The People's Perspective on Medicine

Atenolol (“ah TEN oh lol”)

The beta-blocker atenolol can be helpful for treating rapid heart rhythms. It is sometimes prescribed for hypertension.

Overview

Atenolol (Tenormin) is known as a beta-blocker. That means the drug works in part by blunting the action of adrenaline, the body’s natural fight-or-flight chemical. People normally respond to stressful situations with a rapid pulse, a pounding heart and an increase in blood pressure. Atenolol helps block such reactions. This medicine is normally prescribed for high blood pressure, chest pain, or heart attacks.

Although the FDA has not specifically approved its use for other purposes, doctors sometimes prescribe atenolol (Tenormin) to treat irregular heart rhythms, performance anxiety such as stage fright, and to prevent migraine headaches.

People’s Pharmacy Perspective

We suspect that one of the reasons beta-blockers are so popular with insurance companies and HMOs is that they are inexpensive. These drugs have been around a long time and generally have low cost generics available. Current research (1,2) however, suggest that due to their lack of efficacy, beta-blockers such as atenolol (Tenormin) should rarely be the first line of treatment for high blood pressure.

Experts also cast serious doubts about their effectiveness in the prevention of initial heart attacks and strokes for hypertensive patients and have concerns about the multiple side effects beta-blockers could cause (3,4). Beta-blockers are valuable for managing chest pain and especially preventing another heart attack after someone has already had one. Finally, they may also be valuable when adequate control is not achieved with other classes of drugs, but you and your physician will need to decide if the benefits outweigh the risks.

Be certain to consult a physician about your health, especially with regard to any signs or symptoms that may require diagnosis or medical attention. Information provided is not a substitute for the medical advice or care of a physician or other health care professional.

Special Precautions

Do not stop taking atenolol (Tenormin) suddenly without first talking to your doctor. Stopping abruptly may trigger serious and potentially fatal heart problems.

This medication is not recommended for some people: People who have had an allergic reaction to beta-blockers, atenolol (Tenormin), or its components; people with certain heart problems, abnormal heart rhythms or heart failure, since the medicine could occasionally lead to serious cardiac complications.

Some people must be very carefully monitored if they take beta-blockers such as atenolol (Tenormin): Asthmatics and patients with other respiratory problems are especially vulnerable as these drugs can make breathing worse. Atenolol (Tenormin) is a little better than other beta-blockers in this regard, but monitor your breathing carefully.

Diabetics should inform their physicians if being prescribed atenolol (Tenormin) as the medication may mask the signs of low blood sugar levels. People with a history of depression should inform their doctors to ensure both their depression and beta-blocker therapy is well managed.

While atenolol (Tenormin) is less likely to affect the nervous system than others in its class, beta-blockers have been known to contribute to depression. People with a thyroid disorder should also be carefully monitored as this medication may mask signs of an overly active thyroid. People with kidney impairments or who are elderly may need their atenolol (Tenormin) dose adjusted.

More people who must also be very carefully monitored if they take beta-blockers: Women who plan to become pregnant or breastfeed should not take this medication unless their doctors determine it is appropriate. Atenolol may cause harm to an unborn baby.

Be certain to inform your doctor of any other condition you have, as it may affect whether you should take atenolol (Tenormin), your dose, or require you to take special tests during treatment.

Taking the Medicine

Atenolol (Tenormin) should be taken with a full glass of water and can be taken at meal time or on an empty stomach. If you find this medicine causes digestive tract upset, it may be better tolerated when taken with food.

Atenolol (Tenormin) should not be taken together with orange juice as it may reduce the medication’s effect. (5) Avoid drinking alcohol, which could increase your symptoms of drowsiness and dizziness while you are taking atenolol (Tenormin). Don’t take calcium supplements or antacids at the same time as atenolol (Tenormin), as they may reduce its absorption.

You may need to temporarily stop taking atenolol (Tenormin) if you will be undergoing surgery since anesthesia may interact with atenolol (Tenormin) and affect how your heart functions. Be sure to let the surgeon and/or anesthesiologist know well in advance of surgery that you are taking atenolol (Tenormin). Never stop taking atenolol (Tenormin) suddenly. Your doctor must reduce your dose gradually to prevent serious heart problems.

Common Side Effects of Atenolol (Tenormin)

This medication can cause a number of side effects. They include a slower heart rate, sexual difficulties, sleep problems, tiredness, anxiety, and nervousness.

This medicine may also have a negative effect on cholesterol and other blood fats, so a lipid test before treatment and periodically thereafter would be prudent.

Although Atenolol (Tenormin) is a little less likely to affect the nervous system than certain other drugs in this class, be alert for the beta-blocker blahs. Symptoms of psychological depression, fatigue, decreased concentration, memory loss and mood swings may come on slowly and insidiously.

Serious Side Effects of Atenolol (Tenormin)

Obtain emergency medical care if you experience these signs of a potential allergic reaction: breathing difficulties, hives, or swelling in your face, lips, tongue, or throat. Call your doctor promptly if you experience any of these serious side effects:

  • wheezing, worsening asthma;
  • slow or uneven heartbeats;
  • feeling light-headed, fainting;
  • feeling short of breath, even with mild exertion;
  • swelling of your ankles or feet;
  • nausea, stomach pain, fever, loss of appetite, dark urine, pale stools, yellowing of the skin or eyes;
  • depression; or
  • cold feeling in your hands and feet.

There may be other side effects not listed here. Talk to your doctor about any side effect that seems unusual or that is especially bothersome.

Drug Interactions with Atenolol (Tenormin)

This drug can interact with a number of other compounds, including the blood pressure medicine clonidine (Catapres). This drug should never be suddenly discontinued by a person on atenolol (Tenormin) or any other beta-blocker, as the sudden increase in blood pressure could be life-threatening.

Calcium channel blockers (verapamil, diltiazem), which are also heart/blood pressure medications, could have increased effects if given together with atenolol. Taking atenolol with calcium channel blockers is generally not advised as the combined effects might lead to serious heart problems. If they must be taken together, the dose for both or one medication may need to be reduced and cardiac function should be carefully monitored.

A potentially fatal increase in blood pressure could occur when epinephrine is injected into someone taking a beta-blocker such as atenolol. Epinephrine is often included with a local anesthetic injected for dental work or minor surgery, or may be given if someone has a serious allergic reaction that closes airways.

Many other drugs interact with atenolol, including ampicillin and medicines used to treat anxiety, asthma, blood pressure and heart problems. Arthritis medicine and aspirin may reduce the effectiveness of some beta-blockers. Drugs used to treat migraines, tuberculosis and high cholesterol do not mix well with beta-blockers.

There may be other drugs that interact with atenolol not listed here. Do not start any new medications or make changes to your treatment without first consulting your doctor.

References

  1. Lindholm, L. H., et al. “Should Beta-Blockers Remain First Choice in the Treatment of Primary Hypertension? A Meta-Analysis.” Lancet 2005;366:1545-1553.
  2. Kaplan, N.M., and Opie, L.H. “Controversies in Hypertension.” Lancet 2006;367:168-176.
  3. Beevers, D.G. “the End of Beta-Blockers for Uncomplicated Hypertension?” Lancet 2005;366:1510-1512.
  4. Carlberg, B., et al. “Atenolol in Hypertension: Is It a Wise Choice?” Lancet 2004;364:1684-1689.
  5. Lilja JJ, et al. European Journal of Clinical Pharmacology. 2005;61:337.

 

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About the Author
Joe Graedon is a pharmacologist who has dedicated his career to making drug information understandable to consumers. His best-selling book, The People’s Pharmacy, was published in 1976 and led to a syndicated newspaper column, syndicated public radio show and web site. In 2006, Long Island University awarded him an honorary doctorate as “one of the country's leading drug experts for the consumer.” .
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For one to stop taking any beta blocker. Firstly change your diet…..

Stop using any oil substances like cooking oil butter which they say is butter nut it is actually transfat make sure take potassium/phrosphrous/magnisum/vitamins and minerals use those from plant base OK meaning carrot/ lettuce/spinach/celery/parsley/cilantro all green and you can blend and are juice in a juice every day eat less starch like white flour macoroniwhite bread eat mmore fruits and veggies every day can can dotthe juicer twice a day …

Keep away from using pack seasoning make your own use less salt. Less sugar u can get sugar from fruits OK. Use less dairy and soy products..
Don’t use atenolol are any beta blockers with orange juice .

If taking 50 mg can skip a day every other day but at the same time for example if taken at 9 continue the time nut can skip every other day
Then lower the dosage at 25 mg skip dosage but continue at hour when taken every other day continue down to 12.5 mg skip every other day do so for up to 2 month while drinking your alkaline juice keep juicing every day even if you wran yourself to remain healthy your heart will be fix…

Use ginger and tumeric and drink for boosting your immune system as well (thank you) it will make a huge difference in your life.

