The People's Perspective on Medicine



Corgard (generic name nadolol) 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. Corgard helps block such reactions.

This medicine is normally prescribed for hypertension or chest pain caused by angina.

Although the FDA has not specifically approved its use for other purposes, doctors have prescribed Corgard to treat glaucoma, irregular heart rhythms, tremor, bleeding from the esophagus and performance anxiety such as stage fright.

It has also been used to help prevent migraine headaches. The dose will vary depending upon the condition being treated.

Side Effects and Interactions of Corgard (nadolol)

Corgard can cause a number of side effects including slow heart rate, cold hands and feet, insomnia, nightmares, blurred vision and sexual difficulties. Symptoms of nerve tingling, dizziness, nausea, stomach ache, gas, diarrhea, indigestion, rash, arthritis and muscle pain trouble some people.

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 Corgard 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.

Notify your physician promptly of any adverse reactions, especially breathing difficulties, fluid retention in the legs or a night cough.

Corgard can interact with a number of other compounds, including several that are used to treat asthma, colds, allergies, diabetes, migraines and heart problems. Corgard and the blood pressure medicine Catapres may not mix well, but neither one should be stopped suddenly.

An allergic reaction to penicillin or ampicilin may be more severe in an individual taking Corgard.

Arthritis medicine and aspirin may reduce its effectiveness.

A barbiturate such as Fiorinal or a tuberculosis medicine like Rifadin could also interfere with Corgard’s effectiveness.

Check with your doctor and pharmacist to make sure Corgard is safe in combination with any other drugs you may take.

Special Precautions of Corgard (nadolol)

Some people should rarely, if ever, take beta blockers like Corgard. Asthmatics and patients with other respiratory problems are especially vulnerable, as these drugs can make breathing worse. People with heart failure must also be extremely cautious if prescribed beta lockers as the medicine could lead to cardiac complications.

Never stop taking any beta blocker medication abruptly unless you are under very close medical supervision. Angina or a heart attack could occur.

These drugs may also make treatment of diabetes and thyroid disorders more complicated. Your doctor can tell you what additional tests and precautions you will need in managing these conditions.

Taking Corgard (nadolol)

Corgard can be taken at mealtime or on an empty stomach. If you find this medicine causes digestive tract upset it may be better tolerated when taken with food.

Because of its long duration of action in the body, Corgard offers the convenience of once daily dosing.

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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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I started Nadolol in 2003 because no other medicine stopped my migraines. It was a very high dose and I soon figured out that a lower dose worked just as well. Also, I figured out that I did not need to take it exactly right. It wasn’t for blood pressure. I haven’t had flutters or anything. I started at 120mg at night and now I take 80mg about every 3 days. I can feel when I need to take it because my face feels fuller and more flushed. I take it as a sign that my blood pressure is slightly elevated. This works for me. I have taken as little as 40mg each day, or even 20mg each day, but I get headaches if I skip days at 20mg/day. During my period I just take the 80mg each evening. I started doing this when I began to suspect that I was taking too many meds and they were affecting my liver values. They were. When I backed off, the values went down. Drugs are dangerous. All drugs. Not just illegal ones. I’m comfortable at this level with this drug. I did find an article by the AHA listing other bp drugs that can be used for migraines. If I have too much trouble with my liver values later, I might have to try a different one. Another reason I skip days is because while I take this drug, I find it impossible to exercise. My heart rate is far too controlled. Exercise is more important to me than headaches.

I started taking nadalol (40mg) about 4 months ago to control migraines and slightly high blood pressure. It immediately got my blood pressure to a normal level and heart beats to about 60bpm. It had no effect on controlling the migraines, but had a nasty side effect of gastric upset. As I was seeing a migraine specialist, who had sorted the migraines, I asked my gp if I could go off the nadolol and take just a blood pressure medication. He told me it was fine to stop the nadolol medication immediately and start the blood pressure medication. Big mistake, we left on a two week trip overseas just as I went off the medication. I had to see a doctor overseas because the symptoms were so severe. I had acquired heart arrhythmia, which felt like it was cutting the blood supply to the brain, and I was going to pass out. I am now waiting to see a cardiologist to sort the arrhythmia and go back on 20mg of nadalol to control the symptoms. Not sure if this is a coincidence with going off nadalol, as I did see a cardiologist 6 months ago for heart palpitations, but was given the all clear, and symptoms disappeared. DON’T stop this medication without proper advice. My GP should have known better. Hoping to get off this drug completely as soon as possible.

