Q. A few months ago, I finally yielded to my doctor’s pressure and went on a blood pressure medication, against my better judgment. I am a 63-year-old female. The medication is metoprolol succinate.

If you could tell me some of its side effects, I would be grateful. I am not feeling well and I am guessing this new med is the culprit.

A. Metoprolol, like other beta blocker blood pressure medicines, may cause fatigue, dizziness or diarrhea. Some people develop an itchy rash while taking the medicine, while others may find themselves short of breath. It slows heart rate, sometimes by quite a lot.

Many cardiologists are reassessing beta blockers, though. Such drugs are rarely considered first line treatments for hypertension these days (Lancet, Oct. 29, 2005). Blood pressure control is very important, so don’t stop your medication on your own. (It is dangerous to stop a beta blocker drug suddenly.) Discuss your symptoms with your doctor and ask about other possible treatments.

Perhaps this reader’s experience will help you: “I was told I need to be on blood pressure meds. I don't like to take pills so I tried breathing exercises and going to the gym. I didn't have high blood pressure at my last visit.”

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  1. Roz
    Reply

    I currently am on Amlodipine, smallest dose. Been on it for a good 2 years. I’m very active. I try to not let things get to me.
    My ankles swell in the evening and when traveling. I think my legs look a little swollen too. I am going to try and lose 30 pounds and get off this. I’m 62.

  2. Deb
    Reply

    I am 63 yrs old and have had hypertension/high blood pressure for several years. High cholesterol too. I was urged by my Dr to take Lisinopril but I refused. I increased my physical activity, watched what I ate and lost 10 lbs. Unfortunately, that didn’t last very long and at my last appointment my BP was 160/104 and I agreed to take Lisinopril 5mg. I know about the “cough” and I am very reluctant about taking it. That was a few weeks ago and I haven’t started yet. I worked in a Family Practice Dr’s office for many yrs and saw the debilitating side effects of medications. They help one way and hurt you in another. I am starting a running program tonite. Just checked my BP and it was 170/99. Not good. Hope the running helps.

  3. DK
    Reply

    Hi. I am a Linedance instructor. Fit, eat well, know the danger foods and have had tests for heart including cardiogram etc and all is well. Never smoked, I don’t eat red meat. I eat, whole oaties for breakfast, walnuts, eggs, seeded bread fruit veges, lean chicken and fish, seldom biscuits or cake… bran cereal and fruit is my dessert if I have one. 3x I have gone to hospital in the past 12 months and 3 x I had not had a heart attack. The doctor wanted to put me on Cilazapril 500mcg (MYL) last June but I didn’t take them. He knew I didn’t and was ok with that.
    I have been fine for a year.. Had recent blood tests cholesterol is up. Doc wants to give me pills to lower it. I believe, high cholesterol is a symptom not a disease. Interestingly enough they asked me in the emergency ward, when I had a mammagram last. I have one every 2 years…
    What do others think. Take what has been given, don’t stop without seeing your doctor. I have chosen not to take anything for H Choles. until I find the cause. Another point. almost every night in our newspaper, the elderly are dying, 99 100 89 and 90 years of age. They never knew if they had high cholesterol I am sure. Any other views or experiences welcome Thanks

  4. BAM
    Reply

    Have been on Amlodipine for 10 years with very little or no side effects. Ask your doctor about it. Good luck.Best BAM

  5. RoRo
    Reply

    I was taking Amlodipine and my back pain was so severe I had to stop taking it; I could not get out of bed. I have found that other BP meds have just as annoying or painful side effects unfortunately. I am off meds currently and my BP runs between 145 to 155/90 most of the time. Sometimes, the “cure” is worse than the illness !!!!

  6. veronica
    Reply

    I was taking prophalonol w/ hzlt Diuretic and and about 6 month ago this medicine it was not working any more so my Dr. added norsvac another BP medicine which made me feel worse I ended last Monday at the ER with a horrible headache, chest pain my muscles especially my neck was so painful. My blood Pressure was not to high…… :( Now my Dr. gave Atelonol 50mg 1 at day, my bp is so low and feel lethargic… so tired, my head feels heavy…. in other words don’t feel good, so I’m going to see again my Dr. I don’t know if he gave me too much miligrams …
    Someone have had this experiences with these medications????

  7. Joyce
    Reply

    My cardiologist has prescribed Lisinopril, topril and a diuretic for my HBP. I am so tired, after taking this junk for 2 years of having diarrhea every day. I always had normal bowel movements, felt good and now have this side effects. I feel like just throwing it all in the toilet.

  8. Melissa
    Reply

    I was on Lisinopril for 2 months, before side effects started showing up, low potassium, brain fog, tiredness, memory loss. The doctor has now switched me to Bystolic and the side effects are worse. I have major anxiety, irritability, and debilitating tiredness, feel like I can’t even move most of the time. My blood pressure was only high at one reading, when the doctor put me on the meds, bp 148/90.