This pill was given to me for anxiety and I wish it never was prescribed to me. I have been on 12.5 mg atenolol for three months and the side effects are horrible. I take the pill before I go to bed and wake up throughout the night with my heart racing. How do you wean off this pill and how long will it take? I haven’t had a full night sleep in 3 months. Looking for any suggestions….

in May 2006 I have been prescribed Atenotol 50 mg Tablets for mild Blood Pressure.
I had at the same time requested an Ultra Sound on my Heart because I have been concerned
because I never had high Blood Pressure before.I did notice that my Heartbeat slowed down but accepted it as normal.I never got any advise from my Doctor at that Time.
After more than 2 Years I consulted another Doctor at the same Surgery which told me that I am on the wrong Medication and he took me off Atenotol imm.
He than put me on 5mg of Ramipril plus late an added Dose of 2.5 mg.
A while later I noticed that my Heart had an irregular beat and also Palpitation at over 130 beats per minute.Consulting again another Doctor ,he established that I now have a leaking Aortic Valve which could have been caused by the wrong Medicine given and the abrupt
stopping of the same.I should have been slowly taking a reduced Medication for a few Month to ensure no Heart damage occurs

I am looking for some Feedback,please

I took Atenolol for a few months (25 mg). It would slow my heart rate down while exercising and it took more effort to reach my target heart rate. However, I did notice that I would feel confused or even anxious an hour or two after taking it. Also, I started to have joint pain in my feet and Achilles tendinitis. This went on for weeks and I continued to take the Atenolol not suspecting the two were related. I stopped the Atenolol and within a few weeks, the issues with my feet were fine.

For the most part, hypertension is a lifestyle issue. Stress and diet are major factors. Unfortunately, most doctors choose to simply give you a pill vs. treating the cause, because you won’t need to come in every 90 days.

They have many patients convinced that without daily medication that they will suffer a cardiac event. Even though, going back 70 years, people still lived to age 90 and beyond and in general in better health because of more activity vs today. Don’t stop the medication without consulting your doctor, but have a plan to reduce or eliminate these type of drugs with changes in your lifestyle.

I am a proponent of Atenolol. I started having severe migraines at the age of 38 to the point where all I could do was lay in bed. I tried all OTC meds and also had a prescription for Imitrex. Some days even the Imitrex did not help. Fast forward 10 years (this year). Had to go to another doctor for thyroid issues b/c I couldn’t get into regular doctor. He noticed my b/p was up and prescribed Atenolol 50 mg. I have been on Atenolol for 3 months and NO MORE MIGRAINES!! My blood pressure is also under control. I believe this med works for some people but may not for others. It only costs me $2.80 per month-no more missed work and time with my family.

First tablet glory. Dull chest pain I’ve had consistently for two months stopped within one hour of taking 25 mg. Doubt it’s placebo effect, as I was strongly against starting the beta blocker road again. I’d taken metoprolol succinate two different times in the past 8 years – once for 9 months, then for 12 months – discontinued six months ago due to feeling “dead.” Prescribed for cardiac-related concerns. I’m not deluding myself that there won’t be problems, but tonight, and after having “failed” a stress echo yesterday. Frightening ekg tracings. For now, I’m just glad to be free of that pain – if only for tonight. (Note: no other medications other than aspirin taken). Angiogram, etc? Not sure.

I have been on 25-50 mgs of Atenolol for decades due to SVT’s w/arrhythmias. (Now age 62). Don’t drink orange juice while on this medication as it reduces its effects! I disregarded this warning and my heart started acting up again. No more o.j. for me… :(

Hi I was prescribed. 50 mg of Atenolol approx 2 and half years ago by my cardiologist. I had what I thought was missing heartbeats, turned out I was having 10,000 extra beats a day even in sleep. I only took 25 mg and initially had very dry eyes and lost weight. I have now weaned myself off this med in last couple of months and now have constant dry mouth, high bp and cholesterol but worst is my hair has started falling out.

Alice –
You have allergies.
Allergies can raise your BP – and Atenolol will make it worse because it suppresses adrenalin – the very thing your body uses to purge your body of allergens.
I knew for a very long time I had allergies since birth but never knew I had mild anaphylacsis until the day I had it bad – airway stayed open – was a plus.
Also have had what feels like summer flu but wasn’t because I was eating fresh fruits totally allergic too.
Only way I can eat them is if I am taking tons of antihistamines.
You need to find a doctor who will work with you to get you on an allergy free diet – make sure you are getting well balanced minerals and vitamins for you – while weaning you off drugs that are working counter to your body.
Surfing the net – I did find an allergy site post from a person who was allergic to canola oil – it raised his BP – stopped it fine — also watch out for soy in foods – its related to peanuts.

I have been on Atenolol for 4-5 years and no problems till recently. I have had some bouts of what I was told was psoriasis and now The Dr. upped me from 50 mg once a day to twice a day. I have had two very sore throats and100 and 100.5 fever in a month. The second time was the worst ever! I couldn’t swallow for two days and was in bed three days and felt bad longer and still do. Neck glands swollen, whole mouth red, lips pealing, toothpaste burned like very hot sauce, lips stuck to my partial plate denture, very dry mouth, small soft nodule in palm of hand for a month so far.
From my research, I now believe these problems were caused by Atenolol. I actually thought it was two bouts of strep throat but the symptoms were definitely different. Atenolol was the forth med that I was on after being allergic to others. Benicar nearly killed me with anaphylactic shock. Now I realize that I should not have let the Dr. go higher on the dose but he said the insurance would make me get another Dr. if he didn’t lower my pressure more even though I was happy with the amount it had come down.
Went from up to 200 over 109 to 145 over 85 and had maintained that for 4 to 5 years. Called my insurance and they said this was not the case. Now working on weight and exercise.
Would like to know if others have experienced any of this.
Thanks.

I have been on Tylenol for 16 years for tachycardia and it never occurred to me that many of the symptoms I have, as described by many others, might be caused by it. I take meds for depression which I have had for many many years. Some of the symptoms might be ascribed to this but I have many of the symptoms described above the loss of appetite (i do not have an appetite at all, never feel hungry, just have cravings) loss of memory, diahrrea, often 20 mins after I eat, lethargy, digestion problems and I seem to live in a fog. Atenolol could accerbate the depression problems as I have had to change and increase the drugs I take for them. The problems seem to be increasing. Do Tylenol symptoms increase with time? I am so tired of living like this.

Have you had more than one echo cardiogram? Are you on an aspirin regimen?
Had one echo that said mitral valve – 3 that proved it was not that.
There is mitral valve syndrome where certain food etc sensitivities can cause a mis-diagnosis.
The chest pains may be acid reflux.
Have you been tested for allergies?

Hi Chris, I’m Mark, it’s all the Atenolol, I went thru withdrawals for about a month or more, heavy heart palpitations, heart rate went to 125, just sitting still, got asthma put on weight, got acid reflux, you name it, I got it from atenolol, mood swings, anger, relationship problems, I think the doctors are full it, its poison for me, it took a couple of months to clear it from my body. I would go to the hospital thinking I was dying, but I read the other comments on here and realized it would have been a waste of time and money, just decrease your dosage, but its going to take time, my bp and heart rate ran high for several week, best wishes Mark

HOW TO COME OFF THIS ??
I am on Atenolol 25mg a day. Well was. I took the med for alternate days I was fine with that, now I am on to the next phase and I fell a little it ill. I now take my med on Monday and Thursday.
1st week of this phase and felt ok but during the weekend on saturday. I felt ill and change in my heart rythm speeding up and slowing down. Anxiety is all over the place and all I want is water (been peeing a lot lately and throat hurts).
I had three panic attacks last night and couldn’t get to sleep in two days. I managed to sleep the other night but I slept when there was daylight and woke up at 1pm and last night I had around 3-4 hours sleep. I can’t sleep. I know anxiety is playing apart because I keep feeling like ill have a heart attack or heart failure, something stupid like that, I have found it difficult to breath lately although I can manage to speak full sentences so it may just be anxiety.
It all started off with stomach pains, a load of wind/gas in my stomach/intestines? and constipated. Is this normal? (Although that day I was fruit mad, I had a large orange for breakfast, apple for dinner lol and a Banana to put me on for my tea/dinner? and then had my sunday roast which was good) My appetite has increased. I have been eating more frequent.
I have been having chest pains and odd pressure there but there’s not a lot I can do about it. Please give me some reassurance.
I tried to come off this last time but went off it suddenly and became ill within 4 days o.o I am not too sure why and heart was beating up to 135 beats per minute while laying down..
Now I think that’s because I stopped it just like that and the doctor said it was okay but obviously not, doctors fault. Any advice? anyone had any experience similar to this? please I am anxious and depressed. At least when I was on Atenolol everyday 25mg I was able to sleep like fall asleep without worrying.
Will this pass?
I am only 18 years of age. I have Mitral Valve Prolapse. I get worked up about it sometimes and the cardiologist keeps saying I have nothing to worry about but when I experience shit like this it makes me wonder what the heck they’re doing to me by giving me this shit medicine. Its hard to come off, I agree, strongly agree with others
I have had a health scare in December lol I had a legal high-_- it mixed with my previous medication that I was on called Flecanide or something like that and that made me feel ill and I couldn’t move much at all..
It’s been over 6 months since then or just over it, what to do?
I am not as bad as last night because I took my med today this morning but even then I still felt a little bit ill (I have been sneezing a lot lately and wheezing too)
I hope I have made this clear as to what I am experiencing.

