Positional vertigo

Yesterday I was feeling a bit "pre-AF" and so took a bit of beta-blocker (atenolol) and an extra flecenaide. I had a reasonably good sleep but when I rolled over in the morning, about to get up, the whole room went spinning. It lasted about a full minute. Now every time I change the position of my head, the spinning starts up, and I'm generally dizzy. My blood pressure is normal, I am in sinus rhythm, and the doctor couldn't see anything wrong with my ECG. Has anyone experienced these symptoms after beta blocker or flecenaide? This also happened to me several years ago, shortly after I first started taking medication for AF, but at the time I didn't make any connection, and assumed it was an inner ear infection (which it still could be, I really don't know).

31 Replies

  • Sorry to hear this as it doesn't sound nice. I took 150mgs of flecainide at 6am and 6pm and atenolol (25mgs) before bed for about eight months with no problems like that. But I haven't taken beta blocker plus flecainide together.

  • I don't know but it's good that you take the beta blocker with flecanide as it's safer if you have a beta blocker or channel blocker with it

  • I get this out of the blue occasionally ever since having viral labrynthitis several years ago. Not connected to any meds in my case and stemetil usually sorts ot out in a day or so.

  • I hope it sorts itself out. I am booked to fly from Sydney to Toronto tomorrow early morning. Right now, I cannot imagine walking down the road, let alone flying.

  • I do hope you get to go to Toronto, Thomps. I can imagine how uncertain you must feel. let us know if all goes well.

  • I've had the same symptoms with viral labrynthitis a while back - it recurs occasionally with decreasing severity. Doc said it had nothing to do with AF and meds but you might be better to get it checked out.

  • My doctor prescribed betahistine. I took the first tablet but cannot detect any improvement. The dizziness is HORRIBLE :( How did you cope?

  • Mine was so bad I was sick every time time I moved and had to miss a race meeting for the first time ever. The stemitil stopped the sickness but it was about three days before I started to feel better. Each time I have had it lasts less time and last one was only a day.

  • I was prescribed an anti-sickness drug but I didn't like the sound of it and kept it for real emergencies. The vertigo was at its worst in the mornings and when I raised my head to look up high, so I changed position very slowly on rising and tried to avoid tipping my head back or leaning forward suddenly.

    I don't know how much of the drug one has to take before there is improvement but I'm not sure that it even targets the vertigo - just the nausea? Also, because the darned thing is viral, there is no tablet which shifts.

    Sympathies to you.

  • Thank you so much - at the moment, the dizziness is just so severe, that if I even begin to lie on my side, let alone put my head like that, it feels like the end of the world. I don't think I am ready to have that level of dizziness. Maybe if the medication starts to work, I can build up to doing this exercise.

  • I took Bisoprolol and Flecainide together for about 8 weeks but that is almost 2 years ago. Don't recall anything like that happening to me but I do recall odd dizziness if I got up quickly but suspect that is unrelated.

  • I have experienced this horrible dizziness. A few years ago upon awakening in morning it felt that the mattress was spinning and I couldn't fixate my eyes. When it stopped I felt myself holding on to the mattress. I've had some more happenings when lying on right side of my head. Doctor told me its positional vertigo. I like you take Flecanaide so possibly the cause. I have given up trying to get answers and have been dealing by getting up slowly. Hope you find an answer! Gracey

  • Thank you all - it is reassuring to know others have made it through this (but I'm sorry that you had to endure it!)

    I'm normally more stoic when unwell, but a world spinning out of control feels apocalyptic, frightening, and completely intolerable - I've taken a couple of doses of the medication - betahistine - and trying to stay hydrated, and keeping still. Closing my eyes when I lie down helps, because the visual spinning is a major component of what makes this so troubling.

    I'm not actually sure that the tablets help much - maybe a little - but knowing others have gone through this helps a lot

  • Hope you feel better soon! It is awful and very frightening, Gracey

  • Hi there. It certainly sounds like an inner ear infection particularly when you say you'd been feeling 'off' prior to the 1st attack. I had betahistine when I got labyrinthitis and it was useless! Get some stemetil (prochlorperazine) That was better for me too. Good luck. I empathise because the dizziness is horrific!

