Weaning off atenolol

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So this may sound crazy but hear me out. I'm a 32 year old black female with high bp which I take lisinopril/hctz for. Well in January I started feeling anxious so my doctor gave me buspirone. Well I took it starting around May because really I was hesitant about taking it, but it made me loopy/dizzy like and I had palpitations so strong I ended up going to another doctor who put me on atenolol 25mg for 10 days and told me to stop the buspirone.  So I stopped taking the buspirone immediately and stopped the atenolol Monday and it's Wednesday and please believe me when I say I have never felt this way in all my life. Like when I walk I feel like I might just faint. And even sitting down I feel so weird. I can't even explain it. I'm jittery and when I ate I felt a little nauseous. Any idea how long this might last? My right eye hurts too. 

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  • Posted

    chris83541...I dont understand 'why' the other Dr. you on Atenolol for anxiety. This isnt' what it's intended for. Atenolol is a beta blocker, used for helping to control high blood pressure, or to slow the heart when it beats too fast for whatever reason, i.e. nervousness, or simply because of the bp. Most Drs would prescribed something else, or suggest you do yoga, get together with friends, etc. Now when it comes to stopping the Atenolol like with most medications, you must wean off it. You've been on the Atenolol only 10 days so it should take you long to come off it if that's what you want. Why not consult a Pharmacist to determine the best wean method? You said you came off the Buspirone then started having strong palpitations. Again, I fail to understand why the Dr. turned round so quickly to prescribe Atenolol. Why not wait 'til the Buspirone cleared your system? You yourself stated "it made me loopy/dizzy like & I had palpitations so strong I ended up going to another doctor". Again, it's not wise to suddenly stop a medication. Some you can, others you cannot. By all means consult with a Pharmacist about withdrawing from the Atenolol. He/she just may say it's ok to stop, or to take 1 every other day for a week, then 1 every other other day, etc. 

    As for your right eye...it could just be a headache caused by all your anxiety. Please let us know how you get on with this.

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    • Posted

      Excellent answer to Chris 

      Ironically on base you wouldn't believe the amount of doctors that give out beta blockers for anxiety and PTSD with the troops it's ridiculous he tried to give it to my husband not long before I started to taper off this metoprolol. We were both in the appt and politely said NO WAY 

      Docs are going overboard with these beta blockers. 

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    • Posted

      Thank you for responding. So, he put me on the Atenolol for the palpitations that were being caused by the Buspirone and because when I went in, my bp reading was high. I'm thinking now it would've just made more sense to take me off the Buspirone right? I think I will consult a pharmacist like you suggest. He only gave me 10 pills so there was no way to actual wean myself off. I'm going to post again in a couple of days to let you all know what happens. 

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    • Posted

      Chris...Im certainly not a physician, but it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that just because you were having palpitations due to the Buspirone, that doesn't justify putting you on another med. 

      The cause was the Buspirone...you came off it. In other words, you not only "put the fire out, you stopped the cause". In my book, one reading doesn't justify a prescription for meds. Where the Pharmacist is concerned...I don't want to second-guess him/her but they could tell you not to worry about weaning, considering you've only been on the Atenolol for 10 days. What you could be experiencing at this point is 'withdrawal"..& if this is the case, you have to ride it out. Again, I'm not a medical professional, but all of this makes sense. By the way 25mg Atenolol really isn't a lot, but again..I don't see the justification in prescribing it to you.

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    • Posted

       Hi Mike I'm just reaching out to you I tried to post a message but it wouldn't go through I extended my taper off  Metoprolol so this week I'm only taking one fourth in the morning that's what I started with today and next week one every other day and then I'll be finished with the medication I have on hand it'll be a total of three months of a taper versus the six weeks I was originally going to do

      So tonight I notice my pulse rates up some my blood pressure was 150/85 my anxieties up and I don't know if that's because in my mind I know I'm on the slow Dells and I think I've had one too many horror stories on here about the after affects of coming off the Strug I certainly don't want to heart attack or a super spike in blood pressure I'm such a great trauma Nurse but when it comes to myself I'm a terrible patient it's like I lose all sense of everything it's really strange

