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Danger of Stopping Atenolol Suddenly

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Q. I am a 49-year-old teacher and mother. I was put on atenolol 10 weeks ago for high blood pressure. I have never been so ill in my life!

After taking the atenolol I began to feel breathless, exhausted, dizzy and weak. I fainted twice and was rushed to hospital by ambulance. It turns out that this tablet had slowed down my heart so much that it stopped! The bad thing is that the hospital stopped the atenolol immediately and put me on a blood-thinning drug.

Little did I know that you should be weaned off atenolol gradually. There were times when I thought I was going to die! Others need to know they must NOT STOP taking it without medical supervision!

A. You are right that beta blocker heart and blood pressure medications such as atenolol, carvedilol, metoprolol and propranolol should never be stopped suddenly. Abrupt discontinuation has led to chest pain, irregular heart rhythms or even heart attacks.

We are surprised that your doctor prescribed atenolol as a first-line treatment for hypertension. Many experts advise that such drugs only be used if other approaches are inadequate.

Our book Best Choices From The People's Pharmacy discusses this problem in detail and offers a range of other meds and nondrug options. It is available in libraries, bookstores and online (

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I was sorting some items and came across an article that I had saved from the News and Observer on "blood pressure medicine triggers terrible cough".

I saved it because I do have some cough and sometimes gagging from Lisinopril. I have also been put on Metoprolol, later replaced by Bystolic, which cost a lot more. I also take Furosemide(lasix), Hydrochlorot and a potassium tablet.

I get extremely sleepy and sluggish, therefore I sit in my recliner more and have gained 25 lbs. in the last year.( not good for my blood pressure)

My worst problem grew worse lately, swelling legs. Fluid is collecting, legs itch horribly. Doctors seem to be at a loss as to what is wrong. I want to get off all this medicine but don't know how without a threat of stroke or heart attack. Help.

I have been put on 3 medications for blood pressure-never having had B/P issues before. After starting Tekturna 300, I started coughing half of the night and have had severe diarrhea. With the addition of Bystolic, my Asthma has become a real problem and I can hardy breathe and I wheeze frequently. Prior to this, my Asthma was well controlled. The diuretic, Furosemide, seems to cause my large joints to burn...

This is NOT fun...

Has anyone else experienced this?
Cathie L.

Keep Me posted on this drug. My mother has been on it for a long time and has similar symptoms.

I was on this medication as a secondary meds and within 10 days my legs and lungs filled with water and I felt sick all the time.

I read comments by the teacher regarding atenolol and her extreme reaction to it. My heart doctor put me on Bystolic (nebivolol tablets) in March. He gave me samples and it worked well but when I went to order it from Prescription Solutions under my medicare part D insurance I found a 3 month supply was $120.00. Since I am on social security only, I could not afford that therefore I asked my doctor to give me something else that was not so expensive.

He first chose another medication that was even more under my insurance. He then chose Atenolol 25 mg tablets. I began taking it on 4/19/11 and so far I have no side effects. The big problem with medications is the cost if you do not take a generic even though newer medications are actually better for you.

At this point, there is no generic for Bystolic (which also worked well for me). I do not know the dosage the teacher was taking so it is hard to determine whether this contributed to her reaction to the drug or not. I understand the 25 mg I am taking is a minimal dosage - more of a slight maintenance amount. My blood pressure went from a lifetime reading of 120/80 to 140/90 and I am 70 years old so my doctor wanted me to take medicine and now my pressure is back to normal. I see him every 3/4 months to monitor my progress.

Your column is wonderful and I use many of your suggestions. Thank you so much.

Point well taken BUT what is the rest of the story? Had there been no doctor follow up after start of the prescription? Did the hospital not use proper procedure when stopping the medication? This seems to be a case of a patient who did not take the time to research the medicine that was prescribed in the first place.

It is very helpful when people share about their unwanted experiences with certain drugs. It alerts me to all sorts of possible problems, which should never be ignored. The interactions of several prescribed drugs are difficult to predict.

I, too, had some coughing with Lisinapril, and was surprised when I read the description, supplied by the pharmacy with my prescription, that it was not uncommon. My coughing, however, is very limited.

As a practicing Emergency Physician, I must reply to your article on Atenolol. While in general stopping a medicine abruptly may be unwise, your statement that atenolol should NEVER be stopped abruptly is flat wrong.

