Propranolol withdrawal - fast heart rate with minimal exertion?

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Hi everyone,

I have been experiencing withdrawal symptoms for the past 4 days. I took 10mg propranolol for just over a month as and when I need them, as directed by my GP for anxiety. I quit them cold turkey when I realised that it was the cause of all the side effects I had been experiencing. My last dose was on Saturday, when I took two pills in one day, it is now Thursday and I have been experiencing a fast heart rate upon minimal exertion (80-100bpm resting, 120-155bpm standing/walking). I also experience head zaps, numbness and pins and needles in right arm/leg, diaphgram flutters, muscle spasms throughout my body and in my neck and back of head which causes migraines and vision disturbances. I have been waking up with my left eye blurry, tingling feeling in my head and face and internal tremors/shaking throughout my body, as well as chest pain and shortness of breath. In other words, it's a living nightmare. Because I have been taking this medicine as and when needed as prescribed, I now realise I have been experiencing these withdrawal symptoms from the beginning as I have not been consistent with taking them regularly. I really hope the fast heart rate thing goes away as that is bothering me the most. I am 24 with no other health issues. If anyone else has overcome the heart rate issue, please reach out.

Many thanks,

Yazmin

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42 Replies

  • Posted

    I took 20mg 2 x per day most days for about a month. Then stopped cold. It's been almost 3 weeks now since i stopped it. I'm still getting these withdrawal/rebound symptoms including racing heart, but they are not as bad as they were initially. from what I've read on this site, the first couple of weeks seems to be the worst of it for most people. it is a nightmare; I agree. i have found that drinking water and gatorade helps. drink a lot of it. i am also drinking water with salt (1 gram sodium chloride) a couple of times a day- which also helps, but you shouldn't do this if your blood pressure is high, which it might be after stopping propranolol. You were on a lower dosage than me, so hopefully your symptoms won't last as long.

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    • Posted

      Hi Tricia, thanks for answering! Sorry to hear you're still experiencing symptoms after 3 weeks, I hope things get better for you. Did you ever experience diaphragm spasms/flutters or esopheageal/throat spasms? Also, has your heart rate calmed down? I seem to have some good days and then it all hits me again like a brick.

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    • Edited

      i have good and bad days too. i never had diaphragm or throat spasms, but did have tightness in my chest. that has gotten better. still have some racing heart. its definitely calmed down overall, but i still feel it sometimes. there are times i still can't stay standing up too long to do something, but other times i seem okay again. i was getting these hot and cold sensations and sweating too. i mostly only get that lying down now. its awful, but i'm finding all of it more tolerable now especially because it hasn't hurt me and it all seems to be improving with time.

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    • Edited

      I seem to be doing better in the latter half of the days lately.Still not doing well in the mornings. Have you felt that way at all? also have you taken your blood pressure? mine drops when i stand up.

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    • Posted

      Yes I feel worse in the mornings and during hot weather, my heart races as soon as I get up in the morning between 120-150bpm and usually slightly settles by the evening. I hope this goes away for us both soon. It has been 7 days for me now. I am still experiencing spasms in my throat/neck, blurry vision in my left eye when I wake up as well as chest pain and breathlessness. It feels like I have a million different health issues!

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    • Posted

      I know. I feel the same way. I really believe it will all go away though. i'm just not sure how much longer it will take. another problem is that i wasn't eating well at all on the propranolol. I have low iron now and probably other deficiencies as well, which i'm sure is not helping. i've started taking iron, magnesium, and a multi every day. you may want to get checked.

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    • Posted

      Same here, I lost 7 pounds of weight in a couple of weeks whilst on propranolol. Completely lost my appetite but I am getting better now. I had blood tests on Friday so hopefully I get the results back soon. Glad we're keeping in touch, it keeps me sane knowing there is someone else going through the same thing!

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    • Posted

      I'm glad we're keeping in touch also. I had my first really good day today! I actually felt like a normal, functional person again. i'm not sure if it's because I'm at the 3 week mark or if it's the supplements, but it was a big change- basically overnight. i was able to stay standing without my heart racing and actually get stuff done. Did you get your blood test results back? I think the iron supplements might be starting to help me. Also I added coq10 and fish oil to what i'm taking daily. hopefully the better days continue! Anyway, I was on a higher dose of propranolol than you were, so you may start to feel better again even sooner. hang in there... it actually gets better ❣

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    • Posted

      I'm so glad to hear that you're feeling better. I'd say I'm about 80% better too, I still get a racing heart when doing things and diaphragm spasms but I personally think that might be because I'm stressed out from all these symptoms too. Hopefully it goes away soon. I'm still waiting on my test results, I think it takes about a week.

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    • Posted

      I had a bad day yesterday too. After dinner my entire body was aching, weak and tingling and my heart was racing 150bpm just from walking up the stairs. My diaphragm spasms are restricting my breathing and causing me to become wheezy. It's day 9 now and I just want to know when this will get better for the both of us.