  9. Amber
    Reply

    How are you now? Metroprolil made me so lethargic and depressed that life didn’t seem worth living. Something wrong with that. Off it now, but on amlodipine and Losartan and diuretic.

  10. kathy
    Reply

    I went on losartan 100mg. Dr said it has the lowest to no side effects, I have no issues with it =)

  11. KATHY
    Reply

    thanks for your response…. and Congrats to you, that’s awesome you achieved great sugar levels and blood pressure lowered =) I went on losartan, so far no side effects at all, I am dieting and slowly gettin into walking so I am a work in progress =) I try to not eat as many carbs, def helps =) god bless Gale

  12. K.L.
    Reply

    Yes, yes, yes…had a mild stroke in Jan.of 2010…was put on 100 mg. of Metopralol succ. daily in addition to 10 mg. Of Lisinopril. Have multiple side affects including 12 lbs. that I can’t shake for the life of me. My Dr. said it’s not the meds however, I’ve been eating much less and certainly not sitting around. Have also had dizziness while on these medications. Got to be other meds. available.

  13. Gale
    Reply

    Like you, the side effects of the blood pressure medications I have taken have been horrible. I am a 67 year old woman. A year ago I stopped taken the blood pressure medications because of the awful side effects. I changed my diet during this period (I am diabetic) and my blood pressure has gone from 162/90 to 137/79 without medication. I made no attempt to lose weight during this period. I am now on a NO SUGAR – LOW CARB weight reduction diet. I have 75 pounds to lose. My blood sugar is already in the “normal” zone for the first time in 15 years and my blood pressure is going down too.
    I will make every attempt to control blood sugar and blood pressure on my own.
    If that does not work I will just have to accept having high blood pressure. I WILL NEVER WILLINGLY TAKE ANY OF THIS CRAP EVER AGAIN.

  14. dick
    Reply

    Has anyone experienced intense itching on the scalp and around the shoulders and neck area from taking coreg? I have been on coreg for several years before the itching started. My dermatologist and allergist believe coreg could be the cause. A biopsy also suggests a medication allergic reaction. I stopped every med except coreg and doc has now stopped the coreg. He put me on benicar 40mg. It’s only been one day since the change. Hopefully the itching will stop. Any comments or advice are welcome.

  15. KATHY
    Reply

    I used to take 10mg lisinopril for past 2yrs, had some mild side effects, fatigue and retaining water, dizziness, sun sensitivity, I used to brand from walmart, when I changed to free prescription at publix food store pharmacy, their pharmaceutical brand was different, and I had a bad reaction to it, super tired, very dizzy/ vertigo, weak, head fog.
    So I tried the natural route, and stopped taking it for over a month and a week now, took coq10, b6, magnesium, l arginine, fish oil, n multi vit, at first I felt fine, had more energy, could last at the beach in the sun, after a month, my bp started to go up, and wound up with vertigo, bp was 153/101, so got put on 5mg amlodipine and antivert for my vertigo. Started it saturday, today it has been high, ranges 149/98 to 147/101 138/94 I’m not sure if it is working or is the dose too low? I still feel tired, dizzy, and my nerves r probably keeping it up high. I have an appointment with a follow up dr on thurs morning but I’m curious if I should go back to what I used to be on and just deal with side effects, or try this new stuff.

  16. aussiechi
    Reply

    I too have experienced adverse effects from blood pressure medications over a number of years, I recently solved the problem over a period of eight months with the help of a doctor who listened to me. I went on a lifestyle change and reduced my weight by 13 kilos… I bought my own blood pressure monitor, the doctor gave me daily running sheets to keep track of the readings, which I religiously maintained.
    I am feeling very much better and my blood pressure is now at a normal range for me. At times in the past I had readings of 206/111 it is now in the order of 131/80… I have experienced awful lasting adverse effects of crestor and micardis and lasix and mobic… I resolved to never again take medications for any symptoms which I can control myself… I have severe arthritis in hips and spine I take panadol osteo when the pain is really bad. I am considering very carefully a hip replacement, I have had both knees replaced, and I am older now and hoping that with weight reduction I might not have to resort to such extremes, I can only tell you what my experience was I realize that one size does not fit all but taking control of my own health instead of taking one medication to counteract the bad effects of another was achieving nothing but pain and suffering for me… I am grateful that I found a doctor who helped me.

  17. Anonymous
    Reply

    I have had high blood pressure for about 18 years. I have been given probably more than 25, most of them over the past 8 years. I have had horrible side effects that has sent me to the emergency room and had me hospitalized more times than I can tell. Just last night, I broke out in hives and my whole body was on fire. Once again, the medicine has to be changed.
    The only thing I am taking is two diuretics once a day is not enough to keep my pressure down. I also go to a nephrologist, who treats hypertension, and he is baffled. I have had low heart beat, confusion mentally, coughing, itching, rashes, insomnia, and anxiety because of all these problems. I am frustrated, and I feel lost. I don’t know if anyone can help me. Almost every medication mentioned on this website is a medication I have had to stop.