I have treated numerous patients on beta blockers over the years that present in complete heart block due to the effects of the medicine (either from taking too much, taking in combination with a Calcium Channel Blocker, or from a change in their metabolism which leads to increased levels of the drug). These pts often require a temporary pacemaker and complete, abrupt cessation of the drug.

If the patient in your article truly suffered an asystolic arrest (my heart stopped), you better believe we will stop the medicine on the spot. To not do so would be malpractice. To suggest a physician do otherwise suggests some degree of ignorance about real world clinical medicine. Many things sound great in a text book, but aren't realistic in actual live patient care.

While you provide some useful information, frequently you wrongly criticize a writer's physician for something they may or may not have done. Often based only on limited information as conveyed from the patient (which is often distorted or leaves out clinically relevant information). Please think before criticizing someone when you don't have all the information, and keep providing helpful tips and remedies.


Dear Dr. Kevin,

Thank you so much for setting the record straight. You are of course quite right that if a patient is in heart in the heart is not beating, then the beta blocker needs to be discontinued and heroic measures taken.

The person made it very clear that she was referring to never stopping a beta blocker like atenolol "without medical supervision!" That is what we were trying to reinforce.

Many people experience side effects on beta blockers and might be tempted to stop taking them on their own. That is why we emphasized the FDA's warning that abrupt discontinuation can be dangerous.

Of course this case points up the problem with drugs like atenolol. When they are used as first-line treatments for hypertension there can be problems. You noted that some people are very susceptible to serious complications. We have to wonder why this person was prescribed atenolol in the first place, but we don't have all the details.

Yipes. I have been on atenolol (75 mg.) and felodipine (10) for some years now, with furosemide for some years now and so far I haven't experienced these terrible side effects. I hope I never do!

Thirteen years ago I went into ventricular tachycardia (spelling?) after months of extreme stress. My doctor performed an ablation (unsuccessfully) and six weeks later had to repeat it. The procedure was successful but upon exiting, the instrument slipped and punctured the sac around my heart.

My doctor was able to save my life, thank God. To help my heart heal, he put me on atenolol/25mg daily. After 4 weeks he said I could stop the med but psychologically, I was terrified of coming off it for fear of the rapid heart beats again. Since the dosage was so small, he said it would probably be more helpful for me to continue than it would be to stop taking it.

I go for regular checkups and all has been well for 13 years. Although I am extremely sensitive to most meds, I have never had any problems with atenolol. Six months ago, my husband was put on it at 100mg. He became lethargic, weak, non-responsive; we lowered the dose ourselves to 50mg.

He improved somewhat but not completely, so he started taking it before going to bed rather than in the a.m. He is fine, I am glad to say. When we told the cardiologist what we had done, he said that was great, just don't stop it all at once. Our doctor feels you know your own body better than anyone else. We need to pay attention to what our bodies are saying and make sure you convey the info to your doctor.

In April of 2006, a cardiologist put me on 200mg. Atenolol daily. I was given this for AFib. I had been on Atenolol for many years with no problems.

The major increase in dosage caused me to be so weak and tired, and I was in the emergency room 18 times between the end of April & the 3rd week of May.
At that time my heart had started to stop and restart on its own.

My new Cardiologist informed me that I needed a Pacemaker which I rec'd. in 3 days after my heart stopped in the hospital. The surgery couldn't be done sooner as all of the OR's were booked solid. Needless to say my new doctor had a crash cart put in my room and He put a private Nurse on me 24/7.

I also ended up having to have an Ablation for the AFib as none of the meds would work on me. Now I never know when I am in AFib unless its real bad and then I become very sick to my stomach, weak sweating badly.

The only reason I have written this is it may help someone else who didn't
have a good doctor. My new cardiologist told me that in today's medicine we
need to know how to stand on our own two feet and put our foot down when we don't find something acceptable. In other words don't be afraid to fight if need be.

I am really surprised to hear all of the negative things about atenolol. I was diagnosed with high blood pressure when I was 36 years old, mine is hereditary. The doctor immediately put me on 50mg of atenolol daily. I have now been taking it for 16 years, with annual check ups, and no problems whatsoever. My blood pressure runs about 117/78 to 80. I think the only side effect I had was my hair got thinner, but I was lucky and had a lot to start with, so that was not necessarily a bad thing. Along with helping my blood pressure, I also quit having migraine headaches when I was put on atenolol. I think if you get the dosage right it can be a great medication.

my husband had a irregular heart beat and they put him on this medication he said the medication made him feel weird and sick he stopped taking this medication without drs. consent. He says he feels a lot better since he stopped taking it. I am afraid that something could happen to him does anyone else have an irregular heart beat and have also stopped taken this medication? if so what are some of the risks for not taking the medicine?

