Bisoprolol????: Hi all, I have been... - AF Association

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Rebecca198421 profile image

Hi all, I have been prescribed 1.25mg per day of Bisoprolol, I suffer with palpatations caused by anxiety. I have had 24hr ECG and heart ok, pulse within normal range and blood pressure is normal. I’ve looked at side effects and have been really put off.

Also when reading about beta blockers for anxiety this one is not one reccomeneded!

Is it wise to take?? I’m worried he hasn’t reviewed me properly or am I just over thinking it. He’s only given me a month so far and will go back to him in 3 weeks. Just worried I’ll take it and feel worse or something bad will happen.

Also read it’s for heart failure which I’m hoping I haven’t got as I’m 34 and no one has mentioned it at all!

43 Replies

Beta blockers (BB) are prescribed for angina, hypertension, heart failure, cardiac rhythm disturbance and anxiety. Being prescribed one for anxiety does not imply you have any of the other conditions.

NICE do not recommend BB for anxiety but they have been prescribed “off licence” for decades to good effect. Bisoprolol is one of the BB with lipophilic properties, which means it gets in to the brain and helps anxiety. BB are also useful in controlling physical symptoms associated with anxiety such as palpitations.

Bisoprolol is reported by many on this forum to give them side effects, generally dose related. My experience is that BB are useful for my anxiety even though they were not prescribed for that indication. I found Bisoprolol gave me side effects and am better on Nebivolol

There are a couple of forums on HealthUnlocked dealing with anxiety.

Hiya... I have been on bisoprolol for 5 years in varying dosages from 2.5mg per day up to 10mg per day when my paroxysmal AF was at its worse. Bisoprolol is a beta blocker so designed to slow your system down and in some respects keep you calm, this drug does not suit some people but personally I've never had any side effects.

If you had heart failure you would have many more symptoms and you would have been informed. Anxiety is such a crafty player on people's minds it trys to convince you that everything is 10 times worse than it really is. To give yourself a chance of defeating it you have to try and rationalise your thinking which is really hard. Just remember you have had a 24 hour ECG which has proved your heart is normal and healthy, the problem is not physical it is psychological. Although you will get plenty of advice on this forum there are no medical professionals commenting so regards medications and what you should or shouldn't take it's really between you and your doctor, all I would say is 1.25mg is a very small dosage.

I suffer from anxiety too some days so I know how you feel, I hope you find a solution and get a relaxing weekend! Take care 👍

Thanks guys, i will give it a go, google is probably the worst for making you think you’re going to drop down dead if you take something!

Merry Christmas x

Wonderful and insightful reply

I take 1.25MG for fast heart rate and I found not only did it slow my heart rate but it really helped with my anxiety. As strange as it sounds I am

So much calmer on my meds and I feel less anxious. I have had no side effects so far and tolerate the medicine well. I think within the first few weeks of taking it you will soon see if it goes with you or not.

Thank you, that is helpful. I’m going to take it tomorrow morning as I’ve got a quiet day so if I feel faint or anything I am in doors. Hopefully it’ll do the job and take the edge off.

Anxiety has a way of ruling your life and because I hide my own issues etc under a very hard exterior people don’t really see how affected you can be. Thank you for your info x

Do you have any trouble with shortness of breath? And how much does it sliwyour pulse down?

It slowed my pulse a lot it used to be 120 and now it's 60 occasionally 80 if I had a stressful day. With shortness of breath it's so hard to tell I mean when you suffer from anxiety you often get a ton of symptoms which are anxiety related. Sometimes I think I am short of breath but when I am alive and breathing normally an hour later I figure it's not that bad so I really don't know if that's just me thinking I am short of breath. I mean the amount of times I have thought I have a life threatening illness is ridiculous lol .Whenever I have spoken to a family member who has COPD and gets shortness of breath they told me it feels like your gasping for air even when your calm and relaxed they often said when it happens you absolutely know it's happening. I mean I need them for my arrhythmia SVT but to be honest they help calm the anxiety a lot and talking therapy didn't do a thing for it lol. I mean don't get me wrong if you suffer anxiety those feelings will still be there but you get this relaxed feeling almost like you are calmer. Hopefully they work for you and you don't get any side effects because when I was researching I was really worried by the amount of people complaining about them x

Me too! And google makes me more anxious. But I suppose the doctor wouldn’t prescribe them if he didn’t think they would help. My pulse is always within normal range usually around 80 except for exercise then I’m well up there. And my blood pressure is fine. I worry that it will really slow my pulse down and that scares me. If it halved it then mine is around 40!

Making myself anxious now! I’ll

Give it ago and hopefully it’ll help.

