High blood pressure (hypertension) is a common problem across the globe and can have severe consequences on health. High blood pressure is treated by many drugs, and beta blocker is one of them, which helps to reduce the blood pressure. As these medicines are taken regularly and for a long period, it is important to know the symptoms and effects of beta blocker withdrawal.
As high blood pressure can affect blood vessels and damage major organs, beta blockers are used to effectively control blood pressure and prevent complications. Beta blockers are also extensively prescribed to patients suffering from high level of anxiety and stress. Along with high blood pressure, beta blockers are useful in treating ailments like abnormal heart rate, angina pain and when there is an increased risk of heart failure.
Beta Blocker Withdrawal
The use of beta blockers may be reduced once the heart begins to perform normally. But when a person who is used to taking beta blocker, is asked to stop its usage, many other symptoms may become more prominent. Beta blockers help the heart to get normalized by normalizing the stress hormones. If the medicines are stopped, it can have reverse effects. When the use of beta blocker is stopped, it can cause some effects, which are called withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal of beta blockers can cause various symptoms which are quite unusual in their appearance and occurrence.
What are the Symptoms of Beta Blocker Withdrawal?
The following symptoms and effects of beta blocker withdrawal are felt quite often by the patients:
- Frequent tremors which can be severe is one of the commonest symptom of beta blocker withdrawal.
- When beta blocker is stopped suddenly, the problems in heart functioning, for which the medicine was prescribed can recur. This is a common effect of beta blocker withdrawal. This can again cause high blood pressure, angina or chest pain and also increase the risk of heart failure and heart attacks.
- As an effect of beta blocker withdrawal, blood flow to the heart increases and can cause increased sweating.
- Similarly, frequent shortness of breath even without putting that much of physical effort, is also another commonly experienced symptom of beta blocker withdrawal.
- Frequent headaches and migraine are one of the common effects of beta blocker withdrawal.
- Cramps and pain in different body parts even while being active is also quite common effect of beta blocker withdrawal.
- Another commonly experienced symptom of beta blocker withdrawal is feeling shaky and even fainting.
- Irregular heart rhythm, known as arrhythmia may also be a result of beta blocker withdrawal.
- Other common symptoms of beta blocker withdrawal include weight gain, cold feet and fatigue.
Some of the less common symptoms of beta blocker withdrawal, which are more prominent in patients with a weaker immune system include
- Depression and stress
- Insomnia and trouble in sleeping
- Getting short of breath even while performing the activities which require less physical input.
Effects of Beta Blocker Withdrawal and Diabetes
Diabetic patients need to be careful while taking beta blockers about low sugar levels and also about the effects of beta blocker withdrawal. As these medicines can lower the heartbeat, it may be difficult to assess symptoms of low blood sugar, which may be a concern in diabetics. Hence proper monitoring of blood glucose level, diet control and regular intake of food is essential to avoid low blood sugar levels, when taking beta blockers.
Thyroid Hormone and Beta Blocker Withdrawal
Besides the above signs, the effects of beta blocker withdrawal can also be related to hyperthyroidism. Hyperthyroidism has symptoms like tremors, increased anxiety and heart rate. As these symptoms are similar to the symptoms of beta blocker withdrawal, it may be difficult to differentiate between the two. This can make it difficult to diagnose the condition and there are chances of delay in treatment, which can severely affect health.
Cholesterol and Beta Blocker Withdrawal
The effects of beta blocker withdrawal are also felt on triglycerides and cholesterol levels. Sudden beta blocker withdrawal can reduce good cholesterol and increase bad cholesterol, which can affect health to a great extent.
Heart Attacks and Withdrawal of Beta Blockers
The use of beta blockers over an extended period of time reduces the heart rate and it appears to function normally. When there is a sudden withdrawal of beta blocker, the adrenaline in your body may become more sensitive, which can suddenly increase the heart rate. This puts excess strain on the heart, which can increase the risk of heart attacks.
Angina and Chest Pain
Coronary artery blockade is quite common and can often cause angina or chest pain. As an effect of beta blocker withdrawal, there are greater chances of chest pain and also of heart attacks or myocardial infarction.
Beta blockers are used for treating high blood pressure or hypertension. If beta blockers are suddenly stopped, the blood pressure can again begin to increase. Also the effects of beta blocker withdrawal can cause increased anxiety and stress, which can present with symptoms like palpitation and excessive sweating.
Sudden stopping of beta blockers can cause many undesirable symptoms and often needs monitoring. The symptoms and effects of beta blocker withdrawal are mostly noticeable but sometimes can be confused with symptoms of other disorders. Hence, it is necessary that beta blockers, if required to stop, must be done appropriately and only with medical advice. Doctors usually advise tapering of dose, which helps to gradually reduce the dose and also monitor specific health parameters. This allows the body to slowly get adjusted to lowered doses, thus reducing the risk of undesirable symptoms and effects of beta blocker withdrawal.