Mark, I need you help, I know this message is old but i hope you see this. Please reply so I can contact you! Thank you
Nicole

I am prescribed 50 milligrams about an all day and 20 milligrams of Norco have a day for my high blood pressure I’ve been having dizzy spells lightheadedness leg cramps a very severe shortness of breath and feeling weak and lethargic and I’ve seen that duh getting wind of this is not very easily done as some people have heart attacks from the morning off of it I also have been passing bright red blood and large blood clots in my bowell movement the last month with every movmentI think I’ll take a trip to the ER right now.

get another doctor and hope he weans you off of it, I feel so bad for you, it will be ok I promise

Hey Chris how do you know your heart rate was so high? Did you count the beats or something? I too have a mitral valve prolapse. I have a lot of heart palpitations like non stop even when I’m sleeping. I only take 12.5 mg of altenelol but I just started it and my palls are getting worse then they’ve ever been. I have to take my pills again tonight and I don’t want to, not sure what to do.

I started taking Atenolol 25 mg a month ago. I was on listenopril, but it was not working well. My bp went from 160s/90s to 120s/70s. This medication has worked out well for me. I had some really crazy dreams the first two weeks, but that has passed. I also get a full nights sleep now, whereas I had trouble sleeping before. One other benefit is I have lost 10 pounds without dieting – you won’t hear me complain about that. My doctor said he has two other patients who lost weight on Atenolol, but it is not typical and not an excuse to raid the refrigerator.

KW – Had migraines most of my life. While searching on ways to wean myself off of atenolol saw a post mentioning making sure I had enough magnesium in my diet. Discovered had enough potassium – but not enough magnesium. Started magnesium supplement during the time I was reducing Atenolol – 2 months after I took the last atenolol pill – my migraines ended. Have taken magnesium supplement every day since. (more than 2 years since last migraine).
I also removed all high processed oils and sugars from my diet. So its now only cane sugar, honey, real maple syrup, butter, and olive oil.
Keep track of your sons diet – increase in use of corn oil and corn syrup in foods also caused an increase in my migraines – rate dropped off when I removed all corn from my diet. Also saw an allergy site post where the poster stated that canola oil increased his BP so rather than meds he dropped it.

Hi there,
My son is 7, and has been taking this since he was 5 for LQTS (long QT syndrome). In the past couple of months we have noticed a huge change in his mental well being. Suffering from nightmares, hallucinations, lack of concentration and the list goes on.
He has also been suffering from migraines (diagnosed). However atenolol hasn’t really helped with this.
Will these symptoms worsen with continued use as he will be on this for the rest of his life?
Thanks

Do you have any tips on the weaning process of atenolol. I am down to 12.5 and still get heart racing at night?

Hi Betty I am in the same situation fed up with bp pills. What was your diet and how much apple cider vinegar did you take?
Regards
Helen

I’m 69 and about 5 years ago had a blocked artery. After stenting I was put on 25mg Atenalol having had high blood pressure for many years that no one had managed to cure. About two years ago a different cardiologist upped the dose to 50mg. It seemed okay but about two months ago I started to get severe breathing problems, although mainly when I was at rest walking was okay, also blurred vision and dizziness/faintness.
I saw the Doc who got a chest xray and ecg and could see nothing wrong. I now have an appointment with a cardiologist. My B/P after taking the Atenolol goes as low as 95/60 and my heart rate drops to 50/55. I think the dose is too high and I have decided to try 25mg see what happens, but I’m confused why should this suddenly happen after two years?
People’s Pharmacy response: No one knows why it would pop up after two years, but do be persistent. There is certainly a good chance your shortness of breath, if not caused by atenolol, is being made worse by the drug.

I have high blood pressure and high cholesterol probably some caused by genetics, anyway I have been on Lisinopril for over four years and now Atenolol for just about a year and a half. I have notice some brain clouds but nothing serious, but I am getting concern and will cut back if it continues to worsen.
I did want to say that at the age of sixty-three I really do not feel that bad, but I am concern about high blood pressure do to my Fathers health and his death caused by dementia. I am also taking Crestor that is a blessing, and will continue as long as necessary, my blood pressure is under control and so is my cholesterol. So it is a mixed blessing I guess, but I am positive and optimistic and hope everyone here will be also.
Some of the comments I have read here, is not only blood pressure, or that of the heart, but mental challenges. Some of the drugs I have found talked about here, are for depression and mental challenges, even some of the conditions and concerns are more of a mental health issues and not that of blood pressure.
I hope everyone the best, but if you’re having mental issues, please seek out help, and of course watch your meds. In conclusion I strongly believe that there are more positive results and positive outcomes from the use of Atenolol and Lisinopril medication, but you need to work with a professional with experience. Thank you and God Bless.

Hi Craig, I’m down to 12.5 a day, it’s my first day, I would really like to know how it turned out for you, I hope you get this message and reply, and that goes for anyone else that has gotten off this drug, I would appreciate any info… the peoples pharmacy has been the best forum that I’ve encountered so far… yours sincerely. Mark

Well when it comes to trusting doctors, I’m done, now I’m going to start weening myself of this atenolol, I’ve tried before but the withdrawals were horrible but I feel just as sick taking it every day, 9 months and a doctor later my health is shot, I can’t breath, I’m 20 pounds heavier, I can’t think, I can’t sleep, and I’m to tired to fight, but I am turning more violent, so now I’m secluding myself from people at least until I get this drug out of my system, my friends are tired of my complaining and now I’m tired of my friends.

I have been on atenol for 6 years and have put on weight cannot sleep have dreadful sweats. Back of my legs ache I am 71 years old, I bought a blood pressure machine and do a test every month which turns out normal. Doctor had me wired up for 48 hours and it showed no problem. Why then am I on 50 mg tablet it seems to high.

I have been on 25 mg Atenolol for a couple of months now, I have stage 1 HBP and my doctor wanted to put me on a water pill, but I have Sulfa allergies…it is gross, but two hours almost exactly after I take my pill, with or without food, I am in bathroom with loose bowels, and have gotten to the point I want to carry extra underwear, it hits so suddenly and with a few seconds warning (not exaggerating)… I thought it was a side effect that would subside, have an appointment next week, going to be addressed, but I also have anxiety issues, which I am on 50 mg Sertraline (Zoloft) and when I get wound up, I have the same effect… I am having more anxiety flare ups since being on the Atenolol… not sure if it is the drug, or me???? worrying about the drug…

Hi I was atenolol 50mgs for 4 to 5 months then I went down to 25mgs for the last 2 weeks and as of today I been off of it for 2 days I was put on it because my blood pressure was a little high but I was getting a lot of side effects I have 4 kids and I didn’t want to do nothing or go nowhere and my husband said one day that I was not being myself and I had a lot of mood swings and mad all the time I felt like I was walking around in a cloud I seen it for myself I said that is it I want off of this so I have my own blood pressure monitor so I been taking it and its been fine

Does it cause brown spots?

I was on clonidine, lisinipril and atenolol. For a couple of years and I still take the clonidine. The other two drugs were horrors. Rashes, brain fog, terrible depression, anxiety (panic attacks). My doc now has me on Xanax, serequel and ambien and I am a much happier, healthy person. I don’t think I have had any side effects from the psychotropic drugs like I did with the high blood pressure ones. It is so maddening that doctors and pharmacists treat you like some crazed drug addict because you take them.

try vinegar 2 capfuls of vinegar and 2 capfuls of water, or take a soaked wash cloth and pour vinegar over cloth to cleanse area, either vinegar will work, just be sure to use mixture the stronger the vinegar the better it works, but not full strength, hope it works for you. your friend skh

I think in some cases that the doctors today know the side affects and that this will require you to keep coming back for other drugs that effects other parts of your health. This keeps them in a pay check. I was on atenolol for 13 years 25mg then 50mg. I was stupid and did not ask questions. As years went by I started having breathing problems, weight problems, and last 2 years my throat and sinus swell up I choke when I eat, I snore, due to my throat swelling, then the doctor couldn’t find anything so he put me on levothyroxin which made everything worse, when I started to look all this up I started to reduce my meds until I cut them back one at a time a little piece at a time for a week at a time. I listen to my body when my heart rate would rise I would walk on tread mill at a slow steady speed no matter whether it was nighttime or day. I also walked anywhere I could if I started feeling anxious.
I have been off both meds for 2mths, still get some anxious feelings when my week for my hormones or lack of hormones act up. I am 57, and I had a hysterectomy 7yrs. after I started the atenolol, so I have different side affects then maybe someone who did not. My hair also was thinning its looking better now. I have lost 4 pounds, I still have to watch salt intake. My blood pressure is better than it was on meds, I bought a blood pressure cup to keep track of it, to be careful through this process. My memory has improved, and my vision seems better and I have notice my throat is better and breathing.

