Beta Blockers, am I now tee total? - British Heart Fou...

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Beta Blockers, am I now tee total?


Hi everyone

I've started my beta blocker trial today and so far so good, its not affected my asthma. I've only taken 12.5mg x2 so far and this gradually goes up to 50mg x2 within 3 weeks if all OK. I've been given metoprolol.

However I'm after some advice. When I spoke to my cardiologist about beta blockers I was a little embarrassed but asked if I could still drink alcohol whilst taking them. I'm not a big drinker but I like a few wines when I go out with my friends. He was nice about it and basically said it would be OK.

I've just been reading the paperwork that came with the tablets and it advises not to drink alcohol whilst taking the tablets. It's of course immediately made me a little wary.

I will of course confirm whats right for me with the hospital but as its the weekend I was hoping that someone may have some advice. How they manage taking beta blockers and indulging in alcohol or does everyone stay away from it? What's the effect if you have a few drinks? Any experiences welcome.



29 Replies

Hi, I take beta blockers and I do drink alcohol. I've never been advised not to. I'm not a wild drinker either though, so I wouldn't want to say it's definitely OK, especially as you are fairly new to them. I do feel much better when I don't drink (even a small amount and I can feel it the next day) but I do so enjoy a couple of glasses at the weekend...and occasionally midweek 😳

I try to stick within guidelines (I use the Drink Aware app) but do find it hard. I've gone way to over this week so am planning an almost sober October.

Nice to hear someone else isn't 100% angelic. Have a good weekend ;)

laura_dropstitchHeart Star in reply to laura_dropstitch

And I should add that I was breastfeeding (and therefore not drinking) for the first year-plus of being on beta blockers, so all the more reason for you not to take me as evidence of boozing being OK! X

Hi Laura

You made me laugh, I do also like a cheeky glass mid week from time to time :)

You mentioned feeling the effects the next day, I've also read a couple of things about it being the next day after alcohol i.e. being more lethargic etc. I think I just need to abstain for a while whilst I get to used to the effects of the tablets on my body. Then see how I go.

I think I just had a bit of a wobble about the drugs paperwork yesterday and then hurtling towards the festive period made me over think it.

Thanks for your reply.

I hope you have a lovely weekend too.

Steph x

Hi Spatz76,

I saw my cardioligist on Thursday

I too am taking metropolol.

I started on them after my op 30 days ago.

I actually asked him the same question about alcohol..he said it is fine but i have not drank anything yet so cannot tell you what it feels like..i guess perhaps it will affect us quicker..i rarely drink to be fair

Hope this helps,

Jenny x

Spatz76 in reply to Dazzler142

Hi Jenny

Thank you for your reply, it was reassuring. Its good to know I'm not the only one that asked about alcohol. I waffled on a bit but the cardiologist just said look, if I was told to take tablets that might mean I couldn't have a drink ever again I'd question it too. I had to laugh!

I think the drug paperwork just threw me a bit yesterday. It seems as with anything as long as I'm sensible it won't be a problem. I'm going to abstain until after I get to my normal dose though as I need to be aware of how it affects my body without adding more things into the mix.

Thanks again

Steph x

laura_dropstitchHeart Star in reply to Spatz76

Sounds like a sensible plan. Good luck :)

Dazzler142 in reply to Spatz76

You are very welcome,

Its nice to know long term we can still enjoy a few with our friends

Do you find the tablets hit you? I do but my dose gone up over the last 3 weeks to 150mg a day.apparantly your body gets used to them.

Take care

Jenny x

Spatz76 in reply to Dazzler142

I haven't been taking them long enough yet to know for sure. I've been feeling tired but I've still got a couple of weeks to go to get up to my full dose of 100mg daily. Watch this space..... x

Hello Spatz

I have a drink on the weekend and I haven't noticed any adverse effects since taking Bisoprolol,

I also take Candesartan, Furosemide, Carmil XL, Eplerenone, and Asprin.

I think on all of these it says to avoid Alcohol, but I drink in moderation and feel fine so what the heck !! That's just a personal view though.

It will be a Sober October for me as I see my new Cardiologist on the 31st and I need to lose around 5 kg before that !!!

The highest strength Bisoprolol I have been on is 10mg, 50mg appears to be a large amount although I don't know if Metoprolol is similar to Bisoprolol


Prada aka Frank W

Spatz76 in reply to Prada47

Hi Prada (aka Frank W)

Thanks for your reply. I think you're right, as long as I'm sensible and drink in moderation what the heck! As you say all of these type of drugs probably say the same, to avoid alcohol but as long as you don't crazy it should be OK.

From the drug paperwork it appears the 50mg x2 is a normal dose for arrhythmia so I should be OK.

Good luck with Sober October and the weight loss! :)


Steph x

laura_dropstitchHeart Star in reply to Prada47

Good luck with your Sober October. I think I'll be joining you. Being at work this morning with a bit of a hangover has steeled my resolve! Ha! It's as much the crisps I need to give up, but I always find that comes more easily when the booze is out of the picture.

