Feeling awful on bisoprolol

So I recently went to the Docs because I noticed my HR was going pretty high when I went running. I was hooked up to a 24 ecg and they saw some abnormalities so I had a treadmill test and 7 day ecg. The Cardiologist thinks I have an extra pathway so offered me tablets or an ablation. I decided to go on bisoprolol as the risks involved with an ablation scared me.. I'm only on 1.25mg but since being on them I feel horrendous. Fatigue and tiredness like I've never experienced before, shortness of breath and strange like constant hunger pains? ! I feel so much worse than before as apart from the high HR when running, which never bothered me, I only noticed it when I started wearing a heart rate monitor to track calories..and the occasional palpitations, I didn't have any symptoms. I spoke to my Dr Who said such a low dose wouldn't cause any symptoms but I feel like I've been hit by a truck and I didn't before I took the tablets so it must be them causing it!

I wouldn't even have known I had this problem if I hadn't started wearing a heart rate monitor.. I've gone from feeling fit and healthy to exhausted and ill when surely it should be the other way around?!

Guess I'll have to re - think having the ablation done now..or possibly change tablets. Hard when the Dr doesn't think the tablets are the problem though!

Has anybody else had such bad side effects on such a low dose?

20 Replies

  • Hi crafty,

    How long have you been on the 1.25mg, maybe you need to give it a bit more time?

    I am on 1.25mg and have been for a couple of months, no major problems with the drug, except cold nose, fingers and toes.

    Hope things improve for you.

    Kind Regards


  • Your DR is right that IS a very low dose but it seems strange that he would say you would experience no side effects from a drug specifically designed and strong enough to force your heart to beat slower....just saying.

    And any tablets are bound to have side effects - they are in the end toxins that are being introduced to your body so while they do good they also will have side effects.

    The symptoms you mention are all typical of what you would feel if you were on a higher strength beta blocker.

    Ablations have an extremely good track record and you are an ideal candidate. Yes its scary but definitely worth it.

    Good luck.

  • I think I've posted this in the wrong forum but thanks for the replies! I've only been on them two weeks.. I wasn't sure if the side effects may settle down when I've been on them a while, the Dr didn't really answer me properly as he thinks it's anxiety causing everything.. Perhaps I'll give them a bit longer to see if things improve, thank you!

  • Ablations are a doddle. I had three and all good eventually. Don't worry about it. Go for it and get your life back. Bisoprolol affects different people in different ways but I see so many people who get wiped out by it.

  • Thanks Bob! It was the 1 in 800 stroke risk that scared me.. That does seem quite high?! I do hate the thought of being on these tablets forever though.. I'd also love to be able to really push myself with running and exercise again. I hate the fact that I have to stick to moderate exercise now..it was my main passion! My appointment with the EP all felt very rushed and I came away with more questions than I got answers so perhaps I'll try and go back to see him..thank you

  • Recent evidence has shown that if you are able to get to hospital within 4 hours of having a stroke 99% of any damage can be reversed. So even if you WERE to be one of the unlucky ones the likelihood of any real damage from a stroke during a hospital procedure is extremely remote.

    Also I meant to ask if you have had a 2nd opinion?

  • 1 in 800 is actually very low, and remember you are in hospital so they will notice it within minutes and so there is usually no long term damage. My heart bypass had a much higher chance of death, but the benefits of both that and the subsequent ablation I needed have given me a MUCH better quality of life.

    Regarding the tablets, I had this same reaction to bisoprolol. I was moved onto Verapamil which worked well for three years. Yes I know some cardiologists don't like this drug but it can work well. However the effectiveness does reduce over time so once I reached that point I went onto nebivolol which seems to be doing ok so far.

  • Thanks Dave, that's reassuring. . It's something I'm definitely going to re - think. Well I've seen a Cardiologist and an EP. The Cardiologist said I'd either have to be on beta blockers for life or have the ablation but the EP said I could just leave it and do nothing if I wanted as I had probably had it all my life anyway! So I was going to leave things but then I read that there is a small chance of sudden death if left untreated so started on the tablets straight away! In the letter I received, they are not 100% sure what is causing the issue.. They said it's probably an accessory pathway but wouldn't know for sure without an EP study..

  • Hi yes I had the same thing happen to me fit and healthy then tablets 2.5 and couldn't go to work for 3 months it's now 2 1/2 yrs and I have no side effects apart from feeling heavy legged when climbing flights of stairs . I'd have the ablation but not offered 😒 hope you feel better soon

  • I was put on 1.25mg of bisoprolol by the cardiologist when I was first diagnosed, they completely wiped me out as well. I stayed on them for 5 months, feeling awful, until my next cardio appointment when I was changed to Verapamil and felt back so much better.

    My file now has 'intolerance to bisoprolol' written on it.