      I have Xanex  on hand for anxiety and usually use half of the smallest dose to start with

      I'm also having some issues with my MS so I don't know how much of that is playing in the list but it's like I'm scared to death to be on such a tiny dose which I know was ridiculous but any thoughts on this we are so reassuring to everybody on here and you have such common sense that I thought I'd reach out to you and anyone else that reads this please feel free to chime in. Thanks 

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    • Posted

      Tee19...I would say from what you've written, that you're doing VERY well with the tapering. You're down to 1/4 pill per day now. Tha'ts  great!  I wouldn't be surprised to learn that it would be ok for you to not take 1/4 pill per day, but every-other-day.  I wouldn't go thinking of cutting 1/4 pill in half & weaning further. If you go every-other-day, then every two days, etc.etc. next thing you know, you'll be off the medication. You may have some strange feelings after getting off, but you're weaning the best way possible. A question though. How many mgs were you taking to begin with. If you were on 50mg/day you've done wonderfully well at weaning. I'm on 50mg Atenolol. My previous young cocky-know-it-all Dr. had me taking 25mg in the morning, then 25mg in the afternoon. The pharmacist said to me..."this is meant to be taken 1x daily". When I returned to my wonderful Dr. whom I've been with over 30yrs, I asked him about taking the pill just 1x daily. He said.."Yes, you can do that". By doing so, all my medications are taken in the morning, so there's no concern about missing any dose later in the day or before bed. 

      You noticed your bp was 150/85, with anxieties up.There's your answer....the anxiety. As a trauma nurse..you're a nurse regardless of the area of your profession, I"m sure you know that anxiety & nervousness drives up the numbers. I'd be willing to wager that if you weren't feeling anxious, those numbers would be down...likely way down. As a medical professional, I'm sure you are aware that Metropolol, Atenolol, or any other beta blocker slows the heart rate., & it's used by people just for a heart issue, but for bp control. 

      As I mentioned in a previous post, the Metropolol when I was taking it, gave me horrendous headaches...EVERY day. I was at the point where I was very nervous of my head exploding. Seriously, that's how bad the headache was. Finally, I came off the Metrpolol. When my then Dr. said 'I'm going to prescribe a beta-blocker"., I was on the alert wondering just what he was going to prescribed. I was very relieved when he said "Atenolol". So, I gave it a try...no headache at all. This is when I asked my trusted Pharmacist about it. She said..Metropolol crosses the blood-brain barrier, whereas Atenolol does not. Remember...medications ending with lol are beta blockers. Think of it as an internet laugh (Laugh out Loud). get it? lol lol

      By today, I hope you're feeling much better. If you like, you're most welcome to private message me.

      We're all here to help one another as best we can. 

      For those wondering about Amlodipine...weaning is not necessary, & I got that not only from 1 Pharmacist, but 3. 

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    • Posted

      Thanks Mike. You're always so helpful 

      I agree. I changed to every other day. Today is day one with nothing. 

      I was started on 25 mgs am and pm. Then she increased it to 50 mgs am and pm   Total of 100 mgs a day 

      Never took more than 100mgs a day 

      Trying to find some actual official documentation that this truck has a short life in your system I've read that somewhere but it doesn't appear that it does if people are having all these issues

      Thanks so much for always being there for everyone here 

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  • Posted

    Hi Chris,

    Don't think you mad at all. A lot of people on this forum are suffering just like you, me included, and all because of the drugs the doc's have prescribed for us. I feel like I've been poisoned with these betta blockers, Bisoprolol I've been taking since Feb this year. Was prescribed them for allergic reaction to a muscle rub, Volterol which sent me heart into rapid beats that wouldn't slow down. Ok the bbs have done the trick there but boy have l suffered with the nightmare side effects. Feel spaced out, vivid horrible nightmares very itchy skin (24/7) but think the worse one is the breathing problem. I wake up every day with a stuffy nose and that continues all the day until l sleep eventually at night. My lungs don't seem to work properly and that's the most scary bit to me. I've tried tapering off bit by bit but the heart rate then goes up again and l feel so anxious and scared with a feeling of utter doom. My mood is low and l don't want to do anything or go anywhere which l was never like before. So l know how frightened you are feeling and not knowing where to turn for help. People on here are great, they give you good advice and the support and understanding you can't get from your doctor or people who are not in similar situation.