  18. slm
    Reply

    I am 46 and have high blood pressure I was put on benicare and really I had no problems it was 20 mg and I cut it into fours so it was a low dose it worked good for me but then we lost our insurance and I had to go to something cheaper so I was put on lisinopril and I got the worst cough.
    I could not stand it I thought I had tb or something it was that bad so I stopped taking my medicine I feel better now that the cough is gone but my blood pressure is starting to get high again so any suggestions??? Help!!

  19. JL
    Reply

    I was on 50 mg’s of Co-Tenidone for many years and it didn’t have any side effects as far as I could tell. It also helped my headaches and seemed to keep me calm.
    My Doctor said that it was not a good drug to be on long term and took me off them, since then he has been trying lots of different pills on me and just like you a lot of them made me feel ill.
    Eventually he put me on Bisoprolol and Bendroflumethiazide (a beta blocker with a small diuretic) and so far my BP has been good with no side effects. It took around six months to find a combination that suited me – so keep trying!

  20. KP
    Reply

    I am 58 years old. I was diagnosed with high blood pressure in the fall of 2011. I have been on so many different meds, and each has had side effects. The doctor claims that I’m allergic to the meds, so the meds have changed several times per month. I always feel like my face is swelling up, and my head throbs. I am now on a Clondine patch. Still no relief. There has got to be a solution as I’m tired of feeling this way. Any suggestions?

  21. A. Block
    Reply

    Sounds like we are all in the same nightmare, and I don’t think dr’s have any answers.

  22. JJS
    Reply

    Was on metoprolol succinate with no problems but switched to metoprolol tartrate. Soon thereafter edema of the feet and ankles started and now lymphodema of one leg. What gives?

  23. CK
    Reply

    Lisenopril—awful cough. Was switched to Losartan 25 mg day and then cut that in half. Terrible cough and very difficult breathing. Assess if meds= off of BP meds for a week. Side effects are clearing up. Any BP meds that do not have the cough side effect?

  24. NLT
    Reply

    I am not taking anything right now for my blood pressure because I can’t afford it. I have given the doctor a list from my insurance company of meds that are covered with a reasonable copay. Here’s my problems, I am already 100lbs over weight, I get a terrible cough with most medicines and can’t deal with the tired side effects. What is a good medicine for me? I have just went back to work and my legs are swelling so bad that they feel like they are going to split open, I did go buy the pressure socks which have helped. My mother has been on BP meds her whole life and I need them as mine gets as high as 202/147!! I am trying to lose weight but don’t wish to die in the meantime. Any suggestions?
    PEOPLE’S PHARMACY RESPONSE: A THIAZIDE DIURETIC IS AN OLD-FASHIONED INEXPENSIVE GENERIC DRUG THAT CAN HELP BLOOD PRESSURE AND REDUCE FLUID RETENTION. ASK YOUR DOCTOR IF THAT WOULD BE AN OPTION FOR YOU.

  25. wfc
    Reply

    I have always had High Blood Pressure the last 2 weeks it is real low. I take lisinop/hctz 20-12.5 tab daily and nadolol 40 mg tab daily. A week ago the doctor told me to cut in half still low. What is the problem?

  26. Jay48
    Reply

    I know of 3 people including myself who experienced continual cough problems when taking Ramipril. You just must tell your doctor, and ask him to change your medication.
    Another awful drug for BP is Amias. My partner and myself were prescribed this pill and we were up all night with terrible muscle pains. They disappeared as soon as we stopped taking them.
    I have tried umpteen tablets now and the only one that works for me is Co Tenidone 50 mg. I get no side effects and my BP is good.
    PEOPLE’S PHARMACY RESPONSE: RAMIPRIL IS AN ACE INHIBITOR, LIKE LISINOPRIL, AND CAN CAUSE COUGH. AMIAS IS CANDESARTAN, SOLD IN THE US AS ATACAND. CO-TENIDONE IS A COMBINATION OF ATENOLOL AND CHLORTHALIDONE, USED IN THE UK NOT IN THE US.

  27. Dot
    Reply

    I was on lisinopril for a few months and developed the cough from hell. The doctor took me off of it 3 weeks ago and put me on losartan. I am still coughing and miserable. I never know what the cough will start, I have had to leave my fitness center, the super market and I wouldn’t think about going to the movies. I see no end to this and now feeling very depressed. What to do.
    PEOPLE’S PHARMACY RESPONSE: GET BACK IN TOUCH WITH YOUR DOCTOR. ALTHOUGH LOSARTAN IS LESS LIKELY TO CAUSE COUGH THAN LISINOPRIL, SOME PEOPLE STILL REACT WITH COUGH. YOU MAY NEED A DIFFERENT TYPE OF BLOOD PRESSURE MEDICINE.

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