Thanks for you comments though x

Anxiety is a real bummer. I didn't realise that the vast majority of my symptoms on my AF journey were self-inflicted. I became quite agoraphobic, never venturing far from my house or if I was out, I always stayed close to my car. I eventually had a course on CBT through Talking Space. This was excellent for me. Still get the odd negative feeling and impending doom scenario, but I can now control it much more effectively. I had PAF for 5 years before finally opting for a cryoablation which has given me 4 years AF free. I used to worry all the time and be inwardly focused, but not any more!

So don't take it if you have so many reasons to doubt your GP's diagnosis and just spend your funeral plan!

Thats harsh! I was asking for others experience and advice, was there need to say that?! I thought this was somewhere taht you could ask things and speak kindly and openly. Is there any need for that comment?

It is - ignore.

If your reply was intended to shock the reader out of one frame into another I think you were successful. You do raise an important point: we are at the end of the day the final decision makers as to the medicines we take.

Hello I am also on Bisoprolol 1.25mg a day. I have been completely fine on this and it has helped me loads.

My heart rate was always sitting between 110-120 the beta blockers have brought that down to 80-100 which is brilliant for me.

The only thing I will say is 3 years ago I started with Palpatations and went to the GP they put me on a heart monitor for 24hours which only showed Sinus tachycardia, so they put it down to anxiety and put me on Bisoprolol.

After a year from that the palpitations for more regular and more intense finally in April of this year I went back with a video on my phone literally showing my chest physically moving from the palpitation.

I was then referred to a cardiologist who said I needed a holter monitor for a week that i can press when having a palpatation. This picked up SVT and Atrial Fibrallation. I had a cryoblation on 31st October of this year and still have some mild symptoms but I’m doing amazing. I was put back on Bisprolol by my GP to bring my heart rate down why it recovers from the ablation.

So my advice is see how you get on as I struggled for years and even though I do suffer with mild anxiety I knew there was something else going on.

Wish you lots of luck and hope you feel better.


I found propranaol was better for anxiety for me than bisoprolol as that is cardio specific and propranalol isnt.

Anxiety is for me far worse than ANY physical problem. I think it's because I was always a " coper" and anxiety made me feel a wee bit helpless and hopeless. Avoid Mtr Google for the beta blocker but have a google of Human Givens. It's a down to earth approach which helped me so much. Fortunately the nerve pathways that trigger anxiety/ palpitations can be be remodelled so you are not stuck with it. Enjoy a peaceful Christmas.

in reply to Bagrat

Thank you for drawing attention to the Human Givens organisation. I haven’t seen it before but it looks excellent. There are so many of us here with AF and anxiety that I wondered if you would consider highlighting it by way of an original post.

Bagrat profile image
Bagrat in reply to

I can do that Hidden . Have mentioned before but easy to miss on such a busy forum

Hi Rebecca. It’s so hard when you search Dr Google, I am an expert on it! I was on Bisoprolol for HBP and felt really crap on them. I had a break of a month or so weening them off by using half a day. GP said to stop for a month and see how my BP was. I felt fine coming off but after a month my BP was still up so got prescribed Slozem and decided that I wasn’t going to look up Dr Google or I would never have taken any meds, I gave it to my husband to read and told him if I complained of anything he was to tell me if it was a side effect! I felt great on them for a week or so and then bam Ectopics hit me like a brick wall. What I am saying is, don’t google everything, try them for a few weeks and see how you get on. I used to suffer with anxiety and agoraphobia just after my first baby back in the 70’s and was on lots of meds and we didn’t have Dr Google then. I conquered mine after 5 or so years by deciding to have counselling which strangely worked. It was something the counsellor said to me gave me a light bulb moment and since that time my agrophobia went away. I still get slightly anxious at times, it is built in all of us that fight or flight thing. I’m talk myself around and then I am ok again. It is a horrid thing to have and I have much sympathy for you. If you are worried go back to the Dr and tell them what troubles you about taking them. I also take Magnesium Taurate and I too have read loads on this and this is supposed to be good for calming the mind too. I take them for Ectopics and they are working for me alongside my Slozem and I feel great at the moment. Maybe give Bisoprolol a try and see how you go. They might just work like a dream for you and if not, well you can come off them and try something else. Hope you have a lovely Christmas.

I have had terrible debilitating anxiety since I was a child. Caused by my father and a not very Happy childhood. It has stayed with me the whole of my life causing panic attacks and AF. I am now 62 and am on Bisoprolol 1.25. I had problems with a higher dose as it lowered my blood pressure too much but now it's fine. I also use Bach's rescue remedy day and night. All natural ingredients. I would recommend some counselling through NHS Steps to Wellbeing and a course on managing anxiety. I have done both. Also exercise is good if you are feeling jittery. A good brisk walk or Aqua Fit which is fun. Yoga is relaxing. Don't Google symptoms as you will always find something wrong which really isn't. You're not alone in feeling like you do but you do have to try and manage it yourself and it can be done. There is help out there and you can help yourself a lot. Good Luck and take care.

