Beta blocker/Bisoprolol withdrawal and breathlessness

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Hi. I am 43 yrs old and have been on beta blockers (initially metoprolol and then bisoprolol) for svt the last ten years. I had an ablation which went wrong and I ended up on higher doses of beta blocker after that (8yrs ago). They added in flecainide a year ago as they wanted to drop my bisoprolol down becacause I was still having daily runs and my BP was a bit on the low side. I have managed to drop the dose down to 1.25 bd over the last few months. Then 4 weeks ago, I started to have awful episodes of ?different kind of arrhythmia where i would feel very faint and shaky and it would last for a few minutes. Because they then wondered if I was having a ventricular arrhythmia, they stopped the flecainide and halved my bisprolol. However a week ago I had a couple of prolonged svt episodes so they stopped my beta blocker altogether and started me onto something new dronaderone (like amiodarone with less side effects). I was relieved at the thought of finally being off the beta blocker once and for all but all week I have steadily been feeling worse and worse. I know that there is likely to be a withdrawl period but it's been a week now and I can honestly say that I'm more breathless today than I've ever been. Even just sitting at rest. I can't talk or eat without stopping for breath all the time and I have never felt so unwell in all my life. I am aware that I can get marked postural tachycardia and if I so much as walk slowly to another room my rate climbs from 75 to 120 in seconds. Has anyone else experienced such marked side effects after stopping bisoprolol or another beta blocker? I would really appreciate any thoughts. R


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  • Posted

    After a heart attack three weeks ago I got put on these beta blockers also ( bisoprolol) 1.25mg

    However I'd noticed after about 4,6 or 8 after taken the tablets

    My blood pressure goes up and my heart beat drops to 50 beats.

    Iv ended up at a&e three times with these symptoms.

    But after about 2 hours my heart beat goes to 64 / 66 beats and my blood pressure becomes normal well 138

    Iv been on the 1.25 now for about two weeks.

    I don't feel as light headed when the ordeals start

    And my heart hasn't dropped for a few days now.

    However on Friday just past while in the shop I became really light headed and faint and it felt as if the shop was moving.

    It lasted for about 30 minutes.

    Then all was good again.

    Is this the beata blockers ????

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    • Posted

      Did you feel hot and sweaty as well?

      I have suffered similar feelings but in my case it has been around 10/11ish in the morning and I put it down to a lack of sugar in the blood and correct it by taking 1/2 glucose tablets (from Boots) as it usually occurs when walking the dog Fortunately this has always corrected the feeling. If at home I usually have a couple of biscuits and a cup of tea or a banana. I am not diabetic and get the sucrose levels checked annually.

      Therefore not certain bisop is involved but best check with your consultant

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    • Posted

      I have encountered episodes of what I term "low blood sugar" and they have been worse since getting off the BB.  I do like you - take biscuits or a banana when I get the shaky feeling.  I know it will improve.  I was getting the shakes and rapid heartbeat when I went to get dressed in the morning and almost losing my breath.  That has now improved too (almost one month off the horrid drug).

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    • Posted

      Apart from my recent heart thing, I never ever fely faint in my life untilo they put me on Bisoprolol, after a couple of weeks they called an ambulance for me at work because I was on the verge of collapse, even after the nurse at work had given me oxygen which made me feel a lot better, the ambulance crew still found my heart beat to be 40
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  • Posted

    rachel, I don't know when you posted, so this might not be needed, but here goes. I just found out from a doctor that another doctor that okayed me just stopping metaprolol cold turkey was a huge mistake!!! My anxiety got so bad I was scared to death and didn't think I could stand it another day. Now that I know the reason for the anxiety, I am not so panic stricken, and the doctor put me on another blood pressure med that includes an anti-anxiety med. I can already feel some relief, and know that I will feel better each day. I am so relieved to know the source of that terrible, terrible anxiety and muscle cramps, and breathlessness. The new med is Clonidine patch. Good luck.
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  • Posted

