Eliz Greene

Medications referred to as beta blockers are commonly prescribed to control blood pressure, heart failure, and some types of arrhythmias. While considered the most benign of the cardiac drugs, many people experience irritating and sometimes intolerable side effects.

Beta blockers block the flow of adrenaline and cause your heart to beat slower and with less force. The medication also relaxes the blood vessels and improves blood flow. Your doctor may prescribe a drug such as atenolol (Tenormin®), carvedilol (Coreg™), metoprolol (Toprol XL™, Lopressor®), or and sotolol (Betapace®) which are effective beta blockers.

Common side effects of beta blockers include:

Less common side effects include:

Tips for managing side effects:

  • Split your dosage: Discuss with your doctor taking your medication twice per day, rather than all at once. A smaller dose each time may result in fewer or less dramatic side effects.
  • Take it at night: Let your body experience the side effects while you sleep. Not surprisingly, many people find they sleep more soundly while taking beta blockers, a happy side effect!
  • Exercise: Many people find moderate physical activity counteracts side effects, brightens mood, and increases alertness. Try exercising in the morning to burn off the effects of the medication.
  • Discuss with your doctor: Call your doctor and make an appointment if you experience persistent lightheadedness or disorientation, fainting, or extreme fatigue. These symptoms may be signs you need to decrease your dosage or explore other options.

On the positive side, beta blockers can help reduce anxiety, they are often prescribed for those who fear public speaking, and may help prevent migraine headaches.

Taking your medications consistently and as prescribed is essential to your treatment. Do not stop taking your medication without consulting your doctor. Work with your doctor to find a treatment plan which balances side effects and medication benefits.

Eliz Greene is the author of The Busy Woman’s Guide to a Healthy Heart. Drawing on her experience surviving a massive heart attack while seven-months pregnant with twins, struggling to lose the 80 pounds gained during her pregnancy, and her background as an adaptive movement specialist, Eliz developed simple strategies and tips to help other busy women be more active, eat better and manage your stress.

As the Director of the Embrace Your Heart Wellness Initiative, Eliz travels the country energizing and inspiring audiences in keynotes and workshops on women’s heart health. She writes one of the top 100 health and wellness blogs. Find more at www.EmbraceYourHeart.com.


About Eliz Greene

Eliz Greene survived a heart attack at age 35 while seven months pregnant with twins. Her down-to-earth strategies to manage stress and improve heart health and reduce stress are used by thousands of busy people all over the world. She is a motivational wellness speaker, author, and job stress researcher. Visit elizgreene.com to book Eliz for your next event.

4 Responses to “Managing Beta Blocker Side Effects: The Patient’s Perspective”

  • I experience terrible dizziness and depression with my beta blockers. I have been on several types. Do I keep searching for alternatives or is there a way to manage symptoms? I am a very anxious person so feelings of dizziness and fatigue make me get panic attacks. Right now the safest place for me is lying in bed :( any help or advice will be appreciated.

  • I have exactly the same problem really dizzy on beta blockers cardio select doc says will settle after week or two. Symptoms before though were palpitations light headed etc so need to be on them till get cardio referral . Can’t find anything on health unlocked forum but need to get back to part time work

    • Hang in there Moira! I’m not a health care provider, so I can’t advise you on your medication. I do encourage you to keep track of when you feel dizzy compared to when you take your medication. For me, choosing when to take medication can make the side effects easier to manage. For example, I take a medication that makes me drowsy — at night! Be patient, side effects do tend to moderate as your body gets used to medications. Be kind to yourself too. I hope you are more comfortable soon and your doctors find a long-term solution to your palpitations.

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