I have been taking Nadolol for a little over a year now. I am 37 years old and was prescribed this because of verices in my throat (varicose vein) due to alcoholism (1 year 43 days sober today) and the strain I put on my liver, spleen and throat. I am feeling like I ALWAYS want to sleep and I am sleeping whenever I can but I want to get back to working full time and have more energy so that I can get to a more active place in life. I eat very healthy diet, take supplements and I’m not overweight but when it comes to exercise, I fatigue easily and the effects can last until the next day or two sometimes. I wonder, has anyone tried taking it before bed so that possibly the day time doldrums won’t be so bad? I know this drug is a slow release type, so there is no real “weakening” of the side effects but could it possibly make it a little better if I sleep after dosage? Also, I thought it was only me that was experiencing sexual side effects, cold extremeties and loss of concentration along with body pains (I use a generic CVS version of Move Free Triple Action and it has REALLY HELPED). This has been most helpful to read that I’m not alone. Thoughts on changing my dosage schedule?

I am 61 yrs. old and male. I’ve been on Corgard 40mg for about 33-34 years. My blood pressure has been where it should be (124/72) and I am also talking to my doctor about cutting this 40mg to the 20mg dose.
My hear rate is regularly in the 50’s. On occasion it may also be in the high 40’s or the low 60’s. My energy level is only slightly subdued, and I do have occasional skipped or extra heart beats. These are bothersome and annoying and I have gone to the ER with them thinking maybe I was going to suffer something worse. After spending 6-7 hours in the ER I was told by the ER Doctor that I could
Leave and that these were nothing to worry about unless they became persistent. He said many healthy people with no heart problems get these. To me I get a little flutter in the chest and the skip.
My insurance company has now upped the price of my Corgard by 3X ‘s what I used to pay.

I have been taking Corgard (nadolol generic) since I was 24. I am now 48 so Ive been on it for 24 years. I have mitral valve prolapse and it causes my heart to beat very fast, have alot of chest pains, have high blood pressure and my heart skips. This medication was a God send to keep my blood pressure down and my heart rate down. I was on 20 mg twice a day and I now am on 60 mg twice a day. I have been having alot of coldness, even in my mid section lately. This has really been the only side effect Ive noticed from the medication. Im not sure if the drug is responsible for the bad memory but mine has gotten alot worse in the last few years. But now not only are my hands and feet very cold but I am cold all over. I also have been having low blood pressure (as low as 98/58) lately. I am going to try to lower my dose some on my own as I never had this much trouble until put on 60 mg last year. Today I cut my dose to 50 mg twice a day and I will continue this for a day or two if I do well with it. Then I plan on cutting my morning dose to 50 mg and my evening dose to 40 mg (over the course of a couple of weeks if all goes well) until eventually I will be taking the 40 mg twice a day once again. I am closely monitoring my blood pressure and pulse at home while doing this. I hope this helps. I too am scared of the side effects of stopping too fast and causing heart attack etc. Also, this medication, even the generic, has become ridiculously high and I may not have my insurance to cover the cost soon. So weaning down my dose will hopefully have 2 benefits, financially and physically.

This is Dawn again. I see I was the last one to write a comment. I just wanted to update on my progress. I have finally gotten my dose down from 60 mg twice a day to 40 mg twice a day as I was before. I took 10 mg less for the first week. Then 10 mg less for another week and so on. They say it takes 6-9 days for the blood level of the medication to level out. I monitored my blood pressure and pulse closely 3-4 times a day to make sure everything was going ok as I lowered the dosage. But I am doing well. Blood pressure is still a bit low. This morning it was 100/60. But I am not as cold or as tired as I was. One thing I want to add. When I first cut my dose, the very first day, I had a tingling in my lower lip ALL day. I assumed this was due to nerves since this medication seems to affect your nervous system. But it was very annoying. It went away the second day of my lower dose. Hope this information helps someone else. I really wish I could get my dosage back down to 20 mg twice a day. My cardiologist thinks that splitting the dosage every 12 hours works best for me (which it does) But this medication is so expensive! The price worries me when I think I may be having to buy it myself if I ever lose my drug plan! I want to take as little as possible and still feel well with all the benefits it provides for me. This medicine has helped me tremendously with my quality of life.

I have been off of nadolol for 1 week only. Today I am very dizzy,feeling hot in the face, and had to stay home from work. I have been on beta blockers for about 30 years.

