Beta blocker dosage and breathlessness - AF Association

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Beta blocker dosage and breathlessness

Pikaia profile image

Is there any relation between breathlessness and beta blocker dosage?

I have atypical asthma that has never really bothered me but for the past year I have been taking a hefty 5mg of bisoprolol daily. In the last 4-5 months my breathlessness has increased (I no longer have the breath to sing, or to keep up in a fast-paced conversation). My cardiologist believes this to not be heart related so I'm wondering if the beta blocker is affecting my lungs and that this could be dose-dependent. If it is, I can suggest I lower the dose; if not, I may need to change beta blocker. Does anyone else suffer from this and know the answer?

Apologies if this has been covered elsewhere but I couldn't find it. As always, thanks in advance.

13 Replies

People tolerate beta blockers differently. Some can take the full recommended daily dose of bisoprolol of 10mg with no ill effects but others are wiped-out with 1.25mg. You could try asking your Cardiologist if you could be prescribed an alternative beta blocker to see if this gives an improvement.

I've suffered with breathlessness since starting on 3.75mg Bisopralol nearly 3 months ago.

BobD profile image

My understanding is that beta blockers should not be given to those with asthma.

Pikaia profile image
Pikaia in reply to BobD

Indeed, but my asthma is very mild and thanks to other heart issues my cardiologist was keen to have me on beta blockers of one kind or another.

Hi Pikaia :-) I have well-controlled asthma and was prescribed the beta blocker Nebivolol because it is often tolerated by those with chest conditions although as Bob says beta blockers are not generally recommended for those with asthma.

I haven't experienced any breathing problems while taking it other than those I have during episodes of P-AF and that has improved considerably as has my high blood pressure.

Pikaia profile image
Pikaia in reply to doodle68

Thanks doodle68. Nebivolol has been mentioned a few times.

Hi Pikaia - I changed from Bisoprolol to Nebivolol about 3 months ago because of breathing problems. I have mild COPD which I think has got a little worse over the last few years. I had to ask to change to Nebivolol, I asked my Cardio he would not, said it was not Bisoprolol causing it, asked my GP and she changed it. I have felt much better on it, breathing much better and generally less tired and more alert, I take 5mg same dose as Biso. There are a few of us on the forum that have recently changed to Nebivolol, I expect they will also reply. As has been said above ideally beta blockers should not be prescribed for people with asthma, if it is I believe Nebivolol is what is normally given.


Pikaia profile image
Pikaia in reply to cassie46

Thanks @cassie46.

Hi, I do not have asthma but it causes me breathlessness at times. I was on propranaol for 12 years before switching to bisoprolol. This did improve things for me a bit. I think it's well known side effect so don't worry it is not your heart I don't think

Hi Pikaia, I would most certainly recommend you demand your GP to change

from Bisoprolol. This drug is very unfriendly and has many nasty side effects.

I speak as a user and am now trying to wean myself off Bisoprolol. I used to

experience breathlessness when on 5mg and 2.5mg. Now on 1.25mg and cut that

in half and quarters with a view to stopping altogether. No more breathlessness

and so far no cold turkey. Quality of life rules ok !!

Best wishes and good luck.

My understanding is you shouldn't use beta blockers if you have asthma but rather calcium channel blockers. I am prescribed veraptimil due to having asthma. Was on slozem before but this wasn't effective ( for me)

I have intermittent asthma and was told I could not take any beta blockers, since they could exacerbate the asthma. I take a CA blocker: diltiazem.

Atenolol is the only beta blocker recommended for those with asthma.

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