    Contrary to what your GP says it is not unusual to feel like this with bisoprolol. Speak to your cardiologist and EP again to see if they will offer an alternative.

    Good luck.

  • Hi there , I was much the same as you runing feeling fit and healthy till this af came along then bisoprolol and flecanide made me feel 80 yrs old I'm 46 lol , on a positive note after a couple of months on these meds the side effects have got a lot better and I'm now back jogging not running as advised by my ep but anything is better than not getting out at all , I'm booked in for an ablation as the meds arnt keeping the af away for any great lengths of time , good luck in whatever you decide but for me it was a no brainier to get it sorted and hopefully get back a normal life cheers Paul

  • I am on bisoprolol and Ramipril for atrial fib. I have a pacemaker and I am feeling generally unwell all the time. I am having lots of symptoms at the moment and have now been advised not to exercise at the moment until I have been investigated further. My gp agrees that bisoprolol has some poor side effects so I am considering ablation

  • Thanks everyone for sharing all your experiences. I think I might make an appointment with my Cardiologist to see if I can try another tablet whilst I decide whether to have an ablation.

    Runcrans I can't run either as that is what seems to make my HR soar! It got up to 198 when I did the treadmill test at the hospital! I'm sticking to moderate exercise at home but hate not challenging myself! I know it's obviously the sensible thing to do though.. its frustrating as I also have hereditary high cholesterol so before all this came to light I was always told to exercise as much as I can to help lower the cholesterol and now I'm being told to do the opposite. .so frustrating!

  • Yes I have found very similar symptoms. As a matter of fact, if you took all the references on this forum related to bisop, you would see a definite pattern. Breathlessness, fatigue, etc. My cardio doesn't believe me either! What a world we live in!....

    Bisop, if it works, can be adjusted. I have taken up to 10mgs...splitting it 5mg at night and 5mg in the morning....that certainly helped....but reduced breathlessness continued. I reduced to 5mg at night/nothing during the day and felt MUCH better during the day.

    I took myself down to 2.5, then 1.25 and then off altogether (just to experiment and I do not advise this!!)...and felt MUCH MUCH better, however, my heart rate began to increase from 130 to 140...so, Bisop was/is helping somewhere along the line.

    I went back to 10mg after a cardio consult (just to see how it worked) and am now down to 5mg at night....heart rate still 120-130.

    Wishing you all the best!

  • Hi Crafty30, I had similar issues with Bisoprolol and my EP switched me onto Tildiem Retard (a brand name for dialtizem) - I feel human again!

    Exercise-wise, I've been talking to a number of trainers and consultants to find out what I can realistically do. Advice from my EP was not to do high intensity training, but jogging / running is fine. I run at about 10km/hr and use interval training by alternating walking on a gradient with running. He also advised against exercises such as press-ups where you are lifting your whole body weight. On a similar note I've been advised not to lift weights above my head (basically, elbows must remain below shoulder-height) but I've discovered that using the straps on a Powerplate for arm exercises are fine - don't know if you have one available? Leg exercises, constant level CV for longer periods of time and yoga / pilates are fine.

    One more point if you are on beta blockers such as bisoprolol - you'll need to spend longer on your warm-up so your heart rate increases gradually otherwise your tablets are likely to take over and try and keep the rate down.

    Definitely ask about switching your tablets - there are a number of options available.


  • I should say that when interval training, I walk on a gradient, but run on a flat surface on the treadmill!

  • I can assure you it is!!! I took same amount and it floored me, I persevered for a month then told my cardiologist I could not take them anymore, he said ok I will give you what is called a pill in the pocket, in otherwords take as and when needed (meteorolol) luckily only needed it once, please persist in asking to try something else

    Keep well

  • Thanks so much for all the replies, at least I know I'm not going mad and the tablets can cause these awful feelings! I'm surprised my Dr fobbed me off so readily. .A bit annoying really! I think I'll go back to see my Cardiologist then..I've got a 7 month baby and I'm finding it exhausting looking after her, plus I'm back to work soon and have no idea how I'll cope with both feeling like this!

    CTG - Thank you so much for the exercise info, when I asked if there is anything I should avoid doing I was told to just avoid very strenuous exercise. . I love doing weights and thought I was safe with them! Will modify now...thank you!

  • I know exactly how you feel. Twice I have tried bisoprolol 2.5 and 1.25 and I was dreadful just like you said and it made my heart rate even more chaotic. I was also like you, from no real symptoms to being on Flecanaide, quite a strong medication, but this is much better than bisoprolol and at 53 terrified of a stroke so I have no choice. I hope the research is right that if you get to hospital quickly it might be ok.

  • It might be that the Bisoprolol is a contributor and is the straw that breaks the camel's back so to speak and not the cause. Worthwhile checking your SpO2 level regularly.

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