I have read all of these comments and agree with them all. One side effect that I have is frequent urge to urinate with bladder pressure; the amount of urine is far less than what I expect (a cupful). I have also just started taking simvastatin – don’t know which medication is causing this.

I’ve been taking Atenalol for 5 years or so and haven’t had any regular problems. The only thing I noticed is that when I’ve had a surgery procedure I can not take it the night before as it makes my bp too low. The first time it happened I wasn’t sure if it was caused by the Atenalol. After the 2nd time I knew. So the 3rd time I had to go in for a procedure, I made sure to tell my doctor my side affect and didn’t take it the night before. I had no problem.

Hi, my mum is taking Ternonol 100, on the tablet it also wrote Atenonol Tablet B.P. 100mg, oranges colored pil. She is suffering cough since she taking this medicine. So is this medicine have side effects such as causing cough?
People’s Pharmacy response: No, cough is not a common side effect of atenolol. She may have something else causing her cough.

I have been on atenolol for one month, in combination with losartan because losartan was not lowering my blood pressure. Before atenolol, my blood pressure was 165 / 110.
One month after atenolol, my blood pressure is 115 / 75. So far, I am happy with atenolol and feel less anxious. I have actually lost two pounds since starting atenolol because it reduces my appetite. I have felt a little more fatigued, but that usually lasts a few months and then goes away after starting a new med.

Thank you so much, that’s encouraging. I’m now past the 2 week mark of being completely off of atenolol and the last few nights I’ve actually gotten fairly normal sleep after 7 weeks of vivid dreaming and nightmares (so exhausting!) that happened during the weaning and initial quitting phases. This medicine sure messes up your system, seems sometimes like the cure is worse than the disease with all of the crazy and scary side effects you can have! Since I only have borderline hypertension, I’m going the naturopathic route now, with exercise, plant-based vegan diet, meditation, and yoga. Thanks again!

Hi Dee Dee
In re to your Fibromyalgia – I had mysterious aches that really didn’t have a cause – and seemed to get worse – and then discovered the cause – Grapes/raisins/anything with grape juice – and any cheese other than American or cottage. When I removed all that from my diet the pain went away – seems it was an allergy – besides the pain my BP went up and so did my temp.

AK
It may depend on how long you were on Atenolol. From the last day I took atenolol it was about 3 months before I really started to return to normal.
After I was off of it I had about 6 months where it seemed I was having catch up dreams about things that happened over about 10 years as tho my brain had been waiting to file it. Just prior to weaning and during the period I was reducing the dose I did wake up with nightmares.
Also before starting off the atenolol I started taking magnesium supplement and still take it daily as my diet is rich in potassium but short on magnesium.
Its been a 1-1/2 years since I have been off of it.

Hi Lynne,
I know this is a few years later but I’m now going through withdrawal from Atenolol and having all the same symptoms, particularly the muscle twitches, pains, and pins and needles and the vivid dreams/nightmares (so badly). How long did it take for all of that to stop after you weaned off the Atenolol? Thanks for any help!

I have been on Atenol/Chlor 100-25mg tab. I have had much success from 226 OVER 110 TO 122 OVER 80. however in the morning I have congestion and a runny nose until 12pm. Is this normal?
Peoples Pharmacy response: This does not seem to have been reported as a common side effect. There was a report in 1994 in a Norwegian Journal suggesting that others have had a similar problem. Here’s the link to the abstract:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7992269

I am glad I came to this site like the rest of you. I have MS, and I also have Fibromyalgia, so when I started feeling awful, I just related it to one of those illnesses. However, after coming to this site, I now believe like you guys, that the Atenolol is the culprit and the reason I know for sure, is that I never took HBP too seriously.
So really I’ve been on it for about 2 years but not taking it regularly like I should. For instance if I wanted to go out with my friends, and have a few cocktails, I would not take the atenolol, only because I take it at night, and usually after going out its late and I don’t want to take the pill with alcohol in my system. I am on 50mg at bedtime.
I am also on Lisinopril 40mg in the morning with the water pill. Recently after going to the doctor, I got tired of hearing my blood pressure was not where it should be, so I started taking the Atenolol the way it was prescribed, without missing any doses. Every since I have been “faithful” to atenolol, I have had every symptom most of you have experienced. I can’t get out of bed, low energy, brain fog. I lost my car at the grocery store and was looking for it for 45mins… A huge walmart, burned myself, and flooded my apartment twice just from being scatter brained.
I am going to immediately ask my doc to wean me off. Now its bad because the MS doc prescribed adderral for the fatigue, and I know that can make your pressure sky rocket, but I am coming off this medicine one way or the other. I felt as if I was dying.
My grandmother used to boil bananas peels and drink the juice to keep her BP in check, I’ve since started doing that as well, but in the mean time, I will be coming off this medicine and hopefully no side effects since I was not taking it regularly like I should. Thanks to everyone who does a review, you really help other suffering patients.

I know this is an old thread but I’ll toss in my 2 cents…
Have you had your thyroid levels checked? Low thyroid output can cause high blood pressure AND loss of hair & fatigue, weakness, depression, rapid pulse, headaches, AND DIARRHEA AFTER EATING.
A friend of mine was on a BUNCH of different meds. Some for treating each symptom and then more “other” meds to deal with side affects. He kept asking for blood work to check his thyroid, but the doctor just stuck to – “I’m the Dr. You are the patient… just do what I say.”
Needless to say, he went to a different doctor; the new doc weened him off everything he was taking so he could get a baseline to run a full blood panel… His thyroid was low, BP and blood sugar high plus a few other things. He started Thyroidazine, and within a month the other symptoms were gone as well. That was three years ago. He is still only taking the one medicine and feels better than he has felt in years.
Hope this helps :-)

Definitely report that to your cardiologist right way, Alicia.

I have been using atenolol for 6 weeks also. I had complained to my doctor that I had been experiencing numbness and tingling in the left arm and also chest pains. He just told me to stop using it. He did not even ween me off the pill. I have stopped taking it for four days now and I have been experiencing chest pains and burning sensations in my chest and back. Is this supposed to happen and how long is this going to last for???

I was on Lisinopril for 6 years for moderately high blood pressure. 3 1/2 weeks ago, when I had a doctor’s visit because I kept getting blood pressure readings that were 150/95 almost all the time which is high to be on blood pressure meds, my doctor switched me to Atenolol/Chlorthalidone combo 2 medicines in one and said it would be more beneficial for me as the linsinopril was not effectively working for me any longer.
I had bouts of dizziness/lightheadedness almost every morning taking them, I had a rash around my neck and itched a lot, at night time, I felt like I was going to jump out of my skin with a pins/needles feeling, and on 3 occasions I had difficulty breathing. Finally I contacted my doctor 2 days ago and I have a visit with him on Friday of this week to access the situation, however he told me to just stop Atenolol cold turkey and I am surprised a doctor would do that when their is a big risk involved with stopping a Beta Blocker abruptly.
I am so nervous over these days wait, however I am going to switch this Doctor, because he seems to be annoyed with this, like it is a inconvenience to him and a bother that I am having adverse reactions to the drug. I am sure it is probably only the Atenolol and not the Chlorthalidone drug. Any thoughts on this?

S A & Mary
Atenolol is first choice because it is cheap a 90 day supply is less than $20.00.
If you are going to an HMO you may want to consider switching to preferred provider plan where you can go outside the listed doctors – if that is what you need to find a cardiologist that will work with you to find out what is really wrong rather than prescribing a drug to fix a symptom without finding out the cause.

I have a terrible, terrible, Vaginal itch that I have had for years, do not have a discharge. I have used every over the counter cream and one prescription without any help. I have body itch too but not as bad. I have been on Atenolol for a long time. My heart seams to be fine, but I have some of the other side effects I see listed. Hairloss, cramps in feet, weight gain. I used to walk a lot but I fainted one morning so I’m not doing that anymore. Could it be the Atenolol? I’ m at wits end, can anyone help?