People's Pharmacy response:
Please have your husband get in touch with his doctor, explain that he couldn't tolerate the medicine, and ask about controlling the irregular heart rhythm with a different drug or treatment. Just stopping is not safe.

I have Vasovagal Syncope and I am taking atenolol 50 mg. twice a day. I am 5'8" and weigh about 115. This medicine makes me extremely drowsy and I can hardly stay awake during the day. I think it's because of my small size. I've been on atenolol for several months now and I haven't noticed the medicine helping me at all. I decided I'd stop taking the medicine because I'm sick of being too tired to enjoy being awake! However, I'm nervous that stopping the medicine will make me sick. I don't want to talk to my doctor because I'm afraid he'll up my dosage.. any advice?

I was on atenolol 50 for 4 years I was so sick I didn't want to live any longer and I told my Dr so he took me off of it and I used a small amount for about a week now I feel great after I had back surgery my pulse was beating fast again so now I'm on metoprolol 25mg it seems to be working ok. At first I was tired a lot but now my energy has come back I'm 65 and doing great. grace

My question is can you ABRUPTLY stop atenalol if you switch to a different beta blocker.

I have high bp and my doctor tried various drugs each causing side effects that were nasty. Meteporolol gave me hot flashes in the face, Bystolic caused trouble sleeping, Norvasc, Diovan, Exforge all caused anxiety with hot and cold body parts. Another common one caused a tickle in the throat leading to constant coughing.

We finally settled on Amlodipine Besylate, hydroclorothaizide, atenolol with occasional clonidine (if I feel a BP spike). When I started getting anxiety problems on entering and leaving the sleep state (I would shake, sort like a vibration) I was prescribed klonopin and Remeron. That kept me stable for a year.

My main remaining complaint was PVCs which I can feel and sometimes hear (pulse is heard in left ear - annoying) which sounds like a skipped beat.

They did Holter test, nuke stress test, echo tests, etc. all showed nothing serious. (50 pvcs and 15 pacs in 24hrs - but that was a "good" day so the holter test never revealed my occasional pvc clusters). Then the pvc's started getting worse. It's the clusters, 2 or 3 in a few seconds, sometimes followed by rapid heartbeat for a few minutes.

My cardiologist then said maybe an older beta blocker might work. So, I switched (abruptly) to acebutolol. I was on this for 5 days and it increased my sitting heart rate from 50 to nearly 60 and it did seem there were fewer pvcs. My BP was up slightly too.

Unfortunately, all the sleep (going to and waking up) anxiety started to return. After 5 days I went back to Atenolol and the anxiety slowed, but the pvcs were frequent.

What I don't know is this: Were my anxiety attacks the result of stopping atenolol, or were they caused by the new beta blocker acebutolol? Should I have tapered off the one as I ramped up the other - i.e. have a time where I took a little of both?

I am a 41yr old woman who had a hysterectomy 5 yrs ago. Last November I started having "Cardiac" symptoms along with a fever. Those symptoms included racing heart rate, pounding heart, feeling tired easily and often feeling anxious (with no triggers for anxiety). My blood pressure did go up to a whopping 120/84 when this was happening (regular BP was 117/78).

My doctor put me through the litany of tests starting with chest xray to determine if I had swelling around the heart. I didn't so then it was the Stress EKG, blood work, Holter monitor etc. In every test I was told my heart was in excellent condition. The stress test they actually commented that I had no previous issues and performed better than many (surprise to me). When it came to the 96 hrs of the Holter Monitor they found a couple of instances where I had an isolated PVC and a few times where my heart rate increased significantly.

Since there where no real cardiac issues found the Dr. blanket diagnosed my issue as anxiety and prescribed me to 5mg of Bistolic which reduced my symptoms. Like others on here the insurance didn't pay for it so a three month supply was too costly and they changed me to 50mg of Atenolol. I have now been on it for about 5 months. In the first month and half I gained well over 15 lbs. It took several weeks for the medication to rid me of the symptoms. My BP is now down to 108/70 regularly.