I have been taking Corgard/Nadolal for over 33 years on a daily basis since 1982, when I was 26 and accidentally diagnosed with a BP of 270/160 (4 days hospitalization). Apart from a few weeks on Aldomet (Methyldopa), I have been on Nadolal, initially at 320 and 160 mgs daily for a few years and then gradually down to 60/40/20 mgs… which when stopped started raising my BP… For the last 10 years I take 60 mgs a day.. In addition I have been on Moduretic 5/50 mgs (also since 1982) and 10 mgs of Norvasc (calcium channel blocker). I am also a non-insulin dependent diabetic type 2 patient for the last 16 years.

Although my doctors tried to put me on Ace inhibitors and Angiotensin receptors some 15 years ago, I was switched back to to the beta blocker because of dry cough (lotensin) and then rashes (can’t remember the name). I have been extremely fortunate in tolerating nadolal as well as my other medications and of course like others I periodically question their long-term efficacy… The things that has worked for me… extremely good concerned doctors (who spent their 30 minutes giving patient answers, which I would demand if they were not forthcoming), moderate+ exercise (say the equivalent of 20 – 30 miles brisk walking per week), good food (lots of veggies and fruits.. I am a fruit-a-holic) and as I like cooking and have been doing so for 30+ years (I don’t eat too much processed food).. but again as an epicurean, no rigid limits and still like my lunch and dinner with dessert and coffee (lunch only due to caffinitis at night!)…

At 59 I am in pretty good health… and my beliefs… moderation, almost always taking your medicines, keeping a pulse on your well being and BECOMING A VERY KNOWLEDGEABLE PATIENT (know your medicines, know their side reactions, know the trends and research in your health areas of concern, be aware that medicine is an inexact science and Doctors are not Gods, and finally a thought that says que sera sera… after you have done your part of course!… Hope this helps…

Just to clarify some little things people said here. The Nadolol is a non selective beta blocker, it’s also a hydropholic beta blocker so it cause less central nervous system side effects since it don’t enter into the brain like the Propranolol or Metoprolol. Also, it act on the beta adrenergic 1 receptor as an antagonist and also on the B2 Adrenergic receptor so it block the effect of the adrenaline on the heart and also constric blood vessels cause of its non selectivity and is effect on the B2 adrenergic receptor, can cause also some trouble if you have asthma.

The nadolol don’t act on the dopamine receptors, it don’t block them or cause Parkinson’s disease. People who claim that have probably a genitic who predispose them to develop Parkinson’s disease before they start the nadolol.

So it’s effect is limited to blocking the effect of the adrenaline on the heart. It do nothing else. By reducing the effect of the adrenaline on the heart, blood pressure decrease and heart rate decrease also. Of course, blocking the effect of the adrenaline is not always good, it will lower your ability to exercise, you will feel tired, it can cause body pain and muscles pain as well and make you feel very tired mentally and physically.

I took it for a short time, I find it too strong for me. The effect also last a long time so if you take a too high dose at first, you will have to deal with low blood pressure for more than 24 hours and that’s not good.

I’m now on a short acting beta blocker call metoprolol. I feel very tired and all my body hurt. I receive a diagnosis of fibromyalgia recently but I’m sure it’s the metoprolol who cause all the pain all over my body. I also have hands tremor and can’t exercise at all cause of the extreme weakness and fatigue.

All the beta blockers will do that. They are helpful to control the tachycardia and arrhytmia but they have side effects who are hard to deal with.

When someone stop a beta blocker, always reduce the dose slowly!!! It’s very important cause stoping the nadolol cold turkey will leave your heart unprotected and your heart will become more sensible to the adrenaline effect so it can lead to arrhythmia, increase anxiety, heart attack, sweating, tachycardia.

The nadolol is a very old beta blocker, newer ones have less side effects… That’s my experience with beta blockers. I try many of them. The new bystolic have less side effects but it’s too expensive so I can’t afford it.

This drug has and is causing me much trouble. My legs and abdomen are swollen and painful. I have trouble breathing, getting winded just walking up stairs at home. At night and upon waling I have a wet wheezing that gives me coughing fits for a minute. I can’t go to the ER again.
Jaz Damon

I was recently on 20 mgs. of nadolol for fast heart rate. I did well for about 2 months then started having extreme fatigued and then joint swelling and pain and muscle pain. I also developed pins and needles in hands and feet. I’ve since weaned off of it. I stopped the 5mg dose 5 weeks ago. I still have symptoms but not as bad. Does it take some time before symptoms go away? I also still have some muscle cramps in calves in early morning mostly that last briefly.