Hi Rebecca. I was prescribed Bisoprolol 2.5 mg with Flecanide about a year ago to treat my Paroxysmal AF. Episodes could come on suddenly and last for up to 24 h. I have recently had the Bisoprolol dose reduced to 1.25 mg because my heart rate and BP were a bit too low on the higher dose. Otherwise, I have been fine on them.

Doc knows best (may not always be right but no one can tell you better). The vast majority of people will have no side effect with this low dose, you won't know until you have tried it. Some have minor effects that last a short while. Do not expect miracles, you will probably have to take it for days or weeks to feel any better. If you want a slight immediate improvement dissolve 1/2 a bag of Epsom Salts in a hot bath stay soaking in it for 20 mins, you will absorb Magnesium through the pours in you skin, then lay down for 20 mins.

You seem too young to have heart probs. However I kept myself fit (and still do) but had

regular palps lying in bed on left side at night, plus quite extended ones after hard riding bike. All properly checked out and needed a new aortic valve, then put on the dreaded

bisoprolol 10mg, 5mg and eventually 1.25mg side effects were barmy so weaned off the

stuff now and enjoying life again. Care with bisoprolol because what they don't tell you is that it inhibits the production of insulin in the pancreas which then leads to diabetes and you don't want that ! Merry Christmas and a Happy Healthy New Year.

Thanks, I don’t have heart problems as such, I have anxiety related palpatations. My heart is healthy and pulse is normal and BP normal and cholsesterol. I lost both my parents and since my mum died I have suffered terribly with palpitations and severe anxiety from wake up to sleep. My biggest problem is me, but the doctor is trying to help. Thanks for the advice on that. I have 4 weeks supply and back to the docs on 8th so will see how it goes til then

in reply to Rebecca198421

How fast is your heart rate when you have palpitations? Are your thyroid tests ok?

As mentioned by Amy2805 patients with heart rhythm problems are sometimes labelled as being anxious initially. Unfortunately the 24 hour Holter is not adequate for exclusion of rhythm disorders.

Non medication approaches to anxiety such as psychotherapy are not considered enough by medics in my opinion.

Rebecca198421 profile image
Rebecca198421 in reply to

It’s normal. It never really goes above 84 unless exercising. Thyroid ok, I do have a small goitre but not over active or under active

Bp averages 125/80 and pulse normally between 75-85

Go careful with the meds Rebecca they are meant to be for octogenarians not young

women such as yourself. Get yourself a bicycle and start pedalling, it works wonders

I can assure you, join a cycling club local and reap the benefits. They are fully guaranteed to work !!!! The feeling of wellbeing is almost tangible and very positive !!

Oh that absurd and irresponsible. I apologize for my bluntness....but it is. So medications are only meant for people 80-89? Not 90? Not 91? Is 70 OK? How about people who are incredibly sick that aren't 80-89? What about men or are they just not meant for "young women" ?

Joining a cycling club is gaurenteed to work?

I'm sorry, but it's not guaranteed to work. Yes, cycling is a great low impact exercise for octogenarians like yourself that have joint problems and I always recommend exercise you are comfortable with to ease anxiety but in fact strenuous exercise can makes anxiety worse.

Anxiety by itself is a health condition and also sometimes a side effect of one. TREAT IT HOLISTACALLY. Always. Medication if necessary...yes medication, diet, exercise, cognitive therapy, healthy habits, self care and again medication when called for. Anti-depressants, anti anxiety drugs, antipsychotics etc SAVE LIVES EVERYDAY.

Its irresponsible for ANY person to tell someone with a mental health condition that they shouldn't take medication and should just cycle until they feel better. Period.

Hi Rebecca,

I was on the same dosage but now I'm on 3.75 because I have been diagnosed with copd which sends my heart rate wild sometimes

To be honest,it's a miracle/nightmare drug because now I can keep my ectopic beats and palpitations under control but I feel addicted to it.

If you can avoid it do not take it as the side effects can be worse than the problem for some. Have you tried magnesium supplements? Magnesium is calming and is essential for the proper functioning of our hearts and other bodily systems. In small amounts taken spaced out during the day I find it works well . I also take Bisoprolol but am gradually reducing the dose to wean off as it makes me somnolent and gives me pain in the legs.

I was put on bisopralol after a heart attack but came off it because I suffered hallucinations- an extremely rare side effect. I had no other side effects from it at all.