    Good luck and take care.

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  • Posted

    Oh guys, I'm sorry, I forgot to mention as well,  he gave me an EKG the first time and said it was abnormal. The second time after being on the Atenolol for 9 days he said it was correct. 

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    • Posted

      Chris. Did he mention what was abnormal? 

      I can tell you docs are quick to throw meds at you. My hubby was injured in combat (Marines in Iraq) and they gave him so many meds it was crazy. We flushed mist of them and kept what we knew he truly needed and was safe. We saw a civilian doc and he agreed that he didn't need 3/4 of the meds they gave him. 

      With me my nightmare was the beta blocker Metoprolol 

      Please post when you can again people here truly care but always consult your physician or pharmacist for anything with the medications I'm so sorry that this happened to you it's sad to hear all the stories of people being sick going on with medications doctors are too quick but that prescription pad

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  • Posted

    OK, here's an update you guys. So, things had gotten better and then took a turn for the worse. I thought I was recovering but now my resting heart rate is dropping, and daily. When I lie down at night, I'm really dizzy, and when I woke up this morning and checked my pulse, it was at 54. I went back to the doctor today and he gave me 2 new medicines to take on a temporary basis. 1. Esomeprazole 40mg, for supposed acid reflux (????) which could be causing the chest pain, which I understand. 2. Meclizine 25mg for the dizziness. Now, please explain how any of this explains my heart rate dropping????? He's writing me a recommendation today so I can go see a cardiac specialist. I pray I get some real answers. 

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    • Posted

      Chris,

      You must be so scared of what's happening to you. The heart rate dropping like it is is not a nice feeling l guess. Can only go from my experience of heart rate bouncing along like crazy, opposite of yours , but either way both horrible.

      You definitely need something to raise your heart rate and the sooner the better.

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    • Posted

      The problem with Atenolol is that it stops adrenaline from getting to your heart so it doesn't have to work as hard. The side effect of that is a low heart rate--what's called bradycardia. The slowing of the hr is great when you have tachycardia...not so much when you have an average or slightly lower resting rate.

      I wouldn't be worried about a heart rate of 54, however. Those old guidelines about the heart rate being between 60-100 are outdated. Truly, a resting heart rate over 70 increases your chances for some sort of issue with your heart. Statistically speaking, females have a lower heart rate than men, but the problem is you may not know what your resting heart rate was before the Atenolol so it'd be difficult to compare.

      But if you hit between the 50s and 60s, you should be fine. And when you sleep, it's also okay to have your heart rate drop. If your heart rate is in the 50s and 60s, it wouldn't be unheard of to see it drop into the 40s. But if you're dizzy all the time at night, your heart rate might be dropping farther than that. You should get something that can record your heart rate. I use a finger clip pulse oximeter. Record your heart rate during the day and when you sleep. If you resting heart rate is below 50 or if your heart rate while you're sleeping is in the 30s, I would contact your doctor and schedule an appointment.

      BTW, a low heart rate won't kill you :D Not for the time frame you're talking about at least. But I feel your pain--Atenolol used to give me a heart rate somewhere in the 50s. And if I eat a lot of potassium, I can get it down to around 49-50 just sitting in a chair. It's a creepy feeling, but 50s is nothing to worry about.