I have been reading the forum for some time.
I have read other forums which also have people upset by the side effects of theses drugs.
I have every single side effect on the list and maybe even extra ones. Like… My hands and arms burn all the time and pins and needles in them.
Also the hair loss has upset me very badly. I HATE it. I had wonderful thick hair.
What I want to say is….. The doctors have no idea what this drug does to us. Or do they even care. I think maybe someone who is good with words should write a paper on the suffering of thousands of people.
The whole array of side effects and the impact on people’s lives.
Doctors won’t prescribe Valium because its addictive. Ha!!!! This drug is worse !!!! You can’t come off it because its too dangerous. Well maybe it would help patients decide if they want to take this drug if they were given this information to start with.
I can’t come off it. It. Is so awful, my heart goes crazy and I shake and run to the toilet all day. Even so the side effects of taking it are equally as bad. Day after day I feel I have to poison myself and still my heart feels sort of wrong. I feel strange, dizzy, sick, weak, tired, jelly legs, among other problems.
Surely doctors should know all these poor patients are struggling. Surely someone should sort this huge problem out?
I don’t know who, but someone.?
Anyone agree???

You say that you shake? Can you elaborate on that? I’m not finding too many other people who have hade this side effect from the withdrawal. I was coming off of Atenolol a few months ago. I was standing in line at the DMV, on day 3 – 4 off coming off of the drug, I started trembling from head to toe. It subsided about 5 minutes after I was able to take the pill.

I have been taking atenolol 50 mg for 13 years. My SVT began picking up and at times when I bent over or laid on my back my SVT would kick in and sometimes go for over 5 hours. My doc said increase to 50mg in AM and 25 at night. Later he increased to 50 MG in AM and 50 at night. Now I feel like I can’t stop moving inside. There is somewhat of a pressure between my ears and I feel like I have butterflies in my system. Could this be atenolol? I want of this but don’t know the options I would have. If someone else knows drugs used for SVT please let me know so I can be informed when I go to demand he change my meds. I have also gained almost 30 pounds in 13 years (I started at 125 pounds).

You say that you shake? Can you elaborate? I’m not seeing too manny people with that withdrawal symptom. I was coming off of Atenolol a few months ago. I was standing in line at the DMV and started trembling from head to toe. It subsided about 5 minutes after I took the pill.

I’m 24 and have been on Atenolol for high blood pressure 3 months. I have been exercising the last month and my heart rate isn’t going as high as I want it due to the beta blocker. I’m in complete disbelief reading these side effects. I want off of this medication!

I’m 25 years old and have been diagnosed with inappropriate sinus tachycardia. I’m of average height and weight and in pretty decent shape physically, but I still have an extremely high heart rate. I was taking sotalol 360mg a day and had to stop due to severe numbness in my legs.. I actually fell a few times from standing up too fast. My pulse was 148 bpm at rest yesterday so I was prescribed 25 mg of atenolol at bedtime. Every comment I have read so far is something negative, so I’m thinking maybe an ablation might be better? I really don’t want all of these bad side effects. Any advice?

I am M40. I was taking repalol for last 7 years for high bp. My new doctor suggested that I switch to olmezest 40 and stop repalol. After two days of switch my heart rate has gone up from 60 to 100. Is it safe to switch abruptly?

Beta Blockers make any allergies you have worse. Your New Zealand doctor should have weaned you off the Beta blocker & found out what you are allergic to.
It depends on the antihistamine or allergy meds and the strength of the dose. All allergy meds affect your blood, steroids can damage your bone strength.
For most of the time I was on atenolol I actually was taking OTC allergy meds that blocked the affects of atenolol. When the brand changed its formula – excluding caffeine and changing the decongestant to one that does not affect bp – my allergies got worse.
Since weaning myself off atenolol my allergic response is not as bad so I don’t have to take antihistamines every day.

Living in Australia for many years I was taking a non generic BP tablet Tenormin.
Nine years ago I returned to New Zealand, once my Australian Tenormin supply ran out I was put on a generic version of Tenormin -Atenolol(100mg).
Seemingly as a result a vicious itch began and a red rash showed all over my body ,consequently I was put on anti histamine tablet every second day.
WHAT DOES NINE YEARS OF ANTI HISTAMINES DO TO ONE’S HEALTH?

Go with your gut feelings!

Yes, and I plan on changing my cardiologist. He seems very robotic to me. I tried to explain that I thought the syncope could have been caused by some blockage in my rear neck arteries. I often have stiffness there and on occasion can feel the veins with my fingers. He never looked there and dismissed it as probably a muscular problem.

Can you afford a second opinion?

I was prescribed 25 mg. Atenolol after a recent unexplained syncope, my second in three years. Blood tests, two stress tests, the second one nuclear, and a successful EKG, did not help my cardiologist diagnose what was going on with me. I explained to my Dr. that on occasion (two or three times a year) I would experience what I would describe as a type of panic attack which, with no warning, would include sudden perspiration, cold skin temp, muscle weakness, light headed, and a racing heart. He wrote a prescription for 25 mg. Atenolol and said that it would help smooth out my “anxiety” attacks.
I am a 61 year old white male, 6′, 235, and on no other medication of any kind. After just six weeks of Atenolol, I felt cold/numb fingers and toes, cold lips, leg and foot cramps, difficultly forming words, mental fog, restless sleeping with less than four consecutive hours of sleep, blurred vision, mood swings, plus unexplained weight gain. OMG!!! I called my Dr. and he said just stop taking the drug cold turkey. After reading this blog, I was not sure cold turkey was the right way to stop. Well it is day two and I already feel considerably better, but the sleep issue is still there. The benefits do not seem to justify the side effects, Be careful!!

I was just prescribed Atenolol for heart palpitations. I do not smoke, drink, etc and the only other meds I take is antacid for heartburn. The more I read the side effects everyone has been having, the less I really want to take these meds. I already feel extremely tired (fatigued), I ache all the time, I am up & down constantly at night because I just can’t sleep, I have already been having some minor hair loss since all the palpitations have started, I have been attempting to lose weight so I really don’t want to have it put back on, my ankles swell some now because I am on my feet all day at work. Why do I want to be on a medication that is going to INCREASE these affects????
Now I am more nervous than I was before! My BP has been lower than normal for me (and I haven’t even started taking Atenolol yet) the last two times it was checked it was 102/78 and 100/74, my pulse normally runs between 82 and 90 (that has ALWAYS been fast even as a child).. what to do, what to do….

Lorraine, backing off Atenolol is not easy. I tapered off very slowly and felt the same symptoms you are feeling. When I stopped taking it, on the first day I had “bounce back” reactions, which are a bit scary, (dizzy, headache, heart pounding) then each day it got better and by the 4th day, I felt normal again. I stopped Atenolol on August 4th after taking it for 3 years. Go off this drug carefully and with a doctor’s advice.
I’m here to tell you, once I got off of Atenolol I felt OK. I had hair loss while taking it, but now, my hair is (just now) showing some signs of filling in and growing back. My doc put me on it without telling me about side affects or really knowing why I had heart palpitations. You have to fight for information and good care and do what you feel is right for you. Good luck!

I’m guessing you’re feeling bad again, without a BP med? If that’s the case, you’ll either need to go back on or get a different med. But if you weren’t liking the atenolol in the first place, then I’d suggest you go back to the dr. and say LISTEN!!!, then continue with what you want to say. Or find another MD.

I was started on atenolol for more than a year now. Two weeks back, I stopped taking this without the knowledge of my doctor. Can I start taking atenolol 25mg again without telling my doctor?

I was weaned off 50g per day Atenolol down to half a tablet two weeks ago, and I feel awful. I was on it for High BP now I am shaking and unsteady and can hear my heart bests all through my body especially at night, has anyone else had this experience and will it go away I am NOT taking any more Atenolol!

You may have dropped something from your diet that was inhibiting the side affects of atenolol.
At each step in weaning off you may experience a quicker pulse – it helps to be in a situation where you can relax.
I will be off of it 1 year next month (after 10+years) and feel 100% better than I did while taking it.
I regret letting myself be put on this drug without having found out why my BP was elevated.
(I did and its tied to allergies – worst result would mimic flu or stomach virus – mild result would just be a low fever- my normal temp is 97.2 to 97.6 – 98.6 to me is higher temp – try explaining that one to a doctor).

