worsening symptoms since starting medication

Posted , 5 users are following.

Hi all. I started out at 184/100, and was put on 40mg Lisinopril in January. Almost immediately I started to suffer with vertigo and dizzy spells where my hearing would cut out, cold sweats and fatigue. I knew that the first two weeks there would be some expected side effects, so I waited to see if they would pass. About a month later, I went back to my doctor, with a BP reading of 122/78, and she swapped me to Losartan Potassium 25mg. The same side effects continued, and after another month or so I went back (BP 126/90) and was swapped to Amlodipine Besylate 5mg. I've been on that since March, as there aren't any other medications my doctor can switch me to without going to beta blockers. But my symptoms have worsened.

It’s like spacing out but worse? But also not like dissociating. For 10 or 15 seconds, I’m not “there” but I have the after image of whatever I was looking at before. Sometimes my eyes cross and I can’t un-cross them, or sometimes they close and I can’t keep them open, what normally brings me “back” is that I’ll sway too much to one side, or my head will jerk down. It used to be that parts of my body would jerk but not so much now. I wouldn’t say I’m confused? I know who/what/where I am but I don’t know what I was doing/am doing/should do next. It doesn't feel like falling asleep, it feels like my brain lagged out, or I’m behind a loading screen in a video game. I've been tracking them and can't find any triggers.

I've had an MRI and EEG, and I'm waiting for the follow-up appointment in September to go over those results. I've also got a consultation with a cardiologist in October. I got a CPAP machine a few months ago with a diagnose of sleep apnea, but with the meds and stress from my symptoms it's hard to say if that's helped my BP any. We're trying to be thorough and check all the bases, but I can't shake the feeling that it's related to the medication, because it only started with them. I wanted to know if anyone else has experienced this and what results you had?

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5 Replies

  • Posted

    Dean, that sounds like both good news and bad news.

    The good news is that you got your BP numbers down to normal.

    The bad news is of course these side-effects - which are somewhat unusual, to be that widespread and severe across several meds.

    The ACE/ARB are usually the best tolerated, but at least 5mg amlodipine is a small dose.

    How about trying smaller doses?

    Skip a day between amlodipine doses, see if (a) your BP stays down, (b) your side-effects are reduced.

    Frankly I think you should have tried that with the ACE/ARB drugs first, and you might ask if you can switch back to them and try the reduced dose.

    When you've had high BP for a while and you get it back down to normal, that alone can be kind of a shock to the system, but if it's been months and months now, you might find the ACE/ARB drugs are better tolerated now, especially in smaller doses.

    Good luck.

    • Posted

      Thanks for the reply! It is definitely weird, which is why I'm getting all the different tests, but the long wait until my followup and the daily symptoms have me kinda scared. I was initially on 10mg Amlodopine and I'm now down to the 5mg only recently. The brain lags only started with amlodopine, so I might try going back to a much lower dose of lisinopril.

    • Posted

      Amlodipine has a long half-life so if you cut the dose even a week ago it's not yet down to the new level. If that's the case you could skip it for a day to help get it down. I was only briefly on the full 10mg amlodipine and in retrospect, I may have had the same kind of "brain lag" from it you describe. I dropped it entirely about two years ago now, use olmesartan (ARB), atenolol (beta blocker), and hctz (diuretic).

      Hey, I was going to mention, you might try half a dose of the ARB and if your BP isn't low enough, add a low does of hctz or other diuretic, the combination is often much better than either individually.

  • Posted

    hi. I had a lot of similar symptoms once upon a time with an auto immune disorder.I am now in remission from that. At the same time as flaring my blood pressure would go high and difficult to control. I also found that during flares I become highly sensitive to meds and can react really badly to certain medications including blood pressure meds.

    You say that your symptoms only began with the use of medication? Were you at all unwell before?

    I am personally on Losartan and Indapamide for blood pressure control and they work without issue for me.

    I still have vertigo even though I am now in remission. from the ai disorder. It was one of my first symptoms of and has never really gone. However it is helped with hydroxychloroquine which is an anti inflammatory. The ai disorder affected my central nervous system .

    I recognise the zoning out and odd sensations and symptoms of being confused. I was diagnosed as having a sort of mild seizure. I have to stress that my brain mri's were always fine. I don't have a neurological disease and nothing has ever shown up on any scans of my brain. It took me a long time to get those symptoms under control.

    I found at the height of my illness that I would react really badly to for example amytriptilene which was prescribed for migraine. It made my symptoms worse.All of the blood pressure meds you mentioned, I couldn't take. They made me ill. Except Losartan.

    In your blood test results have you ever had readings of esr crp or ana?

  • Posted

    I was told that I'm not truly hypertensive and just have peaks so that medications give me more than usual side effects and take my BP down to much particularly during exercise.

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