Well, I have been off Nadolol for 5 years now, and I can tell you the long-term damage far outweighs the short-term benefits. The Parkinson’s disease is progressing and I take Sinemet every 3 hours now just to maintain some degree of functionality. When the medication wears off I am not able to take care of myself, much less my family.
At this rate, I will “max out” the Sinemet dosage in a little over 10 years, and become wheelchair-bound, tube-fed, and my life will be a nightmare for my family as well as myself. I am still raising grandchildren, and my family has no way to pay for the care I will require just to exist in that condition.
All this could have been avoided, had medical professionals simply looked at my history and questioned the advisability of prescribing a medication KNOWN to have severe side effects and result in permanent, disabling neurological damage. All I can tell you is DON’T take their word for it – research it for yourself and QUESTION your doctors! See a good neurologist.

I have a aneurism, just found out mt gastro doc wants me on nadolol 20 mg, I normally take norvasc 5mg, I’m having a operation on the 16th now I don’t want to take this drug I don’t think there’s a good reason for it. I need feed back!!!

I was put on 20 mg. nadolol about 4 months ago. Did well till the last 6 weeks. Started having extreme fatigue and tingling in hands and feet also some burning and pins and needles feeling. I cut it back to 10 mg. then I cut it back to 5 mg. The fatigue is a lot better but I still have the hand and feet issue to some extent. I am stopping it next week to see if the symptoms go away.

I was put on Nadolol 3 months ago. A few weeks after beginning this medication I started having severe abdominal pain, bloating & pressure, along with pain in the area of my kidneys. After a CT scan, ultrasound & an upper GI, I finally realized it was the Nadolol causing my problems. I’ve been off of it for 1 1/2 weeks & the abdominal issues have mostly subsided. However the pain in my back (is it my kidneys?) continues. Why?

Glad you post this, I’m thinking about switching over to another different beta blocker because Corgards are so expensive, I take Nadadol (Generic)but still expensive.
I’ve been taking Corgard for 30 years also.

Just came off Nadolol after 30 yrs…. Hospitalized for A Fib and low heart rate. Put on Cardizem for that. I also am having severe hand tremors, cannot even apply my eye make up and difficult to even text on phone! Cardio Doc says this is a non reversible condition from the Nadolol and I cannot resume it because of my low heart rate! No one tells you any of this when it’s prescribed !

I have been off Nadolol for three years now, and was diagnosed with early-onset Parkinson’s disease last year. Apparently the beta-blocker was masking the most obvious symptom, the tremor… One neurologist speculated the long-term use of the beta-blocker had likely contributed to the situation, given that I had a history of traumatic brain injuries. (I have since been told beta-blockers are contra-indicated with TBI history.) The doctors would not make a definite PD diagnosis until the signs and symptoms were apparent for at least two years, and all other possibilities were eliminated. I am now on Sinemet (for the PD) and as long as I take my meds 3-4 times a day, I can function at near-normal for up to five hours at a time.

I have been on Corgard for more than twenty years, out of nowhere I started have fainting spells, my doctor stopped and alphia drug for BPH and that did not stop the fainting. My doctor kept me on Corgard until last week when my pulse stayed at 32 a minute and I had a left branch heart block, the cardiologist stopped the corgard at once and told me I would never take another beta blocker. I now take 8 mg of atacand just till my body gets used to no beta blockers.

I have been on nadolol for maybe 9 months or so for migraines. 6 months ago, at the same time as I had a flu jab (maybe a coincidence), I started to get this cold feeling across the upper part of my back and this awful aching like I have flu. I’ve seen the doctors lots of time about it and next week I’m going for a couple of distasteful procedures at the hospital which might turn up some reasons (there are other symptoms which led them to go down this route).
I’m beginning to think though that just maybe the cold feeling and aching might be down to the nadolol. Does anybody think I might be on the right track?

Rose- I had muscle pain while taking beta-blockers also. Once I got off them, the pain went away. I still have arthritis, but I am no longer in constant pain anymore. Muscle and joint/bone pain are some of the side effects they don’t tell you about…
I also felt like I had problems concentrating, couldn’t remember things, etc. I was tired all the time, just exhausted. This, too, resolved after stopping the med.