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    • Posted

      Hi BC

      Where did you hear a resting heart rate over 70 isn't good and could possibly lead to issues later because as an RN in the ER I've never heard that word and taught that

      I'm dealing with a taper off the poison called Metoprolol and my my heart is anywhere from 60-80 depending  but they've never been concerned about my heart rate at all I was mistakingly put on this medication for what they thought was hypertension but really it's just white coat hypertension unfortunately a year later it made me sick is anything and I'm now tapering off of it I had to extend my taper beyond six weeks and have another week left to go and I'm praying I have no side effects from being off this poison this drug should be off the market 

      I'm done to 1/4 a day for a week. I'm worried when I get to where I take none from all the horror stories I've heard that hopefully it goes smoothly my six week taper turned into a three month taper but I felt it was better to be safe about it than rush it. I initially did six weeks can I just want to be rid of this monster drive but I realize you have to go slower coming off it

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    • Posted

      I've heard that from two cardiologists and I've read a few articles online. The whole range of 60 to 100 is one of those things that they came up with awhile ago, and has fallen under some scrutiny as to its validity. Now granted, I'm talking about resting heart rate. If your heart rate is around 90-100 when you're walking around the house or doing yard work, that's not a problem at all. But if you're asleep and your heart rate is 90-100, there's definitely an issue.

      And I think 70 bpm is the new cutoff they're looking at, but even that is quite mild. The articles I had read showed that if you're resting heart rate is continuously 70 and over, there could be some cardiac issues, but it's one of those things where if you're bpm is 72, realistically you're exposing yourself to like 2% more likely to worsen your cardiac issues. So I'd take that with a grain of salt. I only meant to outline that a lot of the info out there about heart rates is pretty old.

      And it's totally normal for your heart rate to jump when you start weaning off beta blockers. When I started taking Valsartan (generic for Diovan) along with my Atenolol, my heart rate was down to like the high 40s. As soon as I completely came off of Atenolol, my heart rate can get as low as 50s when I sleep, but during the day it's around 70-80. Your body becomes so dependent on that beta blocker that it takes awhile to get back to normal. When I came off Atenolol completely, I felt like I was having more palpitations because it felt like my heart was beating harder. But I did a holtor monitor and an EKG, and nothing out of the ordinary.

      I also have a bit of generalized anxiety disorder, so once I came off the Atenolol, I noticed that my heart rate can shoot up very quickly. That's an entirely different issue though, but the Atenolol masked it for years. You might want to check up on that if your white coat syndrome makes your blood pressure and heart rate jump that high--it means that your heart is not reacting well to stressful situations. And if you're constantly stressed, then that means your heart is constantly having to work harder than it should. Maybe just check your blood pressure and heart rate for a few weeks, three times a day. Get some data on what your heart is doing.

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    • Posted

      Thanks BC.  Appreciate the info. we can always learn from each other and something now I just can't wait to be rid of this poison in my system I was the worst thing I was ever put on in my life

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    • Posted

      And see, my cardiologist just hesitantly prescribed me some metoprolol because when I got sick, my heart rate was getting pretty high. But I had enjoyed Atenolol for years until all of this info came out about how it doesn't actually help you--it just makes you feel like you're being helped. I'm sorry that the beta blocker was messing you up for so long. I'm honestly surprised when I hear about doctors still prescribing beta blockers as a first line treatment. Seems a bit wasteful now.

      Hope you're feeling better.

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    • Posted

      Thanks BC. I'm upset with myself as well that I didn't do more research when I was placed on this but I was at the tail end of helping my husband through a long military medical board he was injured in combat so it was a very crazy time but I should've looked  into it better but I just blindly trust with my doctor because I always have and took it and honestly I've never been so sick in my life this on top of having a diagnosis of MS it was definitely not the medication for me I'm hoping I can get back when I've lost on this drug in the last year  

      It's been a terrible drug for me and if I ever hear of any doctor putting someone on this I'm going to protest until they pull their head out of their rear ends  and do their homework first before handing off this truck to anyone as a first-line hypertension drug I really never even had a hypertension diagnosis I've always ran a little high but over the years none of my doctors which I've had a team of have ever placed me on anything for high blood pressure I just need a few adjustments here and there and it will get better mostly my numbers go way up when I'm at the doctors office classic white coat hypertension. MS meds and Solumedrol which sometimes elevate my blood pressure but evidently get that treatment far and few between for MS 

      I'm on an elixir pain Med that may even be the cause of some elevation but I don't use it unless I'm in significant pain. People don't realize opiate based meds can mess with your BP both ways 

      Thanks for your kind words.  

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