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    • Posted

      this is a nightmare. the reactions that we are both having are known withdrawal effects from stopping beta blockers, but doctors don't seem aware that this can happen after stopping low dose propranolol for a short period of time. it obviously can. i just hope we both fully recover soon.

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    • Posted

      not good. i'm getting really worried again. my heart is not racing as much during the day, but it is still racing while i'm sleeping. And I don't feel well when I stand because my blood pressure drops when I stand. it's been over 3 weeks now. if you have a way to take your blood pressure, do it sitting and then again immediately after while standing. The drop in bp can cause increased heart rate, but it's not normal.

      how are you feeling today? better i hope.

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    • Posted

      seems like i'm finally starting to see big improvements at the 4 week mark. still some more mild symptoms, but overall the last few days have been much better. how are you?

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    • Posted

      Hey Tricia, I'm so glad to hear you're doing better!! Sorry I've been inactive as I haven't been doing very well. Has your heart racing improved? What other symptoms did you have that have gone away?

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    • Posted

      really sorry that you're not feeling well.

      i had 3 good days in a row and then today not so great again. starting to feel like maybe i shouldn't post when i improve.

      anyway, I seem to go days now without much racing heart. seems largely better during the night too. i was sweating a lot the first couple of weeks. this has also largely stopped/improved. i'm still getting some flushing and the bp changes.

      i had a normal ekg yesterday and had more bloodwork done. did you get your results?

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    • Posted

      It’s been almost 5 weeks for me. Hang in there. It will improve. It takes a while. Also try the salt water (1 gram sodium chloride dissolved in water 2-3x per day) as long as your bp is not high. Sip it when your heart is racing. I find it helps. You can buy the tablets in the pharmacy.

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    • Posted

      thanks. has the heart racing improved for you? today it seems to just race with any movement, even moving on the sofa. I spoke to some people on a fb group that said it took around 6 weeks for theirs to settle. I had a 24 hour heart monitor so will see if there is any underlying issue. hopefully you get better soon as you are almost at 6 weeks.

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    • Posted

      i'm glad to hear that. It just feels like it'll never go away for me sometimes, also still experiencing head tremors and muscle spasms which are so annoying. I feel like it's caused breathing difficulties too.

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    • Posted

      hi yazmin. have the heart racing and other symptoms improved at all yet? it will just take time. you will definitely improve. hopefully you are not left with this ridiculous level of fatigue that I have these days. did you get your blood test results?

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    • Posted

      no, my heart still racing with even the tiniest movement such as changing positions or standing up. walking up stairs is the worst. my blood test results showed a mild folate deficiency and nothing else. hope you're doing better, sorry about the fatigue.

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    • Posted

      oh no! i'm so sorry to hear that. maybe the folate deficiency is contributing to the terrible withdrawal symptoms? I think low iron has made my withdrawal much worse. try to keep a positive attitude... I know it must be hard, but you will improve.

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    • Posted

      I notice my muscle cramps improve when I take the supplements, so probably. My GP has given me steroid inhalers for my breathing issues as they suspect my childhood asthma may have come back, and I suspect propranolol played a part in this as people with asthma aren't supposed to take it. Hope you're doing better!

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    • Posted

      yeah i had some wheezing on it too. i read that folate deficits can cause breathlessness, so maybe the combination of low folate and the propranolol withdrawal was a bad combo. lets hope the supplements fix everything. what a nightmare. hopefully we're both on the mend.

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    • Posted

      Hi Tricia, seem to have good days and bad days. I was doing ok before I got my period but now everything seems to have got a lot worse and my heart rate is higher than before. How are you doing?

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    • Posted

      Sorry to chime in but I am also weaning off propranolol and have some similar withdrawal effects like you guys. I have been taking it for more than 3 months now. GP prescribe it to me for heart palpitations ( i was having insomnia and stomach problem at that time ). Like yazmin my hr in the morning is also elevated. It is fine when i first wake up(around 75-80) and open my eyes, but as soon as i turn to get out of bed it when up to 95-100. My hr even went up to 120-130 when i brushing my teeth which kind of make no sense. It will calm down since I will take 10mg of propranolol afterward. For the past 3 months 10mg in the morning is enough for me. My hr not too high in the day and naturally low in the evening. In the beginning of this week, i started to wean off it by taking half dose which is 5mg in the morning. My hr in the afternoon and evening are higher than normal. The resting heart rate from my Fitbit watch increase to 76-78 when my normal are 71-74. During the day, I also experience heavy head feeling. It not like you are totally dizzy but your head feel not clear (like you are on the verge of being dizzy if you can understand). Just want to share my experience and hopefully learn some from you guys too.

      p/s: sorry if my English is not that great

      Felix

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    • Posted

      Hi Felix. Unfortunately the way you are in the morning is the way I am all the time now. Yazmin is too. We both stopped propranolol a few months ago. I no longer come on this site very often. I hope you have better luck than we did when you completely stop the drug.

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