I have been reading up on menopause and am actually beginning to feel that my symptoms are due to that and not due to an anxiety problem. Based on my history of BP readings it definitely isn't due to that. I am thinking about reducing my dosage to 25mg / day for several weeks then dropping it further to every other day for a few more before quitting. I won't be going back to the same Dr. again for treatment and haven't found a new Dr. to assist me with this. Is this too fast to ween me off or pretty reasonable?

Hello, I have been reading all the great comments.... On December 21, 2011 I went into the hospital ER feeling chest pains, Tachycardia, Dizziness, numbness and very short of breath. I have been in out of A-fib many times since then. I have been cardiac-converted 6 times and put on Atenolol, Amiodrone, and Meteporolol. I feel very weak and still get a racing heart HR of 145-160... I have been admitted 8 times in the last 4 months... I am very frustrated... I have not been able to return to work for almost 4 months now and have lost my job over all of this.

My problem is all my tests, including an Angiogram have came back clean the Doctors tell me that my "Plumbing Of the heart is good" they have told me that I am not a risk for a heart attack... But they also say that the Electrical part of my heart has gone haywire on me but they feel they can control it with meds. MY QUESTION IS WHY WHAT ELSE CAN THEY DO TO FIX IT IT IF THE MEDS ARE NOT WORKING??

Anyone here ever stopped taking atenolol abruptly? I am on this medication and it has made me constantly sick - I just wanna drop it completely.

My atenolol was discontinued yesterday after 20 years. My renal hypertension was diagnosed at the University of Pennsylvania Hosp following a kidney infarct.
I have found the several articles I have read online today to be very reassuring since today I have been experiencing fluctuations in my BP and HR. I was of the belief I did not need the medication for some time. I was on 2 medications for hypertension and my physician discontinued one about 5 years ago and I have been doing fine; in regards to my BP.

My circumstances leading to the diag of renal hypertension are unique BUT the side effects I experienced taking atenolol and the response to discontinuing atenolol are more common than I ever realized; dizziness, cold hands and feet,etc. Two days ago my BP dropped dangerously low and while I don't believe I actually fainted, I am fortunate I was sitting at my kitchen table on my laptop. I experienced a surreal feeling of loosing touch with my surroundings. I was as scared as I have ever been in 69 years including the spontaneous dissection of a blood vessel to my kidney 20 years ago which took 5 days in the hospital to discover.

I used the automatic BP cuff and couldn't believe how low it registered; 50/20.
I am writing this to thank those (professional and others) who have addressed the issues related to atenolol they have either experienced or observed/studied in their lives. I feel optimistic and relieved I am finally not taking atenolol.

I had a heart attack 2 months ago. Although my arteries look good my body threw a clot. I had a stent put in my heart. I've experienced a-fib just about 1 to 2 times every two weeks. I was on lisinopril first (an ace inhibitor) because of bradycardia. I have always had low bp and hr. Well as it stands I had horrible side effects and was back in the hospital 9 days after my heart attack. My cardiologist put me on bystolic that was good for 3 days then I was having a-fibs again. Now I am on atenolol. I am only on it for 3 days but I am depressed, a little confused, my hands are swollen and numb and my a-fib is no better. Prior to the heart attack I had 1 incident of a-fib and I believe it was stress (physical, chemical and emotional)induced. I want to stop taking all of these drugs and let my body work on its own again.

I am a male, 55 years old, my "doctor" put me on benazepril 10 mg for over a year but it did not work as expected since my blood pressure was over 130 but less than 140 mmhg so he prescribed me atenolol 50 mg and I took it for 6 months, now my blood pressure has been mostly 100 to 113 mmhg, I went back to see my doctor and he prescribed me hydrochlorothiazid 25 mg (a diuretic) but he "forgot" to tell me that atenolol can not be stopped suddenly, until I told him what the pharmacy information stated.

After that my doctor told me to take 1/2 tablet for two weeks and then start taking the diuretic hydrochlorothiazid 25 mg. I have no previous family history of heart related problems, for the most part I am healthy. It seems that one of the side effects of atenolol is that it brings blood pressure too low. Two days ago my blood pressure dropped to 86/60 pulse of 90 !!! related or not related to atenolol (?)

I have been on this medicine (50mg) for more than ten years owing to sudden rise in BP, (which I thought was white collar type), with very little perceptible side effects. My doctor however prescribed it as a first-line anti-hypertensive medication.