I went off the Metoprolol after two months, and the tremors became severe and constant. It has been six months now, and I am learning to live with this disability. The doctors are calling it “essential tremor”, and suspect the long-term use of beta-blockers either caused or contributed to the tremor. It is permanent, there is no cure, and the only way to reduce the tremor is to go back on the beta blocker or take other drugs that mask the tremor.
I am currently off medications altogether, and coping with the heart condition the beta-blocker was originally prescribed to treat. I have found some relief (tremor & arrhythmia) by taking specific vitamins, minerals and enzymes as prescribed by my neurologist. This does seem to reduce the severity of the tremor and arrhythmia, but will not make either go away. I will look up the list and dosages, and email them tomorrow.
A word of caution – be very careful about taking any other medications. They all have side effects, and you already know what the beta-blockers have done to you…

I too have just gone off Corgard and I too am experiencing shakes . . . I’m hoping this will go away after a while as I’ve only been off Corgard for a couple of weeks. How are you doing now?

I am a 50-year old woman, healthy, active and weight-appropriate for height. I have been on Nadolol (40 mg/day)for 15 years, initially prescribed to treat arrhythmia and migraines. After several years of increasingly severe beta-blocker side effects, the doctor finally listened to me and switched me to propranolol (which did not work for me,) then to metoprolol (which is working ok but not great.)
In the 2 months since getting off nadolol, I have been dealing with not only the side effects common to beta-blocker use, but also constant tremors. The tremors get worse as my activity level increases, my immediate environment gets more distracting and/or I try to use my hands. The doctors are at a loss, and are sending me to a neurologist for tests.
This appears to be tardive dyskinesia due to long-term use of a dopamine-receptor blocker (which is what a beta-blocker is!) If anyone else has any comments or similar experience, PLEASE respond!

I have been on Corgard 20 mg for 7 years now. Started as a result of first-time taccycardia. In the past few years I’ve developed very bad back/muscle pain in upper and lower back along with some mild GI problems. I’ve been xrayed, mri’d and cat scanned and they can’t find any physical reason for the muscle aches/spasms/pain. I have been wondering for quite a long time if it is related to the Corgard as I was never on any medication prior to the taccycardia event.
Should I ask my doc to taper me off this med? I’ve luckily only had 2 episodes of taccycardia in the past 7 years and they’ve resolved on their own by the time I got to the ER. My doctor dismisses the idea that the Corgard could be causing all my muscle aches and pains, especially in the back, but there’s nothing else I can think of. Sometimes even my legs ache or hamstrings get tight. I’ve been told I either have some arthritis or that I’m developing fibromyalgia.
It just seems odd that I’ve gone from perfectly healthy physically and actively to having these pains after being on this med so long. Again, my doctor just brushes my suggestions aside. I’ve already had one cardiologist tell me I could try stopping it as I’m only 47 and she doesn’t want to see me stay on it if I truly don’t need to and thinks being put on it immediately after just one episode of taccycardia without any further heart testing was a rather quick decision vs. having some tests first and then deciding. When I mentioned this to my primary care he said he’d rather I continue to take the med. Also I’ve always had normal BP. I’m just afraid of all the warnings not to just stop it because it could cause a heart attack. That terrifies me.
Why is my cardiolgist saying try to wean off of it and see how you do, and my primary saying nonsense, it’s a low dose keep taking it? Meanwhile I’ve developed all these weird aches and muscle spasms, I feel tired, and I have noticed my concentration isn’t what it used to be. Could be the difference between being then 40 and now 47, but I don’t think so!

Hi Rose I’m interested to know what has happened to you since 2007. Are you still on Nadalol? This interests me as your condition and age are the same as myself. Although my diagnosis remains a mystery to my Cardiologist. I am being treated for suspected Long QT Syndrome after collapsing during exercise 5 years ago. My Cardiologist is being extra prudent by telling me to take 40mg Nadalol daily which i hate taking – I just don’t feel like the same person that I used to be and all this talk of Parkinsons after long term use etc, it’s terrifying. Like you i’m not sure if it’s an age thing but my concentration and memory is a joke, my libido is at an all time low and has been for years. I’d regard myself as depressed and withdrawn and do wonder if Nadalol is the result of all this negativity in my life. I did get a lot of muscle ache/back pain but found swimming to have helped massively. I’m big into keeping fit and eat well. Like you i’m too young at 47 to be feeling these symptons. Obviously you are now older since your last post but i’m intrigued to hear your story up-to-date.

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