about getting anxious when our blood pressure goes up. In your case, your Dr. needs to tell you exactly why you need to be on b/p med with a b/p of 130 (unless the 2nd number was over 90 or higher. Usually a patient is given a few months at least to try lifestyle measures such as losing weight etc. It is normal for b/p to go up at the Dr's office.

These b/p meds have the potential for preventing a stroke or MI but they also can do a lot of harm. Generally, a Dr. has no way of knowing which patient will suffer the harm.

Your pressures at home are most likely because you got spooked with the Dr. giving you meds to take & saying your b/p was too high. Your b/p will probably go down once you figure out why your Dr. is concerned.

Did the Dr. do a urine test to check for infection? Did he tell you to drink more fluids especially water for the urinary problem? Did he say that perhaps your prostrate is enlarged which would contribute to your urinary problems?


marantz1935 10-09-2007 12:03 AM

Re: Newbie to Atenolol
Thanks Famnd,

All urine and blood tests were clear according to my GP, except a slighty elevated colesterol.

In Ireland, normal colesterol is 5, and mine is 6.5. He said he was more concerened with my BP for the moment.

I am doing lifestyle and diet changes as we speak.

I have a great doctor, but he not very understanding of his more neurotic patients.

Thanks again.

huckfinn 10-09-2007 10:25 AM

Re: Newbie to Atenolol
Hi Marantz :)

I first want to say dittos to all that Famnd told you.

Now, did you use the home monitoring BP device correctly? There are some very important instructions you must follow in order to get accurate results.

You never gave a complete BP reading in your post. That would be good to know.

Atenolol is a powerful drug and 50 mgs is a fairly strong starting dose. I started this drug around 7 years ago at 25 mgs per day, and my cardiologist had me log my BP and heart rate every 2 hours for a week. This was to determine my reaction to the drug and to see if this was the correct dosage.

I totally disagree with your doctor on his first choice of BP medicine, even though the NIH says something about a beta blocker being among one of the first choices, after a diuretic I think.

I don't want to scare you or anyone taking atenolol, but it is one of a couple of beta blockers that can cause "drug induced Lupus". Well lucky me....After being on this drug for over 7 years, I and my cardiologist have figured out that atenolol had induced Lupus in me. It probably started about 2 years ago.

I developed a rash and my doctor told me that it was a "drug induced rash" and prescribed a very powerful creme for it. He looked at my chart and said any one of these many drugs you are taking could cause this. He suggested I stop one and I did. The rash continued.

During this time I was diagnosed with CFS and FM by 2 very good doctors. Even though I have only been off of atenolol for ~8 days, I now believe all of my incredible fatigue and pain was due to Lupus. I also have heart disease, 5 stents and will probably have bypass surgery before 2008.

I must tell all of you reading this that as I have aged, I have become hypersensitive to many medicines. So if you take atenolol do not worry about DIL. It is probably extremely rare. You cannot stop taking atenolol or any beta blocker abruptly, or it could be fatal.

I switched to Coreg CR as my beta blocker. So far it has been great. Knock on wood :)

Marantz have you had your prostate checked digitally to see if it is enlarged? An enlarged prostate is the most common cause of problems with/during urination. During an exam, a doctor can feel the size of the prostate. There are medicines to treat an enlarged prostate.

marantz1935 10-09-2007 12:28 PM

Re: Newbie to Atenolol
[QUOTE=huckfinn;3249314]Hi Marantz :)

Now, did you use the home monitoring BP device correctly?[/QUOTE]

Good question. I think I was using the BP monitor incorrectly for most of the week I had it. I was sitting in my armchair and left the BP machine on the coffee table, and this was how I got my readings. Finally, after reading the booklet, I went out to the kitchen, and I think I did it correctly by placing my arm at heart
level as per instructions. The lowest I got that day was 141 over ? This was the lowest all week. I was happy with that for now. I wrote down the results and gave it to my doctor who just put me straight on the 50mg dose of Atenolol after glancing over my readings. He didn't measure me himself on that visit.

I probably do have HBP, but I don't feel it was that high in reality. Bear in mind my shock as well as the 'cuff anxiety' (everytime I put the cuff on, I could feel my heart rate and strength increase).