I have been taking Atenolol for 15+ years, 25 mg once a day. I’m a 40-year old female; I was diagnosed with high normal BP (skimming the edge of official hypertension) and arrhythmias at 25. My father had HBP and arrhythmias as well, and died at 50 of a heart attack, so putting me on Atenolol (and for a short while, Accupril–I’m not on that anymore) was partly reactionary, partly hereditary, partly anxiety.
I have not really had any of the side effects you all have been describing… until two weeks ago. I recently changed my diet (three months now) to a strict vegetarian/almost vegan diet (I eat the occasional fish, but no meat, eggs, or dairy) due to being diagnosed with a fatty liver. I also have lost 14 pounds–not a big number in the grand scheme of things, but I think these two things have wreaked havoc with my body in such a way that I’m now experiencing side effects.
Two weeks ago I noticed I was dizzy upon waking up and trying to get out of bed. I was also slightly nauseated and fatigued. This past weekend I started getting short of breath. I took my last 25 mg dose Saturday night. I was still feeling rotten over the holiday weekend, and I wound up going to the ER on Monday to make sure it was a reaction from the Atenolol and not anything more serious. The ER doc seemed to think I had too much beta blocker in my system. I saw my primary care doctor yesterday, and she put me back on the Atenolol, just now at 12.5 mg once a day. Seriously, I’m wondering if I should even continue bothering at this point. Yesterday, before I took the pill, I did have some elevated pulse rates, but the dizziness was gone. This morning, after last night’s 12.5 mg dose, I woke up dizzy again.
I have a follow-up appointment with my doctor next week, and I intend to let her know I don’t want to be on this medication any more. It used to work for me; now it’s not. Seems like a no-brainer to me; why keep taking a med that isn’t working?
I’d really like to just watch my BP for a couple of months and see what it does… I intend to stay on this eating plan, so I’m expecting to lose more weight and get healthier in general. I don’t want to be on any more medication than necessary, and I’m hopeful that I can now control my BP with diet and exercise.

Carolyn, I am sorry to hear of your health issues.. I am also on atenolol for High BP… I feel fine now, I have been on it for only 2 months.. My side effects are reduced appetite and feeling tired off and on. BP is great now 120/70 before 190/80
I have also been taking a natural supplement called L-arginine Plus… this was formulated by a doctor to lower high BP and cholesterol…
It helps with my aches and pains and energy level,and my cholesterol is very good …and my dr.gave me thumbs up on it.
I am 52 and hope to get off med. soon.

Thanks TS,
Yes I understand about the inconvenience of being on the diet, it’s so difficult.
I don’t eat out because I have agorophobia so it’s ok for me lol.
Not noticed the bloating but I do have less pain and less trips to the toilet.
I had the test for celiac but it came back negative. However my friend is celiac and is totally convinced I have it. So that’s why I started the diet. I still have the rash and still feel awful.
Never know though, my friend said it took six weeks before she felt better and of course I am still taking the dreadful beta blockers.

I am not sure if there is a connection between high blood pressure, taking beta blockers and gluten intolerance in some people or not. But it has cropped up several times when reading the thread on this site. Of course that could be coincidence. Going gluten free made a huge difference for me and gave me a whole lot more energy and sorted out the bowel problems, bloating etc. But it is a problem when eating out. And I miss being able to grab a sandwich or a bowl of pasta without thinking about the consequences. Doctor wanted me to come off gluten free diet for six weeks so he could test for coeliac disease but I could not manage it with everything else going on – and I seem to have found my own cure. Good luck SA!

I have been taking this medication for three weeks. now…. I am also taking this with my antidepressant prozac and 25mg lamotrigine….. I have severe dizzy spells, have fallen, nausea, but the dizziness is the worst…. I stopped taking aletenol for two days now, dizzy spells have subsided somewhat…… any further suggestions?

TS. That’s strange I started gluten free diet two weeks ago.
I was fed up going to the toilet at least four times a day. Also it was wrong colour!!!! Too much information lol
Anyway cut a long story short, I am now going once a day. Hurrah.!
So will stick with gluten free for a bit longer to see what happens, I was hoping I would feel better in myself, I don’t I actually feel worse.
Still small steps you never know.

Thank you everyone for your comments.
Most helpful.
Well I am trying to sort myself out !!!!
My doc is leaving this week and apparently getting a new one. So I will wait and see the new one next week.
It’s like a second opinion, I am sure the other doc just had me down as anxiety.
RP. The doctor who said stay on them to damp down your anxiety was in fact a heart consultant. I had paid. £200. To see him privately. Waste of Monet me thinks.
Anyway will let you know what new doc says.
I have had some blood tests taken because they want to check if I have factor v Leiden. My daughter has it they have only just found it. She had four miscarriages and they wondered why. So now because I need a hip replacement (yikkkkkkks)
They want to see if I have it because of the clotting after operation.
So I will go to see him for results of that.
Thanks once again for your replies.

You have a right as an NHS patient to a second opinion so don’t take “no” for an answer.

Thank you so much for all the comments on this site. Reading them has really helped me. I am going to tell you a bit about my experience and hope it helps others. I am female and 59 and also live in UK.
Originally started taking Atenolol 7 years ago to deal with migraines. At same time it was found I had very high BP, so when the Atenolol was ineffective in controlling that despite dose of 50mg they added candesartan (similar to losartan), an arb. Atenolol does stop migraines though, at least in my case. Living without them has been very good. However, candesartan also was not terribly efficient in reducing blood pressure so hygroton, a thiazide diuretic, was added.
That was brilliant – ankle swelling and some of the other side effects vanished and for first time I started to feel well. At the same time as all this I had started taking a low but gradually reducing hormone to deal with my menopausal symptoms, as I thought, viz depression, and sort of non-specific flu like symptoms ie I just felt generally dreadful and put this down to menopause.
Eventually, two years ago I had to give up work as a university teacher, as I thought reducing stress would help to lower BP and that changes in lifestyle might be the key. It had zero effect on the BP readings but being retired has other compensations. Now the light is slowly dawning after reading the comments from others on this site. It is very difficult to disentangle all the drug side effects and ones own life changes from each other.
Earlier this year a routine test showed I had very low potassium and indeed I was hospitalised twice with this – but not in the end treated except with an upping of the dose of potassium supplements. I was taken off the thiazide diuretic and put on a calcium channel blocker as diuretics reduce potassium, but despite taking potassium supplements, eating bananas etc the problem remained. The calcium channel blocker also seemed to be effective in controlling BP.
All through it I have had high BP and low potassium, so the latest is that I am now seeing an endocrinologist about possible Conn’s syndrome. This causes high BP and low potassium but taking all the drugs masks the effects.
What has completely shocked me is that the endocrinologist calmly rang me up after the hospital appointment and insisted I come off ALL the drugs for six weeks, after which I can have blood tests for Conn’s syndrome, which I have very reluctantly done, and I have gone cold turkey for nearly a week now. After four days feeling fine back came a migraine sort of headache, nausea, feeling terrible etc. Also of course I get night sweats as not taking hormones any more.
I have got to survive until 1 October when I have the blood tests in hospital. But now I am also wondering what if anything I should go back to after that assuming tests are negative. If I have Conn’s syndrome I will presumably have to have some surgery to remove the tumour on my adrenal gland, but there is no certainty that this exists.
I have persuaded (my idea!!) the local doctor to monitor my BP and potassium in the meantime (weekly). I feel let down by doctors. I have also gone round the gluten intolerance /possible coeliac disease route and am now beginning to wonder if that was an Atenolol side effect. Cannot eat gluten currently but maybe that will change? Comments welcome, and thanks for reading this tale of woe.

Well, this opens up a whole other can of worms, doesn’t it, SA??? I had no idea NHS would make it so difficult for a patient to receive a referral from a doctor, to see another doctor. Will your doctor not even let you try another med? I’m having pretty good luck with Irbesartan (which is the generic name for Avapro). Have you mentioned this website, and all the people who experienced bad symptoms while taking Atenelol?
One last thing…I’ve never heard of taking Atenelol to “damp down the anxiety” as your doctor suggested. Then again, I’m not a doctor.
Good luck, SA….

I’m so glad I found this site. I have had ALL of these symptoms since I started taking 50mg Atenolol in 2002. I am 48yr old Af-Amer woman:
fatigue
memory loss
blurred vision
brain fog
anxiety
irritability
attention issues
sleeplessness
asthma
hair loss :(
acne
gum disease
chest pain
numbness in right leg
pain in left arm
itchiness
WEIGHT GAIN even with good diet and exercise
I was lead to and began to believe that this was par for the course for black women approaching middle age. I looked around me and that’s what I saw of at least 80% of the AfAm women I know (Oakland, CA). Turns out, almost all of that 80% were on Atenolol/Tenormin (two were on another beta blocker).
I quit cold turkey 4 days ago and have not experienced any withdrawal symptoms. I lost 4lbs of water weight (I can bend over w/o discomfort in my mid-section now) and I am already noticing that I can remember longer sequences of numbers again. The brain fog is lifting and I’ve slept through the night for the last two nights– without Ambien. No itchiness, no wheezing. I pray that I haven’t irreversibly damaged my ability to grow my thinning hair.
My Dr increased my water pill dose from 25mg to 37mg eventually up to 50mg because, guess what? A diuretic at the correct dose is just as effective! I take one aspirin and a mag/potassium supplement.
Ten years of being fat and miserable! There’s ten of us women here who are going off Atenolol (the rest are weaning, not stopping like me). I’ll let you know our progress.
PEOPLE’S PHARMACY RESPONSE: We don’t recommend quitting a beta-blocker cold turkey. We’re glad you’re feeling better.