I have been on atenonol for 10 years, and was very happy with it. But this year is different. I noticed a lot of numbness in my hands and fingers every day, my memory is terrible, much worse because of the atenonol. And I had the worst cold and flu that lasted two months, and 5 mo later I have developed some lung problem still not diagnosed. But I cannot climb stairs without being exhausted and my lung capacity is bad, after taking some test where I breeathed into a tube - they agreed with me. Finally!

I read that it is not for ppl with breathing problems, and I wonder if you have bronchitis should you be taken of of it. I have changed a lot this year and cannot walk fast or run a half a block without feeling dead tired. I want off this med but I'm afraid of whats next with some ppl being on two and three different med. At least with atenonol I was only on one 50 mlg a day, which I usually split.

Here is a weird thing I want to share. Four times I have had to change the manufacturer of atenonol med because after a year or two I would become really sick, like vomit and nausea sick. Each time I did I was fine. So I became allergic to what ever fillers were in the pill. Very strange but true that's why I stuck with it for so long.

I glad I did another search regarding this subject as this info wasn't around that much years ago. Ive been taking 25mg of atenolol for 14 yrs now. My doctor back then said I'd be on it for life which bugged me since I never was much a pill taker. I'm going to have to confront him again regarding that as it seems my dosage it more a preventative measure and I haven't had a single incident in all these years. If anything this stuff has caused me to gain weight and I find it very hard to get/keep it off. (yeah I know I'm hitting 53) but I still fairly active. I'm sure he'll say no but I am allowed to make my own decisions.
We shall see I guess, Thanks for having the info available to us.

I have been on atenolol for about 7 yrs now I went from 189lb to 163lb but the problem I'm having now is very strange this medication spikes up my blood pressure to 150/110 with shortness of breath very dry mouth and pains in the top and back of my head! is this a problem that anyone else has or had?

Hi All,

I take (actually just upped my dosage to this amount) 50 mg atenelol in the AM for high blood pressure/High Pulse and anxiety issues as well. I also take an "as needed" 25 mg at 6 pm. Does anyone know if it is okay to take a 25mg dose "as needed" or can this be dangerous, and therefore should this always be taken or perhaps be left out of the regiment? The "as needed" is usually every other day or so, but not regularly. Atenelol has helped with my chronic chest pains I attributed to smoking and anxiety.

I am not a doctor, but I am also on 3 different BP medicines. I am now taking Cozaar (losartan) 50mg x 2 daily , Atenolol 50mg, and Hydrochlorothiazide (water pill) 25mg daily. This combo seems to work well for me now, but it took a long time to find the right doses and combination of medicines that worked without major side effects.

I still work every day and can't be bothered with too many side effects. I have had to stop many medicines we tried because of side effects; lisinopril because of cough and severe headaches, verapamil and norvasc because of chest pain brought on by severe heartburn, and metoprolol and toprol XL, because of extreme fatigue and lethargy. All of the betablockers like metoprolol, Atenolol and Bystolic, cause the sleepy and sluggish feeling you talk about, because they slow down your heart rate.

It's all about getting the dosage right so you can still function. I still have some of that with the Atenolol, but I drink coffee to get my pulse up higher. The Bystolic you take could also cause the fluid and itching in your legs, (because your heart is not working as hard to pump fluid from your legs while on that drug) and any sores on your legs will not heal quickly (I have had two leg infections due to this). Exercise will help with that, as will compression stockings.

Try to walk 20-30 minutes a day, and you will notice a big difference. It you are overweight, try to take off just 10% off your weight and this will help with BP. Fluid retention in your legs can also be a sign of heart failure or other serious condition, so be sure and talk to your doctor about that. Good luck to you, please work with your doctor to find the right combo/doses of meds for YOU. I know it can be very frustrating, but there are a lot of BP meds on the market to choose from, we do not all respond the same to all of them, what works for one person may not work for another. Any advice I have given is just from my own personal experience and what has worked for me. Good Luck !!

I was prescribed Atenolol (25 mg per day) for hyperthyroidism. I took it for 8 days and then half dose for two days and then stopped abruptly without knowing that I need to stop gradually. I feel OK for 3 weeks and then my heart started to beat irregularly at times. I am not sure this is due to my hyperthyroidism or side effect from stopping atenolol abruptly.

I have been on atenolol for around a year. I recently decided to stop taking it (concerned of possible pregnancy). I called my Dr. but she wants to see me before changing my meds. I have NO money and therefore cannot go in. I told the nurse I would have to stop taking it then, and I was given no warning.

