Side Effect of Beta Blocker? Can You Get Off Your Beta Blocker?
Let’s start off by talking about my point of view. I am a big fan of medications early in your disease process. But if you are progressing with your heart health and stable then it may be time to talk to your doctor to discontinue and/or wane off some of your medications. Now I am starting to see more research on this. The latest data indicate that beta blockers do not appear to be of any benefit in three distinct groups of stable patients. In this study they analyzed data from 44,708 patients:
1. Those with coronary artery disease (CAD) but no history of heart attack (31%)
2. Those with a remote history of heart attack (one year or more) (27%) ; and
3. Those with coronary risk factors only (42%) .
We know that there are plenty of benefits of beta blockers after an acute heart attack or if you have heart failure. What we are talking about is those 3 groups above. Beta blockers use for heart disease is used to lower your hearts demand by:
1. Lowering your heart rate
2. Lowering your blood pressure
Beta Blocker common side effects:
Common side effects of beta blockers include:
Shortness of breath
Loss of sex drive
Lead author Dr Bangalore (New York University School of Medicine, NY) report their findings in the Journal of the American Medical Association, published online October 2. They found some pretty interesting stuff. They found NO association with reduced cardiovascular events, even in the prior heart attack patient group. They followed these patients for 44 months and looked at outcomes of cardiovascular death, heart attack or stroke.
How long should you continue to take a beta blocker after a heart attack?
Well it is really not known. There are few things to consider.
1. Are you in heart failure? If so then there are still benefits.
2. Are you prone to heart arrythmias?
3. Do you have a high resting heart rate?
4. Are you continuing with your heart health program?
The latest European Society of Cardiology guidelines recommend long-term beta-blocker therapy only in patients with reduced left ventricular function.
Even though there are guidelines in place, beta blockers are being prescribed because of the perception that they are perhaps beneficial. But physicians should be extra careful in making those exceptions.
There are lots of patients who have had a heart attack, stent or bypass and are still on beta blockers but they are stable. This is something to discuss with your physician. Beta blockers should not be used to treat high blood pressure, even though beta blockers are still widely used for high blood pressure despite the fact that it has been downgraded by many high blood pressure societies. If you have high blood pressure there are better drugs for treatment.
As always we are available to answer any questions that you may have.