Oh thank you RP,
Well I live in UK so it is not easy to change doc. Also I live in a small town therefore I have heard of most of the docs in this area. Not a decent one has shown up so far.!!
A second opinion is not easy here in fact it’s almost impossible. I have been asking to see a particular physician for three years and still my doc won’t refer me to him.
I won’t give up I will get to see him somehow. (he has been recommended ) thing is he doesn’t do private so I got to be referred. Oh the joy of NHS !!!!!

I feel for you. I went through the same thing with Drs when I had lyme disease. Most thought I was a nut-job. But I was not, and kept insisting something was wrong. I also found a new doctor.
You might have to start from scratch. I don’t know why they won’t taper you off and try something new. I don’t understand the medical profession sometimes.
Good luck.

I was on 25mg for over 10 years and have been free for 10 months. I was also told I could never come off of it. Ha.
I found this and other blogs helpful in what to do.
Make sure you have enough magnesium and potassium in your diet. I did not have enough magnesium so started taking a supplement.
I am not aspirin sensitive and take 2 alka seltzer a day (instead of an aspirin) to control heart palpitation – skipped beats etc.
You can cut the pill in half & quarter it – go with 3/4 of it then 1/2 then 1/4 then stop — I went about a month with each step down.
Unfortunately doctors are prescribing this drug without determining why your bp is up.
PEOPLE’S PHARMACY RESPONSE: Before making such a change in dose, be sure to talk it over with the doctor.

Yes maybe I will.
I get very little from the docs at my surgery. I think maybe I have the anxiety label and they head straight in that direction.
I have obviously seen heart consultant he isn’t bothered in the least.
I then went privately and he just said stay in the 25mg to damp down your anxiety.!!!!
Have seen nuero consultant (have other problems migraine, which knocks me off my feet for five days at a time ). He said stay on BBS for migraine.!!
Phew !! Not sure about any of it to be honest

Maybe you should get a second opinion???

I have been on atenolol for over 10years.
I have EVERYONE of the symptoms mentioned on this site.
I am far too scared to stop taking them. I did ask my doctor and she said oh yes just take one every other day. Well that simply is not the way to do it because after 16 hours without them the side effects of withdrawal start.
My pulse goes crazy about 140 endlessly. It scares me so much that I can’t wait to get a 25mg down my throat !!
I feel dreadful everyday. I won’t list the horrible symptoms because as I said I have every one of those mentioned.
I was given them for severe anxiety, still have the anxiety and now the added problem of the worry of coming off the things.
I feel trapped on them, I hate them, my last doc (since retired) told me I could never come off them. Now this new doc says oh yes just take one every other day. Yikes.
I just don’t know what to do, it’s easy for a doctor who is young and fit and never suffered my problems. She simply has no understanding of how the withdrawal makes you feel. I can honestly say the feeling is totally overwhelming and so horrible I just can’t face it. So I take the horrid things daily and ruin my life.
When I was younger I was on 80mg of inderal and did just stop those overnight. It took about four weeks before my heart slowed down. My bp is always ok it’s tithe rapid heart that is the problem. Been taken to hospital with HR of 160 but sent home again with no explanation . They just said it was fast !!!!
Have since had echo on heart and had fluid. Around it. I am sure it’s the atenolol. Not that the doc said that it’s me who tho ks that.
The doc said they don’t know why I had the fluid around my heart, which has now gone!!! Or should I say they said its gone, but I think the darn thing is back again. Tut, drugs I hate them.

I am 69 years old I have been taking atenolol for over 5 months and I have developed-
*hair loss
*muscle and joint pain
*headaches
*diarrhea after eating
*tiredness
*pain in left arm
I am taking 100mg I would like to change my dosage or medication because I feel its doing me more harm than good.BYE

After tapering off, my Doc said stop Atenolol. The first day after stopping, was a bit rough. I woke with a headache, elevated BP, heart palps, and was light-headed and dizzy all day. The Second day, was better. My BP was elevated, but down over the first day. Heart palps only in the evening. Light headed, but less. Slept good. Third day, was even better! BP was under control, dizziness and headache gone. Some mild palps.
I noticed night my leg cramps stopped when I tapered off the Atenolol and they are gone. I’m on my fourth day and no palps so far, & feel good. I’m still losing hair, but hope it will stop soon. I still have lichen gingivitis in my gums, but it seems to be receding slowly… it may be too early to tell. There is definitely a re-bound when you stop Atneolol… even when tapering off to only 12.5 a day, but if you can get through the first 2-3 days, I hope, like me, you will feel better. I’ll report back.

I’m 61 years, F. I’ve been on Atenolol for 4 years for A-fib. 25mg 2 x day. It worked well for the first year, then I began having mysterious episodes of inflamed gums above my two front teeth, which came and went for no reason. (My teeth and gums otherwise are healthy. Then my hair changed – became thin, the texture was wirey and around 2.5 years later I noticed patches at the front of my hairline above my eyebrows were gone!
I suspected Atenolol, but my doc said he couldn’t find anything relating Atenolol to hair loss. Then it started falling out rapidly and over the course of the last 9 months, my hair is completely changed from being thick and full to wispy, out of control thin strands. My shower drain is full of hair every day. Went to a dermatologist, did a blood workup, said I was deficient in Vitamin D.
Three months later, Vit. D wasn’t helping. Then, my gums became horribly inflamed, not just the front, but all over my gums this time. My dentist thought it was oral lichen planus, but sent me to a periodontist for another opinion. A biopsy and lab diagnosis came back lichen gingivitis reaction related to medication, Atenolol!
I hit the internet and began doing my own research. I found beta-blockers are linked to oral lichen planus. I found this site, and THANK YOU EVERYONE for sharing your stories! After reading this site, the mysterious joint pain that came for 3 mos. and went away in my thumbs which the doc thought was gout, was probably Atenolol related. I had to stomp my feet and tell my doc I wanted off Atenolol… and I went through my research with him point by point and showed him what 10 days of hair loss in my shower looked like.
He is suggesting Bystolic. But agreed I can go off everything and monitor what happens. I have tapered off the Atenolol and tonight will be my first night without it. I began by cutting my day dose in half. for 2 weeks, then I stopped taking the day dose for two weeks. I did fine. Then I cut the night dose (25mg)in half to 12.5mg a night. I felt some flopping in my chest at night, but it was tolerable. I did that for 2 weeks. I cut the 12.5 dose in half for 2 weeks and felt the same.
Doc says now stop it. My BP is OK, heart rate elevated slightly but not terrible. I have to monitor my heart rate and keep an eye on my BP, so far the A-fib stuff is tolerable. I’ll see what happens when I stop. I’ll report back on my hair, gums. Anyone know about Bystolic?

Yes. There are very strange anecdotal symptoms. If you say it to your doctor he may scoff, but many in the thread have reported fits of coughing. I had a severe onset of plantar’s fascitis, almost like a neuropathy in my feet, and found it difficult to walk the entire time I was on Atenolol. My doc insisted it was not related, but it started a few days after I started taking it and stopped a few days after I stopped. That, lethargy, hair loss, yadda yadda yadda. I switched back to propranalol. I prefer the nightmares I have on it to the debilitating feeling I got from Atenolol.

I have been on atenolol for one week and I have been coughing.
Is this caused by the drug? It is not on the list of side effects.
PEOPLE’S PHARMACY RESPONSE: Coughing is not a typical side effect of atenolol.

Keep in mind that not all generics are the same, which are often produced by a different company. Have your pharmacy help you or work with a different pharmacy to get you a different manufacturer for your generic drug.

