asthma and beta blockers

hi everyone! im an asthma suferer who also suffers from the occasional panic attack and use zanax{alprazolam} on an as need of the first symtoms of panic is rapid heart beat which im told can be helped by the beta blocker group of meds.however,i also understand that these meds can be detrimental in asthma.i would appreciate if anyone could advise me on asthma meds are seretide 250 and ventolin.cheers, paul

10 Replies

  • Hi Paul, yes, Beta-blockers are contra-indicated (should not be used) in asthmatics. The reliever medications work on the beta-receptors in the lungs to open the airways, whereas beta-blockers - erm, well, block them, so reliever medications won't work effectively.

    Hope this helps,


  • I was on beta-blockers - propranalol - for a few years and found it ok but often found my attacks lasted slightly longer. my dr said the cause could not be 100% the beta blockers but if i felt so strongly about it she would change me to a non beta blocker medication. i once had a pharmacist advsing me against taking them both and said it doesn't always happen but its def better safe than sorry.

  • Hi Paul

    My cardiac doctors decided that I should have these for my heart condition in which I have a permanetly fast and often erratic heart rate. However the chest lot at the Royal Brompton vetoed the whole idea. However they did say that if I was stable and off steroids for a few months they might risk trying but would have to be in hospital. Guess therfore its also about risks and how bad heart rate problem is and how it affects you weighed with risk of these drugs.

    Hope that helps


  • thanks everyone for your views .im new to all of this computer blogging.its good to know that there are many fellow sufferers out there who are willing to share their experiences! it certainly looks as if there is a considerable risk involved regarding these drugs and of the opinion if the palpations could be controlled my panic attacks would probsbly improve if not stop altogether as the rapid beats seem to be the trigger.back to the drawing board.cheers

  • I would add to the cautions here - I once saw a man who had incredibly mild asthma (used a ventolin inhaler a couple of times a year) who used his wife's beta blocker when he felt anxious one night. He came very close to needing ITU treatment. It is different for everyone but being a mild asthmatic doesn't necessarily mean you are at low risk.

  • back again.last night i had a particularly bad panic attack during sleep.i woke up with the feeling my heart was about to explode,it was thumping.i took .5mg alprazolam{zanax} and used the paper bag method of dealing with hyperventilation.things settled down in a few minutes.surely there is some type of med available to asthmatics to control heart rate in not all that happy about the use of tranquilisers.and anyway i only use them when the attack has happened.anyone any views? i'd appreciate any help!

  • Paul maybe if you could explain how bad your asthma is it would help us point you in the right direction. How often do you have attacks? What are you triggers? \what meds re you on? have you ever been admitted to hospital for your asthma?

    have you ever had chest physio which can help you in an asthma attack control your breathing muscles better. I dont mean buteyko i mean thru chest physiotherapists? there are thechniques which can help with your breathlessness, fight flight reactions and heart rates.

    maybe also if you describe a typical asthma attack and how it differs from a panic attack for you? do they always coincide or do they happen seperately?

  • hi bowmei.hope u r well! i suppose im going off the asthma subject {which this website deals with} a little by coscentrating on my panic attacks more than my asthma was described on my last and only visit to my being mild.lung function tests were very good.i use seretide250 m.d.i. twice daily and seldom need my reliever.i dont think my panic attacks are in any way connected to my asthma,its control or its meds.

  • sometimes people confuse the two or one starts the other off. I wasnt saying you were going off topic but to be abel to point you in the right direction it is helpful to know how your asthma affects your panic attacks. For some people they do coincide. I would ask for a referral to chest physio to start you off with some coping techniques.

  • Hi Paul,

    Sometimes asthma and panic attacks can go hand in hand so you're not really too far off topic. I don't think taking beta blockers for your panic would help too much if your asthma acted up and you needed to use your reliever more because a reliever can cause palps, etc that can make anxiety worse. Ask your doctor about other medications that are good for anxiety that can be taken with asthma. There are many out there, no need for you to suffer. I used to have panic attacks and they are awful!


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