I have been off for 2 days, today I have had chest pain, mostly in center and left side. I decided to take the atenolol again, since I have not confirmed pregnancy,as it would be to early. I was unaware of the scary side affects of stopping abruptly.

I have been on aetenol for a while for fast palpitations believing I had Mitral regurgitation or a valve heart problem ran some test everything came back fine. My new doc says you can just stop taking the aetenol there is nothing wrong with u after stop taking them I still have palps which are not that often and also an increased anxiety thing going on.

I began taking aetenol years ago my new doc did the regular test every test came back normal so my doc says just stop taking em there is nothing wrong with you but I still have occasional palps and added anxiety lots of it.

I have been taking atenolol for a couple of years now. I am in my early 20's and been diagnosed with high blood pressure. The medication appears to be working, the only side effect that I have been informed of is that I have developed bradycardia or a slower heart rate as a side effect of the drug. Besides that I think it has worked for me.

I was prescribed atenolol after a stress test!

The Dr and the test found nothing wrong with my heart other than I'd been under a lot of pressure and my heart rate would jump on occasion due to anxiety!
So he prescribes this daily for anxiety? Like an idiot I do this,only to start feeling horrible, worse than when I started!

I was also on elavil for pain ??? (another red flag) I was told taken the 2 together was fine.....well it's not,not for me anyway!
The elavil caused the heart rate increase,so now I'm on one to speed it up,and one to slow it down .

Made no sense whatsoever and in the meantime I got physically ill and weak, dizzy and muscle cramping!
I finally figured it out and call my cardiologist office only to be told to take it at night to "sleep" through the symptoms!

A couple of days go by and things are getting even worse,so I call AGAIN,hardly able to function at this point,whoever answered the phone blew me off and told me the Dr had clinical work that day and I couldn't be seen.

I got strength enough to dress and march in that office demanding to be seen!
The nurse took and EKG and said I was fine and instructed me to just stop taken atenolol and not to worry because there is no withdraw or rebound effect!

This is day 7 of not taken it and I sure can tell you that the withdraw and rebound so far have been awful!

I'm mystified at how this is just openly prescribed even when nothing is wrong and then lied to that " you can just stop without issues" .
That's the furthest from the truth!

The more I delve into prescribed drugs,there side effects and what an epidemic we are in with overdosing this country is an absolute nightmare.
I write this from my bed because I still have side effects.

I wonder if anybody else out there has had a similar experience and how long it takes for the "rebound" to stop?
Thank for listening...

I have been on 50 mg of atenelol since 2010, all, of a sudden I started having my heart rate go from 70's to a scary 43-62 at best. My normal BP of around 117/72 dropped to 98/60. I called my dr and they told me to cut my 50 mg daily hours of sleep, dose to 25mg. I did this for the first night. The next day, I had symptoms again, ringing ears, pressure in my head, heavy chest, difficulty breathing, anxiety, I checked and my blood pressure and heart rate were down again.

I went directly to the emergency room and then had to proceed to argue with them that I knew what I was telling them and was, indeed, NOT having a panic attack. ( I mean who has a low BP and low HR while having a panic attack).....???? Seriously

Anyhow, after calling my cardiologist, they tell me to, stop the atenelol altogether. So, I do. The next evening, I go outside to routinely weed my garden, to which I have never had any issues doing, my heart rate shoots up so badly that I have to go lay down for the rest of the evening and take a .25 Xanax just to keep myself from thinking I'm going to die. I spent the rest of the evening in bed.

This morning, I get up, take a shower and my heart rate went up to 133!!!!!
Needless to say, I've called my cardiologist and demanded to be seen TODAY!!!!

The same side effects...same feeling :((...need help

I take 3 meds for high blood pressure, propranolol 10 Mg., verapamil 240 mg, & lisinopril. I have been on verapamil since 1994. Very slowly my calves started to swell ever so slightly throughout the years. I'm on a lot of meds for arthritis, neck & back pain. I was put on amitriptylin 25mg. My calves, legs and my angles & body started to retain water and I had edema. My ankles being the worst area of swelling. My feet hurt so bad from swelling I could hardly walk. To sum this up. Through a lot of detective work and monitoring my blood pressure at home, it seems it is the verapamil that is causing the swelling.

