Bisoprolol and shortness of breath

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I am on bisprolol 2.5 mg for inappropriate sinus tachycardia, which was thought to have caused/exacerbated my shortness of breath (which was initially caused by severe anemia but persists despite normal Hb [but ferritin is low normal]) . The bisoprolol also brought down my diastolic BP which suddenly shot up a few weeks back.

A few days before I started the bisoprolol, I felt some relief in the shortness of breath. No idea why/how. I've been on the bisoprolol for 10 days now. While my heart rate (between 70 and 80) and BP are great, I am now having more shortness of breath than previously. I even have shortness of breath at rest.

For the past few days, every time I take a nap I wake up feeling suffocated and have palpitations. I am not gasping for breath, but I do wake up breathing faster and with a higher heart rate. I was concerned if this was symptom of heart failure, so I slept flat on my back last night without pillows. I didn't experience any shortness of breath or palpitations. My recent echo, nuclear stress test, chest x ray were all normal, and the only abnormality is the high heart rate caught on various ECGs and the holter.

I am wondering if bisoprolol has anything to do with the shortness of breath and the suffocating feeling during naps. It's working so well for my heart rate and the diastolic BP (which was said to have risen because of IST) that I don't want to go on another med asap. I also have t2 diabetes (well controlled, a1c of 4.9) that I can't use nonselective beta blockers as they raise BG. I was on HCTZ which did nothing to lwoer my heart rate, and my diastolic mostly remained high on it, plus it raised my fasting BG over which I like to keep tight control.

but yes, if you have had worsening/new shortness of breath on bisoprolol, please share your experience. thank you.

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20 Replies

  • Posted

    wat was the reason u started taking beta 2.5?

    mine was due to CHF, and i was having palpitations but wasn't outta breath. it was more of a anxiety issue associated with knowing the fact that i have heart issue that gave me those palpitations and anxious feelings。 maybe you should see pyschiastrist and get see if u are stressed or anxious about the heart issue

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    • Posted

      I was placed on it for inappropriate sinus tachycardia and sudden increase in diastolic BP which lasted three weeks. It's not an anxiety issue. I have had a high resting heart rate for a long time, but only in the past six months have I had shortness of breath. I get out of breath when I walk a short distance. I didn't have this problem six months back, and my BP had always been low-normal. I don't think a psychiatrist can help.

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  • Posted

    Waking from sleep with shortness of breath and palpitations sounds like panic attack and the generalised shortness of breath is not likely to be caused by bisoprolol as that is a symptom that the bisoprolol is intended to stop. You may need the dose increased but, whatever the reason, you need to see your doctor. These peer support sites are ok but dont let it take the place of proper medical advice.

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    • Posted

      Hi, I will definitely see my doctor, and don't consider peer support sites as a replacement for medical advice.

      I have had generalized shortness of breath for about 6 months, following severe anemia from heavy periods. I was fine before this, very active, great BP too. I am reading conflicting things on Bisoprolol and shortness of breath. In many places (pharmacology websites), it's listed as a side effect of Bisoprolol. I will discuss it with my doctor. I am feeling much better on Bisoprolol, as my heart rate is now normal and doesn't shoot into the 100s from minor exertion. I just hope to find answers and solutions for my shortness of breath.

      When I take the full 5 mg I am prescribed, my heart rate drops to 50. And I wasn't too comfortable with that so have stuck with the 2.5 mg. Again, I'll discuss it with my GP and cardiologist. I was curious ho wmany others had shortness of breath as a side effect of Bisoprolol or had theirs worsen.

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  • Posted

    Just google "Bisoprolol and shortness of breath" and you will have your answer.

    As soon as they put me on it I described feeling a "Drunk Zombie" and that my lungs no longer work and I had to remember to breathe.

    Blood oxygen meters, even the ones in hospital showed when asleep, my blood oxygen would go down to 85% for most of the night.

    It took a full year after coming off beta blockers before my breathing and blood oxygen levels returned to normal.

    Trouble is, I have been left with quite bad Peripheral Neuropathy and other permanent damage to the Autonomic Nervous System, nerves get damaged when oxygen remains low for too long.

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    • Posted

      I am sorry to hear that. It's a confusing mess. I am feeling better on Bisoprolol as my tachycardia has resolved and my suddenly elevated diastolic BP is also down. I am just struggling with the shortness of breath even more after starting Bisoprolol. I have had the S.o.B for nearly six months following severe anemia.

      The cardiologist felt the shortness of breath was a result of the inappropriate sinus tachycardia. But I am not so sure anymore, as my heart rate is excellent but I continue to have shortness of breath,

      I have sleep study equipment with me that measures O2 levels and heart rate in sleep. I had the machine on yesterday and will put it on again tonight. So we'll see what the O2 levels are like when those results come back.

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    • Posted

      I don't know why the images appeared but the writing didn't.

      These are two of my Oxygen levels, both from the same machine.

      The first is during my year of recovery from the breathing issues Bisoprolol left me with, the second is from a couple of days ago.

      I still get to feel a bit breathless, that will be from my heart, but its a different sort of breathlessness from Bisoprolol which just felt as if I had to remember to breathe and would forget when I went to sleep.

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    • Posted

      Thanks for sharing that. I am waiting on my sleep study results. My o2 level was monitored for two nights. Hopefully it was normal.

      Could I ask what kind of heart issues cause you shortness of breath?

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    • Posted

      I was put in Bisoprolol because I had Ventricular Tachycardia that was sustained for up to 12 hours continuous on two occasions. That was successfully ablated just short of two years ago now.

      My Cardiologist likes to tell me my heart is structurally sound, yet a friend who worked at the hospital got me a copy of my MRI, I have mid LAD disease which has claimed two family members of my age, I have enlarged atrium, the right hand side in the severe category, three other issues such as fibrosis of the "insertion point" whatever that means.

      Symptom wise, I still get PVCs and some PACS, PVCs sometimes all night at every other beat, swollen feet ankles and sometimes even hands.

      I either have acid reflux or Prinz Metal Angina, its quite painful across the chest but goes after five to ten seconds.

      Its hard to know if maybe some of my breathlessness is because I am now so utterly exhausted all the time that I am therefore also becoming de-conditioned?

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    • Posted

      Hi thanks for answering. I am shocked that your cardiologist is essentially lying to you about your heart, when there are all these abnormalities. Patients are allowed access to their own reports, so in your position, I would personally question the cardiologist about it. It seems very unethical to conceal such information.

      I am sorry you still get PVCs and PACs. I get PVCs very rarely since starting Bisoprolol.

      It's true that illness and medications can lead to deconditioning which worsens shortness of breath.

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