He said my dose (50mg) was mild, but it really makes me feel very unwell. I tried half a pill one day to see how I'd be, and I must say I felt much more like my self and not as tired either.

I was not digitally tested for prostate, only blood tested.

These Atenolol tablets feel very potent indeed.

Thanks for your post and sorry to hear about your own experiences.

jana65 10-09-2007 05:34 PM

Re: Newbie to Atenolol
I read these posts because I too take Atenolol. It seems to me that your blood pressure wasn't THAT high. You didn't give a bottom number, I believe, so it's hard to know. I went on Lisinopril 12mg with HTCZ and Atenolol 25 mg for rapid heartbeat back in February of this year. My BP was 198/108 in the drs. office, taken 45 minutes apart ! I went on the Atenolol 2 weeks after being on the Lisinopril. My BP was down but I still had a faster than normal heart rate. The Atenolol and Lisinopril have grealtly reduced my BP and somehow I feel less anxious. My BP ( just took it tonight is 106/66 ) has gotten much better. It still spikes when I go near a Dr's. Office though ! My doctor said these dosages were the lowest possible, which is how he likes to start out and I agree. The medication ( I think ) made me tired and sleepy in the afternoons at first, now I am fine. Hang in there and try to think of the medications in a positive way,


marantz1935 10-10-2007 12:57 AM

Re: Newbie to Atenolol
Thanks Jana65,

I can't remember the bottom values of my BP as I was very anxious when getting it done. I just remember the nurse saying that 130 was a little high. She spoke to my GP and he just told her to give me the BP machine for the week.

Prior to my visit to the doctor, I didn't have a clue about blood pressure numbers, so I didn't know what to look out for. Had I known, I probably wouldn't have gotten so anxious when she said my BP was up slightly.

On a positive note, I am feeling a bit more relaxed and my heart isn't beating a hard.

Thanks again.

jr2212 10-10-2007 11:35 AM

Re: Newbie to Atenolol
Hate to sound so negative but I just got off atenol (was on 50mg for 1 1/2 yrs.), made me feel horrable all the time! If you do a board search referencing atenol you'll find a lot of info on atenol from past posts.

AND - don't ever under estimate ANXIETY!! Not sure I really knew what it was until I went off atenol "cold turkey". My BP was running 160/100 until I got control over the anxiety caused by the atenol withdrawl, my BP dropped 17 points on top and 17 on the bottom immediatly once the anxiety lessened!

My advice to you would be to try to relax the best you can and don't take your BP all the time, it doesn't help.

Once again, sorry for being so negative on atenol. I know everybody is different and some people get along well on atenol. I know on paper atenol works well to control BP, but I'll bet if all the Drs. who prescribe it had to take it for a year that there'd be a lot less of it prescribed!!! There are lots of other alternitive meds. to atenol that also control BP well.

marantz1935 10-10-2007 12:53 PM

Re: Newbie to Atenolol
Thanks for that jr2212,

I'm on Atenolol only a few weeks and the experience is mostly horrible. My worst day was today for anxiety and feeling unwell generally. I thought I was losing my mind. I feel like a changed person, but not in a good sense. I intend getting my GP to change my pills when I see him soon. I read elsewhere that Atenolol was like a sledgehammer being used to crack a nut. My mother is on Atenolol as well and she has no negative experiences.

If you don't mind, tell me about the alternative methods to control BP.

huckfinn 10-11-2007 07:09 AM

Re: Newbie to Atenolol
Atenolol made me very fatigued. Some people do not experience that reaction.

My nightmare with atenolol started when I lost enough weight to be perfect for my height. I thought I could just "stop" atenolol. I had never been warned about stopping any beta blocker abruptly.

About 8 days afterwards I was at an appointment with my urologist. The nurse checked my BP and pulse rate. It was like 185/120 and my heart rate was 120. I was totally anxious to the point of a break down.

My urologist had the nurse to shoot me up with a large dose of valium and call my cardiologist. He wanted to speak to me and gave me a sermon about not ever stopping a BB cold turkey. I was given a dose of atenolol, and was not allowed to drive myself home.....