I would not have thought it was that med because I had been on it so long. My telling you this is to maybe help someone else who is on it. You can be on a drug for years and everything is okay and then the swelling or side effects start for no reason...probably because I'm getting older...63 years old. I stopped taking the verapamil and guess what? My blood pressure isn't high without it?? Strange.. Hope this info helps someone out there.

I just completed weaning myself off of Atenolol and this is my advice and experience. I totally agree that you should not stop it suddenly - very risky to do that. If possible, plan ahead to get off of it. While you are on it, get into a good exercise program with good cardio. Start a routine of drinking lots of water. Start a routine of good sleeps. Eat right and stay away from caffeine and alcohol if possible. I got myself into great shape and with great habits while I was taking 25 mg a day.

I gradually reduced my dosage by a 1/4 of a pill about every 10 days until I was off. I experienced nasty side-effects trying to rid my body of the stuff: sweaty palms, terrible heart palpitations, irregular fast pulse, one or two night sweats, weird headaches, and sensations around my body along my circulatory system. I found that doing a good cardio workout helped to combat the withdrawal symptoms. I just saw a recent scientific study that confirmed this approach.

By exercising, your body's natural response to lower your heart rate and blood pressure kicks in. And every morning, if I woke up with symptoms - I drank a lot of water and that helped, too. Reducing the first 1/4 tablet and the last 1/4 tablet were the toughest. My body adjusted to the half-dose very easily. My blood pressure and pulse are at normal range now and I have so much more energy now compared to being on Atenolol - it's really amazing how it put a "dragging filter" on my life. My advice: take it slow, stay calm through the withdrawal symptoms, exercise, drink lots of water, and get 8 hours sleep or rest (force yourself to stay in bed for a full 8 hour rest even if you wake up early).

Obviously the other things are to pursue a stress-management lifestyle with breathing exercises or meditation, a good workout routine, and eat lots of fresh fruits and veggies and avoid high blood pressure triggers. Wishing everyone well - I found this forum very useful and I really wanted to give back. Hope there's something useful in my experience.

I have had anxiety attacks for several years. I am 29 and they started when I was 14. When I was 21, I was told by a doctor I had high blood pressure. So I went on Atenolol 25 MG at night.

I then wanted a second opinion and had a heart monitor put on me. I went to one of the best heart doctors in my town of, Fort Worth. He told me "Son, you have had about 7 irregular heartbeats through the two day period of the monitor. You're a healthy young man. Just exercise more and move on in life. You can stop taking the drug, whenever you're ready. Because the drug is also prescribed for Anxiety and Migraines."

So I continued taking it for about 2 more years, because I always feared anxiety. I stopped taking it cold turkey. Nothing happened, nor did side effects, when I started.

My blood pressure afterwards was about 150/90's in anxiety mode, and would drop down afterwards. For a while I would go straight to the ER and say "MY HEART." Just because I was scared. After bedside manner 140's/80. I have always been about 20-30 pounds over weight. Never have watched what I've eaten.

I did fine without the drug after that. Because a doctor told me once "Are you afraid of getting your blood pressure checked?" My response was "Yes." She then told me about, White Collar Hypertension. As soon as I see that cuff coming, I FREAK OUT, inside my head. Thus, my BP goes high for a few. I went to the doctor last year, when I had the flu. She checked it, it was 150/96. I said "Come back in 10 minutes, and she did. It was than, 140/89, and she said "ohhhh I see."

In 2010 my shrink gave me Atenolol because of anxiety attacks again. I took it for a bit and didn't really see a need, so I stopped. My normal cocktail for anxiety has been working and dropping through the years. If I had an attack, I would be down for days when I was 21.

At 29, I wake from an attack at night, and have one for about 20 minutes, if not less. My current prescription is Lexapro 10 MG and 1 MG of Xanax XR, a day. Again this all has been dropped. Was higher doses. No side effects when I was taking the higher doses, with Atenolol.

Yesterday, I started back with Atenolol cause my shrink thought I should. Lately I have been having more anxiety attacks due to A LOT OF STRESS. So I thought no biggie. I took the dosage I used to take of 25 MG at night.

2 hours later, around where a I.V. would be put in your arm, I started feeling weird shocking sensations, My hands felt numb, and my finger tips tingling. I was slapping my arm saying WAKE UP.