    I am so glad I found this threat.  I was on Bispropolol for over 6 years with a mis-diagnosis of HBP.  I started to wean over 2 months ago but I wasn't taking much to begin with; 1/4 of a tablet 2 x daily of a 5 mg tablet.  It has been a literal hell and I will NEVER go on BB's again.  Racing heart, thumping, increasing heart rate doing the simplest of things.  Oh, the anxiety (which has tempered down now).  I suggest to anyone that is getting off this stuff, to go to a Naturopath and see if they will guide you on using Avena Sativa (liquid or homeopathic tablets).  It helps to calm the central nervous system - also helps the breathlessness, which I couldn't pin-point as to why and now I know.  This is a dangerous drug and one they hand out like candy.  It put out my thyroid too (hyper now but am using a homepathic tincture by Biomed called Lycopus which is helping to balance it back to normal).  Although I have taken a lot of medical, I did not know that new adrenaline receptors were being made all the time I was on the BB's and that is what is causing the most problems.  I'm super sensitive so this has been an eye-opener for me.  Never, never again.  Slowly I'm improving - it's been one week now without even the 1/8 I was taking at night to wean, which doctor said was a non-dose really.  But to me, it was a slow, slow wean.  There is one post here that says everyone is different - very true.  But the majority are experiencing withdrawal and not easy withdrawal.  This is worse than quitting cigarettes!  

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  • Posted

    I encountered the symptoms you are describing when I stopped taking Bisoprolol 5 mg .  By chance I started taking  Magnesium glycinate . My anxiety was reduced . Google magnisium. It is a rather harmless supplement and it has a calming affect on the inner organs. I talked to another doctor who said Not to take too much magnisium. 800 mg is too much and may cause  diarrhea. Check with your health care professional. If you decide to take magnisium experimment . I almost feel normal.
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    • Posted

      Hi, I already take magnesium.  The hyperthyroidism has a lot of the same symptoms, so everything is tied in together.  The BB might have been masking me being hyperthyroid for awhile - maybe a few months as I got really sick in August with some parasite that came in on lettuce.  That's when I noticed the real problems with the heartbeat.  It is sporadic now and I'm improving (almost a month now).  Some of the people on this site says it may take up to 6 months to feel normal again and I think I might be one of them because I am so severely sensitive to everything.  I even take 1/2 tablets of any new supplement just to see what it does before I'll start taking it regularly. 

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    • Posted

      I had problem with the heart beat too. At its worst I thought I was going nuts. I took double dose of Magnesium and then another doctor told me to take ubiquinol CoQ10 and L -Carnitine. I still get an occasional heart beat . But no where lose to what it was before. 
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  • Posted


    My RAMIPRIL and BISOPROLOL were both increased to 5mg per day about 10 days ago by my Cardiologist.  Ever since he increased the dose I have felt TERRIBLE. I spend all night TRYING to catch my breatch..literally suffocating.....NO MORE,,I am NOT taking todays dose or any other days..NO MORE. I have had enaf. Can I stop "Cold turkey" or must I wean myself off this crap....God also i feel 100 years old...everywhere..muscles...bones, joints..everywheree hurts..cant walk..cant move...This stuff is HORRIBLE.....Liam B

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    • Posted


      You have to wean off surely from Bisoprolol.

      How long have you been taking it (weeks, months, years)?

      If you quit cold turkey, you can suffer a stroke or heart attack (rebound high blood pressure, dangerous arrhytmias), since it is a very dangerous drug to quit.

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    • Posted

      Hi Liam, I'm sorry to hear about your battles with the medications.  I went off all medications 14 years ago, and am still alive.  But you need to wean yourself off them - cold turkey is dangerous.  I suggest you investigate the root cause of your metabolic diseases, which is hyperinsulinemia, for which the treatment is a very low carb, high fat diet.  There is plenty of information on this topic on the internet.  I switched to this style of eating several years ago, and I am sure it is the reason why I am still alive.

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  • Posted

    Dear Rachel,

    I have just been doing a little research and I saw your post and it caught my attention... I am truly sorry for you're problems both with BBs and the initial cause...

    I would just like to say though that personally I found out just before my birthday that I had AF (Atrial Fibrillation), I had an attack which my EX GF noticed that my heart was beating out of my chest... after a lot of persuasion I went to the hospital due to history of heart attacks in the family,

    I spent 2 weeks in high dependency unit as when I arrived at A+E my resting HR was 180 Bpm- 236 Bpm (that I saw)!!!

    I'm now stuck on Bisoprolol and my "specialist" reduced it from 12.5mg daily to 10mg... my next birthday about a year later I am back in hospital with the same issue.

    I'm just trying to say that you are not alone and you are always entitled to 2nd, 3rd opinions... at the end of the day it is YOUR life, you have to live with it not some of these (not all) pompous doctors etc.

    I have no fear of anything and I don't say that lightly I never have a fast HR now (unless from exercise) ... I have no fear of pain, I.E I cut the end of my right index finger almost clean off and I hardly blinked and drove to the hospital, I am wondering if from the other comments I have seen regarding Adrenaline if this is normal????

    It's not just that, I got knocked over by a car a few months ago (only at 20-30mph) after landing on the floor I was quite badly injured (says EX) but I decided that my paperwork was more important and just walked away and left it at that.