  • This is really helpful. I do find the betahistine partially effective - although I need to take more than the doctor prescribed. I'm really hoping is resolves in a day or two, otherwise, I will try the prochlorperazine!

  • I have had something similar for the past six months. GP did the Eplely manoeuvre on me several times to me effect and finally referred me to Ent and I go on Monday. I took stemetil to start with but that raised my heart rate and sent me to sleep all the time. Now I take cinnarazine as required, again very sleepy but not as bad. Helps the nausea but not always the dizziness. I feel I am swaying all the time. Now off the Bisoprolol because that made everything degrees worse. I now have an existence not a life.

    Hope you will recover soon. Best not to go flying anywhere I would have thought and good job it happened at home and not when you away


  • Sadly, I really had not choice with the flight. On the same day that I woke up with this horrific dizziness, I had a call saying my mother had been rushed to hospital in Toronto and was in the final stages of life. So the choice was to never see her again, or put up with a very unpleasant flight. So ... I'm by her side right now. She is beyond speaking, but on three occasions momentarily opened her eyes, made full, focused eye contact with me, and tried to say something - she knows I'm with her.

  • Sorry to hear that. You made the right choice.

  • Special moments, Thomps.

  • Wow that's not good Thomps, hope its getting better. I have no experience of it or any possible cure but it just occurred to me chiropractors or osteopaths can do amazing things??

  • Funny you should say this - the last time this happened, about 3 years ago, I went to a physiotherapist who specializes in positional dizziness. I honestly thought she was going to break my neck with her manipulations. When I said "are you sure this is safe?" she replied, "don't worry: I have insurance" and then proceeded to torture me. I screamed blue murder and called her every name in the book while she did those manipulations. I left in a state of outrage, and then, unbelievably, it worked. However, I'm sure as hell not going back.

  • Always a bit of a gamble with these people and more so for us Fibbers as the Vagus Nerve can be upset triggering AF.

  • You have my sympathy. I was diagnosed with labrynthitis when I managed to get to the surgery after 3 days in bed unable to move. I was prescribed prochlorperazine. The second attack my friend called an ambulance because she thought I'd had a stroke. They gave me prochlorperazine injection which stopped it almost immediately. I now carry the pills round with me and take one as soon as I feel an attack coming on.

  • Thank you - it sounds like prochlorperazine is a good treatment

  • Definitely works for me. Good luck, hope you feel well again soon. I think we tend to blame everything on AF forgetting it could be something completely different.

  • A few years ago I woke up with the room spinning and felt like I had completely lost my balance. Walking down the hall I was falling against the walls. Was terrified I might have had a stroke. Got myself to the doctor who manipulated my head (the epley maneuver) and it took care of the problem completely. He said that a crystal in the inner ear had become dislodged and I guess the maneuvers help to get it back where it belongs. This had nothing to do with afib or beta blockers (wasn't on them at the time) for me.

  • Yes I feel something has become dislodged. At the moment I am taking betahistine and it does work, but if I turn suddenly I'm back spinning again, as though something has toppled in my middle ear

  • Am so very sorry for you. You must be feeling so dreadful. I am glad you are there for your Mother. I wasn't able to be for my Mum and still beat myself up about it. It's amazing how many of us are plagued with this dizziness. Unfortunately I think mine is more than just crystals as I have had the Epley manoeuvre more than once and it failed to do anything very much. See the ENT tomorrow. Fingers xx

    My best wishes Thomps


  • Thank you Stephanietee! My sister and I are by her side, reading poetry for her - Rumi, TS Eliot, Mary Oliver, Robert Frost, others. I am certain she appreciates the sound of our voices, and the rhythm of the words

  • I am sure she does: Robert Frost, how lovely!

    Love and hugs


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