I have taken Atenolol since 2003. One time since then, one doctor in the practice tried to wean me off the medication. It seems that his schedule for me to wean was about 3-4 weeks. It didn’t work at that time because my BP went back up. Last month (June 2012), another doctor in the practice gave me a longer weaning schedule. He said he believes this is the safest way to stop Atenolol.
For the first month, take 1/2 the dosage every day.
For the next two weeks, take 1/2 the dosage every other day.
For the next one week, take 1/2 the dosage every third day and then stop.
I am in the last week of weaning and things have gone relatively well. I did have pounding palpitations on three different nights (not consecutive) when I started taking it every other day. Those kinds of episodes have not hit me since. Since, I may feel a couple of palpitations a day. On the day I ran errands, my heart rate increased significantly. After I came home, I rested for quite a while before I took my rates. Even after resting for a while, my HR was 110 but my BP was normal.
My doctor had warned me that BP was not the only concern. He said that palpitations and heart rate were also important when being weaned. The palpitations have decreased; the heart rate hasn’t been above the 80’s since that one day and my BP is actually running lower than it had been on the medication. It is ranging from 105/67 to 119/68.
I had all the side effects that the others have mentioned with my worst being fatigue, hair loss (excessive), asthma, gasping for air, weight gain, brain fog and acid reflux which I never had prior to taking this medication.
I have had to take no asthma medication after a few days of just cutting back the medication. I have lost 7 1/2 lbs without trying. I don’t have to take antacids nearly as often. My brain fog is soooo much better. I am, of course, hoping that my hair will return…..no sign of that yet. Will let you know if that changes.
It is my prayer that I can stay off Atenolol! I have been tried on every class of BP medicine except one and that one is not recommended for me. On all the others I tried, I had horrendous side effects, including symptoms of a heart attack and feeling so mean that I thought I was going to hurt someone. I felt purely evil!
Thanks to each of you for sharing your stories. I will update mine should there be any changes. Best wishes for all of us to be rid of Atenolol!!!

Laura, it’s great you’re getting results just from nutritionals – I try to go even one step further and use foods instead of pills! Try some beets for BP, about six to eight ounces seems to work for me, apparently on the NOx path. Also dark chocolate! Milk proteins mostly block the effects. About two ounces of 72% or 85% give you natural beta blocker effects. Almonds are great for magnesium, and of course bananas for potassium.
But – you should shoot for lower BP than that, even if untreated it’s even higher. Doctors now like it *under* 120/80, I’m happy pretty much anywhere in the 120’s and 80’s, I tend to feel like a rag when it gets lower than that.

If you don’t feel your doctor is trying hard enough (as in not doing any research on what you have) you may have to do your own research or have a friend help you out.
From Wikipedia look up Chest Pain – it lists many conditions – with links to detail pages.
Another option – heard of a person who after many months of frustration with their doctor – got a diagnosis from doctors at WebMD – caught whatever it was while it was still treatable.

Regarding the hives -You may have undiagnosed allergies.
Atenolol inhibits production of adrenalin (epinephrine is adrenalin).
Suggest you try unscented soaps etc & also a food rotation diet.

Stopped taking ALL prescribed pills. Now only taking Magnesium, Zinc, Green Tea Extract and Metamucil, and I am feeling great. BP is steady at 145/90 which is low for me, so this is what I am sticking to. Doctors just don’t know what the pills do to a person since they don’t take them.

I was put on this at 1/2 pill a day. I have PAC and my heart was beating a little fast, anxiety, etc. PAC is at a rate of 8 to 10 times per minute. After just over 30 days, I am getting hives. They come on quick, itch like mad and the go away. I have noticed bruising on arms, hip area and legs. I was told to stop taking them and return to previous blood pressure med. Now my sweating break outs are back, rapid heart rate, not sleeping, but the feeling of being on edge are gone. I hate pills! I need this to be controlled but not with this drug. I would hate to see me on one pill a day of these. I am to follow up with dr this week.

Since you are already under a doctor’s care, what does he/she say?
Hard for anyone out here to comment without knowing why you were first prescribed the drug, and what else you’re taking.
In my case (see above) it turned out, what with one thing and another, that even the 25mg dose seemed far too strong for me, possibly/probably because the turmeric I’m taking for other reasons is a weak MAOI and may be potentiating the atenolol. Beta blockers are known for generating a widely varying raft of side-effects, and if one doesn’t work for you, there are a dozen others to try. Might discuss that with your doctor, trying a different one.
Which does raise another question: whatever effects you *wanted* from the atenolol, besides the side-effects, are you also getting whatever benefits you wanted?

I just started taking atenolol and am have ridiculous side effects. It’s darn near to pregnancy symptoms. I took a test before I went into the hospital and it said I wasn’t pregnant then they took blood and xrays at the hospital so if I had been pregnant they would have told me. Now my period is almost 3 weeks late and I’m freaking out. Not to mention the continuous chest pain. I never seem to get a break from it. I am trying so hard to just get through my days but I am so tired and weak I can’t do anything. I’m only taking 25mg and its effecting me more than the chest pain did before. Anyone have any suggestions?

hi, another first time atenolol user here with questions. took first 25mg pill yesterday, within two hours my pulse rate was nailed to 60 whether resting or at moderate activity, so first question – what are the rules for exercising while on this stuff?
I’ve had moderate hypertension for about five years, have been on Azor (benicar + amlodipine, ace II inhibitor + calcium channel blocker) for about that long, and it does control my BP, but pulse often runs fast even at rest, so last year I started trying dark chocolate as a (reported) natural beta blocker – and it actually works for me, but it does take one to two ounces per day. doctor had wanted to give me beta blocker even five years ago, but I’d heard it complicated treatment of psoriasis (I also have) so when I questioned the doctor, we just dropped it.
So to the second question – in combination with continued Azor, it seems to me the 25mg atenolol is already too strong – after the first pill! Actually, I’m just about to call the doctor for the rest of my checkup results and about to ask him about this. I gather that standard dosing is 50mg once/day. He had recommended 25mg twice/day. Has anyone ever heard of doing just 12.5mg once/day?
Pills are already small, darn it, hard to cut accurately!
Thanks.

I have been prescribed this a week ago, and without a week into the medicine. I’ve been extremely fatigued even though I have been told to take it at bedtime (which I have). My heart has been feeling funny. I just feel like passing out if I am up for too long. I refuse to take any more.

Update on me here – The day after I posted, the next morning I made the choice to seek a second opinion and did. I made an appointment at an entirely different office, so I had no chance of getting pushed back off onto the original Dr. I saw, as I had before (after I asked to see another Dr. Btw). I went and saw an older male Dr., explained things to him, he took my BP and looked at what it had been when she (first Dr.) prescribed the BP meds, etc. He told me that it wasn’t a knock on the other Dr., but considering mine was just a few points higher than he’d like to see it at it’s highest ideally, he didn’t think he’d have even treated me at all. He said really, it’s better to treat the low end of higher BP like mine, with changes in diet, exercise and stress reduction FIRST before you ever consider medication. And as I’m still young, I’m not a long term risk so he thinks this can be handled probably just fine without the meds. He said he felt that I probably over the last weeks, with my several Dr. visits, family issues, etc… was stressed and that it’s very possible the first Dr. was treating adrenaline and stress symptoms, not a bad BP issue. He also let me know that my EKG she’d done, was good – which she never let me know about, so I assumed something was wrong all this time.
Anyway, so he told me to completely stop both pills. I asked if I needed to wean off the Atenolol and he said since I’d only been on it just a week and it was a lower dose, he felt I could stop cold turkey and be fine, but if I wanted to be extra careful for my peace of mind I could do half a pill for a couple days and then less than that and just stop. He told me flat out, this stuff can and does cause chest tightness and pain in some people and when I explained all about my back numbness and problems he said ya know, since I’ve been taking it and it’s turned up in that time it could easily be the pill. So to see what it is, the best thing is to get off it and see if the symptoms go away and if they do, great… if not, we can proceed from there if I need to. He’d like me to stop checking my BP at home and just relax… and in a couple weeks or so, just come in at my leisure and get it checked to simply see how I’m doing so I can tell if I need to adjust more in my lifestyle, or if it gets worse, etc…
I’m still in horrible pain in my back…. I’m praying it’s muscle aches and nothing worse, so *fingers crossed* this and the chest twinges go away as this gets out of my system and I get back to “normal” soon.

I noticed toward the end of being on 50Mg atenolol up from 25 for the last 6 months I took it – that it was very hard to get a pulse reading.
I had a BP home device that automatically inflated etc. I didn’t use it that often – but while getting reading to go off atenolol – noticed that most of the time the cuff inflated to the point it almost cut off circulation in my arm – cut weird pulse readings etc. When I took my pulse in the same arm, would get maybe to three before I lost it.
6 months off atenolol and I have a pulse that is easy to take by hand – gave up on the BP reader – & decided that how I feel is more important than a number that may be suspect and, with my heredity may be an okay number for me.
Atenolol blocks adrenalin response – and, in the final year of the drug mine was so blocked, when the smoke detectors burped at night I didn’t bother checking. Now, I jumped up and check to be sure that nothing is wrong.

The OTC allergy medication I took daily – nicely blocked most or all of the atenolol. When I did not take them daily – only aspirin – I had side affects like you mention & worse – so I weaned myself off of it.
I am 6 months free & I will never go back to these drugs.
Like yours the nurse and doctor panicked and put me on 25mg – it was during allergy season, summer, workplace was dry and warm, could not drink enough water during the day – so yes it was up.

Doctors just prescribe the meds, they don’t take them, so they really don’t know what problems they cause.

Seems like you put 2 & 2 together, and know your answer. Go with your gut feeling, because you are not imagining this. ‘Nuff said.

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