About 6 weeks later I had a heart attack and a light stroke. I have no idea if there was any association between the abrupt ending of atenolol and these events, but I have told my story many times to try to help or prevent anyone else from making the mistake that I did.

All the prescribing directions from the pharmacy notes were to "speak with your doctor before stopping this medicine". I figured I wouldn't waste his time.....

flowergirl2day 10-11-2007 07:48 AM

Re: Newbie to Atenolol
When I stopped Labetalol (an alpha & beta blocker) I got sick. I went from 800mg to 400mg in about a week. The doctor told me to stop taking it. (I could barely breathe). I asked him: just like that? He said yes. I did. I had pretty bad withdrawal symptoms, mostly heart beat irregularieties. I remember going to bed each night, wondering if the heart would keep beating all night or just stop. It would alternate between beating extremely fast for a couple of minutes, then extremely slow, back to fast, slow. Then doing what I came to call flip-flops, because that's how they felt.
Anyway, this was accompanied by a 24/7 headache, which lasted 6 weeks.
I had an even WORSE experience stopping my maximum dose of a calcium channel blocker cold turkey. I believe I came very close to having a heart attack. The piercing chest pains at the end lasted for hours. Stopped when I went back on the drug, as ordered by my doctor. I agree with Huck: don't EVER just stop taking any of these medications. In some cases, our doctors ignore or underestimate the dangers of withdrawing from these medications. It sure pays to be informed.


jr2212 10-11-2007 08:16 AM

Re: Newbie to Atenolol
This whole thing with atenol is amazing, I'm on my 24th day off atenol and I swear I'm still having periods of withdrawal effects. One of the things I find so interesting is that in all the research I've done on this I have found very little recognition within the medical community that this withdrawal syndrome on atenol even exists, I even read one study that declared that there were no withdrawal effects from comming off atenol. In other brief statements I read it was refered to as "very rare". WOW!!!

All I can really say is that I'm with Flowergirl, going to bed at night wondering if your going to make it through to the next day is not a very good feeling!

famnd 10-11-2007 12:51 PM

Re: Newbie to Atenolol
Two good references for these drugs are the Package Insert (a sheet of very small print) & the Nurses' PDR. You may have to go to several pharmacies to find the Pkg Insert because it is usually thrown away. The Nurses' PDR
contains all the important details for taking these drugs safely. I've had my issues with my Dr. concerning withdrawal from meds. I just flat out told her I was going to follow the package directions for starting drugs & stopping drugs unless there is a very good reason not too.

I got into trouble once when she told me to stop Clonidine suddenly to start another drug. I lasted one day in withdrawal. It took me two tries & two months to get off of it.


famnd 10-11-2007 04:38 PM

Re: Newbie to Atenolol
While we're on the subject of withdrawal from meds I feel I should mention aspirin withdrawal. There have been a few studies about this subject saying that especially before surgery aspirin withdrawal may cause stroke or MI.

My Thyroid Doc told me to suddenly stop my increased aspirin dose because my thyroiditis was under control. I told him that everytime I did that my thyroid swelled up again. Tapering the dose slowly works best so I didn't listen. I certainly don't want another risk factor for stroke.

flowergirl2day 10-11-2007 08:51 PM

Re: Newbie to Atenolol
[QUOTE]Tapering the dose slowly works best so I didn't listen. I certainly don't want another risk factor for stroke[/QUOTE].

Good for you, Fam!

If I listened to my GP and did as told, I probably would not be here today. It's that bad. That's why it is so important for me to keep up with the newest & latest, and to stay informed. My doctor does not seem to believe in gradual withdrawal from medication. He does not believe in any of the things most reasonable doctors believe in. When he tells me to do something that defies logic, or even the treatment guidelines, I simply refuse. He asked me to stop Felodipine completely and start another drug in its place. I told him absolutely no way. I am not going through the horrid experience of an abrupt withdrawal from Felodipine (which he was fully aware of, by the way) ever again. I managed to cut back to 5mg with some difficulty over a two week period. I did it so that the beta blocker could be increased as requested by the blood pressure specialist(I had to cut back on something), not so that my doctor could experiment with new medication. I also told him he wouldn't be seeing me anytime soon.
I am finally learning the ropes!


All times are GMT -7. The time now is 04:29 AM.