I too suffer from anxiety and panic attacks; every pain is fatal, every spot is cancer; you know the sort of thing. I also have palpitations. I control my anxiety with self hypnosis. If you or your GP can find someone who can teach it to you , it's wonderful and only takes seconds to bring it under control. I've tried CBT, mindfulness and found it all rubbish. IT just didn't work for me but self hypnosis and relaxation exercises do. In Jan I've been told I will be put back on a different beta blocker because I had a heart attack and have a very fast pulse. I'm concerned but I will see how it goes because they do protect he heart.and if they help anxiety, it's a bonus.. When I had two angiograms and an MRI scan I was given a sedative and thought at the time, it would be wonderful if I had that permanently . LOL. After my heart attack I was told nothing; just given a discharge letter which said 75% blockage in LAD. I had no idea what that was and Mr Google almost gave me another heart attack. When you google LAD all you get is dozens of American sites saying LAD_ WIdowmaker!!!!! PLEASE do NOT google.

You can see by all yoru replies that an awful lot of people suffer from anxiety and an awful lot take bisopralol with no problems at all.

I suggest you get a second opinion ... my feeling is that this medication is too strong for mere palpitations ... it is more appropriate for afib. I get palpatations when l eat spicy foods ... perhaps you should see a nutritionist? I would definitely NOT take this medication if l were in your shoes ... you are very young ... remember, once you start it, you cannot abruptly stop it. Be careful. Palpitations are usually benign and not dangerous, but this is information that l have learned from research.

I would establish with the GP whether he plans that you take the medication long or short term. If it’s short term to help you over a difficult period then I would not be unduly concerned. I wouldn’t think it’s a great idea to be on it for a long period, as it’s not really addressing the anxiety problem. For this you need something like CBT. The fact that the drug *can* be prescribed for heart failure doesn’t imply that you have that condition. If you had it is most unlikely that you would not have been informed. I would go along with the recommendation, but discuss alternative treatments at your next meeting.

Been on Bisoporol for about a year. No significant side effects although took my body a few weeks to adjust. You are on a low dose so fingers crossed that you will not suffer any. Good luck and may the Xmas force be with you.

Thank you everyone, lots of good advice. Merry Christmas x

Don't worry, this is a small dose, and taken by loads of people including myself. If you do as you say and take it, if you react to it stop and see your doctor sooner. There are other similar products if bisoprolol proves to be a problem. The main thing is don't worry

I think that anxiety can affect us all at some point in our lives, but this year I have suffered from Atrial Fibrillation, Atrial Flutter and SVT as well as cancer.

So it’s been a tough year, but one thing I’ve realised is that you can’t control life, when it’s your time it’s your time. You can minimise risks sure, such as cutting out smoking, or making diet changes.

But, in terms of living a normal life it’s sometimes best to accept that we are not really in control at all, and as such why not just enjoy the ride as opposed to worrying when it’s going to end.

A great deal of people keep thinking that they are going to face impending doom, but it is often simply mind over matter. I accepted my situation and liken it to being in the sea with a huge wave coming toward you. You can either let the wave carry you away, or you can simply duck under the water and let the wave pass over you.

I guess then my message is don’t waste life worrying about what could go wrong, enjoy life and saviour every minute of your health, because yes one day it might not be the case.

Rebecca, I had palpitations for years and was told they were due to anxiety and stress. I had several 24 hour ECGs to check and they only ever came up with ectopics (palpitations).

GP advised to try hypnosis which I did but was a waste of time and money for me.

I don’t think I had anxiety at all but I do think palpitations may have made me feel anxious.

I was put on 1.25 Bisoporol too. For me they had side effects. They gave me bad dreams and slowed me up. You say your heart can go fast when you’re exercising, as it should do, but Bisoporol’s job is to stop your heartbeat going fast so you may find you can’t exercise as you would like to.

I also tried taking it only when I was actually having palpitations. This is known as pill in the pocket. However, It still had the same side effects for me.

Magnesium has been mentioned above as an alternative and I agree.

My advice for you would be to try taking magnesium supplements as they work for many people, including me. They are known for preventing/reducing/stopping palpitations.


I'm off Bisoprolol a dirty drug, terrible side effects but cheap. Carvedilol is cleaner and i have found more efffective.

if you have anxiety and grief is this the most appropriate forum? You might find a better place then here.

Thank you, I googled forums about the drug, and wrote a couple, the people on here have been so lovely and given great insight so I’m hoping no one minds me asking on here about the drug

Hi I am sorry to hear about your anxiety causing palpitations. When I was 26 I had a heart attack when pregnant at 8 weeks. In 1979. Since then I experienced high level of anxiety causing serious palpitations. Having a heart attack I was put on blood pressure medication long term. I was on Atanolol which cause my fingers to numb so It was changed to Bisoprolol amassing medication still have side effect though. I would advise to see your GP and discuss your case about tackling anxiety. There are therapies including Cognitive Behaviour Therapy that can help reduce anxiety. Also mindfulness and deep breathing really helps it takes time for it to work but it helps. This is in my opinion

All the best

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