    I'm concerned I may end up accidentally doing something that I might not be able to walk away from or something similar!

    I hope this makes sense...

    1. I really feel for you and understand (as much as possible)

    2. I hope you get this resolved!!

    3. I would like to know if anyone else has had any similar experiences I.e no "fight or flight" adrenaline

    4. I am soooo cold!!!! Do BBs MAKE YOU cold?????? I know it's a bit of a daft question but I am always really really cold, it has got to the point where I'm constantly wearing a thermal outfit, then layers and layers of clothes and try to avoid going outside if it's not nice weather (more than avg. person) I don't know what to do, haven't seen cardiologist for about 10 months now...

    Does anyone else feel cold from BBs (Bisoprolol) mainly.

    I'm doing a little research regarding your situation but you have had some excellent unbelievable responses!!! However I think all helps helpful, even a little! :-)

    Best Wishes,

    P.s Thank you in advance for any responses I receive!!!

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    • Posted

      Hi, about your "no fight or flight" adrenaline, well, that is one of the purposes of Beta blockers.

      To some extent, they make you "dead" and calm all the time.

      Somewhat similar to Valium, for example, except that BBs have much stronger effect on heart and blood pressure than Valium.

      For example, without BBs, a normal person will have a resting heart rate 60-70-80.

      During excercise, HR will go to 120, 150 and similar.

      When you are too excited (for example, watching sport, movies etc), your HR will go up too.

      Now, if you are prone to tachycardia, arrhytmias and similar, those are often triggered by excercise, stress, too high excitement etc.

      When you take BBs, they will block your emotions and HR of going into extremes.

      Let's say that for a normal person, you will go to -100 level (of your emotions) when you are scared, stressed etc.

      +0 will be a normal level.

      +100 will be when you are too excited about some activity (let's say watching an important sport match).

      So, for a normal person, emotions (and thus HR as a response to your emotions) will go from -100 to +100 in everyday life.

      When you take BBs, they affect your Central nervous system and lots of mechanisms in brains (which eventually slow down our heart and block extreme emotions), so this way, your emotions won't go from -100 to +100 anymore, but more like from -60 to +60.

      So, roughly, on BBs, you can never get as excited or as scared as a normal person. You are numb to some extent.

      You won't go into extremes with emotions, you will always be closer to zero (or around a middle, when you are neither sad/scared/happy/excited)

      That way, BBs are trying to prevent triggers of arrhytmias, like too much excitement, stress etc.

      But also, this way BBs will slow down your heart all day long, they will protect your heart that way, plus even if you do get an episode of arrhytmia, it shouldn't last that long, and your HR should be lower during an episode than without BBs.

      So, BBs have a lot of good sides and they protect people in 100s of situations.

      But again, they have lots of side effects, like this emotional numbness which you have described (and I have experienced the same when I was taking BBs. I never enjoyed sport, music, love life or usual things that used to excite me, during taking BBs. For example, I was watching important matches of my team, and if my team was winning, I would just say: ok. If my team was losing, I would just say: ok.)

      About how you are feeling cold, well, BBs are slowing down our hearts (Heart rate) and amount of blood pumped in each second, and thus less blood and oxygen will flow around our body.

      Also, in legs, arms (especially feet and fingers) and parts of a body which are further from the heart, you will get the lowest amount of blood and oxygen (weaker circulation) and those parts can easily get cold.

      For example, I used to have cold feet and hands all day long.

      When I was shaking hands with people, they used to ask me: omg, why do you have such a cold hands (in the middle of a summer)?

      And I was taking only 1,25 and later 0,62 Mg of Bisoprolol.

      My dad takes a lot of medicines for high blood pressure, and BBs are one of them.

      He is feeling cold all the time.

      For example, all people are saying that it is extremely hot and they are sweating, while my dad has long sleeves all the time and just saying: I'm cold. It's quite cold today...

      Since you are on a largest dose of a BB (10 and 12,5 Mg), it is understandable that you have these side effects.

      Good luck

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    • Posted

      Hi Bob,

      I stopped my beta blocker about 8 weeks ago. I'm still having bouts of anxiety and hot flashes from time to time and this was not my normal before beta blockers. How long did it take for you to feel normal again? Thank you for your help.

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    • Posted

      I went to the hospital for a panic attack and they put me on a beta blocker 5mg just that day! And after the second day i started getting horrible symptoms! Tight neck and chest! Arms feel swollen, strong headaches, dizziness, feel like my body isnt here, depressed, when will all this go away? :'( I feel like I have no life

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