I then started to feel slightly dizzy, and my stomach turned and I had a bad bathroom experience. You know what I mean. Never again, will I take this. I still feel off and it's 5 hours later. What I don't understand is why would it affect me this way now??? I was on it with higher dosages of medicine, when I was younger, and literally felt nothing? I now feel like I have the flu. I never get sick, so I never really see a primary care doctor. When I do, same issue high BP, 10-20 later 140's/80's.

So I am buying a BP home monitor. Starting to work out, and dropping this Atenolol. Whenever I have had anxiety attacks, and gone to the ER. Every EKG and other test's are completely normal, and I have been many times before I learned to calm myself down.

I'm 29. Tomorrow I am starting my first real workout and food change for good. Most doctors said to check my BP once a week and at the end of the month average it. That's what I will be doing. If I am Pre-hypertensive, then I will knock it out with whats right for my body. I don't know if this helps anyone, but I will posting weekly reports on this forum.
Status and such.


I have several of the side-effects attributed to Atenolol, several of which are similar to those of Atorvastatin which I also take. I was not told that Atenolol is a Beta blocker or I would have objected at the time as I know they disagree with me. The above article says that Atenolol must not be stopped abruptly but it does not recommend a weaning rate..

Hi there.

Wonder if anyone can help me out there. My gp put me on propanolol 80 mg twice a day about 10 days ago. I was getting appalling daily headaches, and when she took my blood pressure it was sky high. 160/107 when usually I have very good BP of 120/70. I was also anxious and stressed and she thought it would help with all three things. Well I started to take it and my headaches disappeared it was marvelous

Then around a week into it, I felt absolutely shattered, fatigued but more worryingly was struggling to breath, even up a slight incline. Normally I am a fit and healthy person.the doctor had said I could just take the meds if and when I got a headache, but for the first week I had taken it as prescribed on the packet.

When I got so breathless it really scared me. I made an appointment at the gps for this morning and cut down and stopped it whilst I was waiting probably a stupid thing to do. Over the last couple of days whilst off them I not only have the headaches back my calves are incredibly swollen and I have had irregular heartbeats and have not been feeling at all good. My bp of course is way back up. I saw the GP this morning and she said that I did the right thing by stopping them especially with being so out of breath, but now I'm reading this I'm concerned that I should have tapered than off even though I have only been taking for just over a week.

I think the stupid thing is I didn't realize just how powerful these things are, they were given me for migraine relief primarily and with the message take them when and if, but still my fault for not reading around the issue before I stopped. I suppose I panicked when I couldn't breath and that was it

After shredding of LAD coronary artery in 2006 and no previous dx of hypertension or CAD, six stents were inserted in my LAD and Plavix, Atenolol, Lipitor, and Lisinopril with HCTZ were prescribed. I am still taking the same drugs except for Plavix. My question is about the Atenolol.

About six weeks ago I ran out of the Atenolol and had to wait for refill until I saw my Dr. I have never liked the side effects of Atenolol - weight gain, fatigue, anxiety and inability to get my heart rate up while exercising. Being off the Atenolol I have not felt any better except I can get my heart rate up to the target rate. My resting pulse rate has not increased nor have I had any irregular heartbeats.

I was wondering how long it will take to rid my body of the side effects of the Atenolol? Is there a need to start a beta blocker again? Based on my dissatisfaction with Atenolol, my Dr switched me to Bystolic but I have not started taking it yet. According to the new BP guidelines for people over 65, my BP is normal.

Any experiences with half life of beta blockers and getting out of one's system and need for beta blocker post 7 years of stent placement is greatly appreciated.

I was on atenolol. only started to get side effects the last two years. felt fat, even tho I jogged every day. swollen legs and hands, varicose veins, and extreme shortness of breath most recently. this was weird because I was in good shape. I now could only walk. I felt terrible even walking in the heat.

I reduced my 25 mg dose by a quarter a week ago and feel more energetic, sleep thru the nite!, and can walk up a slight incline without feeling like a fat woman twenty years older.
also, am a bit less depressed. my doctor should have realized these complaints were side effects. why didn't he? I will keep off this med, although still may have thyroid and blood sugar issues, which apparently atenolol can cause. doctors!

I am 63 and have been on atenanol for 15 years after a silent heart attack and bp that was too high. I have been taking 50g every other day for the last 4 months as I want to come off them. I had my annual check so went back on every day for the previous week. I have a terrible crawling itch. The nurse said alternate days is the wrong way to do it and the itch could be due to it. I will start cutting the pills in half in future as the doc says 132 over 79 is borderline and not enough to half my dose.

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