Do you have any top tips for weight loss and staying on the straight and narrow? I did join an NHS weight loss forum on here for a while, but I never really got into the swing of it. My weight fluctuates A LOT with fluid retention, so weekly weigh-ins are not the ideal motivator for me.

Hi Spatz.... So when I was diagnosed with severe heart failure back in feb and told I would need a device I too asked about alcohol consumption ( I felt bad even asking when potentially my life is at stake... but it is something I enjoyed with girlfriend like you and felt it would be a lifestyle change) this was not about drugs as I am not on beta blockers more about my heart function with imbibing alcohol.

What he said was very interesting... and I don't want to put a downer just want to share what I was told and how I have dealt with it.

He said that any alcohol intake does affect the heart as it can increase heart rate rapidly (Which with my particular condition would not be good) he also said beer is worse than wine as beer is putting more fluids into your system which can cause fluid retention and this coupled with speeding up the heart is not a good mix. He said if I did want a drink he would advise no more than 2 a week... wouldn't recommend but would not say I had to stop.

So all of this was a sobering thought (forgive the pun 😁) and I did feel that this would be a big change for me. Not that I was a lush... bit yes I liked a drink or three of a weekend.

However after much thought for me I decided that a drink just wasn't worth it. ( I also liked a cheeky beer while cooking dinner from time to time)

So I decided to give up the drink (gulp panick) I told all my friends... who were supportive and their first response was hey you must still come out ... Which was lovely.

At first it was a bit of a struggle so I invented ways to deal with those times I wanted a drink. When I fancied a beer I would pour orange juice and lemonade in my beer glass. That gave me my fizz fix and psychologically it worked. It felt like i had had a drink but without the alcohol . When i fancied a wine with dinner I would get out a wine glass and pour in either a lemonade (pretend it was prosecco) or a schloer... they even taste a bit like wine... especially the rose. And again I FELT I was having a drink so not deprived but without the alcohol. When I go out i discovered lime and sofa... which for me is a lovelt refreshing drink (and cheap!! I go out for a night out and come back with change from a fiver 😂😂) and if I want to feel the same as others there are lots of alcohol free wines around too.

So that was in feb.. .. fast forward to today and now ( never thought I would say this) but I don't WANT to drink! I never have a hang over.... it's so cheap to go out i go out more. I also go out more often as without a hangover I am doing more fun stuff in the day too. I didn't lose my friends ( I worried about this part) and although I don't always go out on the evenings out... we all have started doing more diverse Stuff.So we go the theatre.... have a well as pub nights... and my friends ( who do all drink have said they are having more fun now too!)

Now I have had my device fitted it's less if an issue so if I wanted a drink I could... but if I do ( on a special occassion) I will have a wine spritzer but probably will stick to lemonade.

I hope this didn't come across as don't drink... as everyone can choose how they deal with the alcohol issue and decide what works best for them... but just wanted to share my experience and how if you are told you can't drink... or want to cut down or give up.... it's not as bad as you think. In fact I am loving tee total me.... ( now that's a phrase I never thought I would say) x

laura_dropstitchHeart Star in reply to Heartlady1

I've really cut down my drinking this year (barring the last month or two) and also really enjoy my time off the booze. It's so tricky though! My husband likes a drink and I enjoy drinking with him. Don't want to be a teetotaller but I'm not good at moderation. Planning a sober October (now my book group is postponed - ha!) so will reassess on November 1st. Cheers! Ha! X

Hi Laura " in not good at moderation" was so me. I used to say I am 2 or 50! No inbetween.

I think for me it was a little easier as I am on my own...and I started to get really bad hangovers after not a lot. Which was probably due to my heart mis function. So this made my decision easier.

Good luck with sober October, not easy but it's good for the system to have a break. Then enjoy your tipple as I will enjoy my spritzer at Xmas 😁x

Spatz76 in reply to Heartlady1



Thanks for sharing your story, it sounds like you've got it sussed and found a way for it to work for you. I'm definitely an all or nothing person too and it will be an adjustment to have to consciously think about how much I've drunk (normally i rely on how wobbly I'm getting lol) and only stick to a couple. However I'm sure I'll get the hang of it in no time. I will definitely be trying nights out on the lime & soda for the near future. x

skid112Heart Star

I am on them too and I like a drink. I find my consumption is naturally lower as tolerance seems to be lower too. I also like to drink a lot of water to flush things through

Spatz76 in reply to skid112

Thanks Skid, its such a relief to hear people still enjoy a drink or two when taking them. I'm not a big drinker but life without my glass of red in the pub on a Friday night whilst winding down from the week seemed a miserable thought. :)

skid112Heart Star in reply to Spatz76

I still go out with friends, have a drink but I limit the intake and tend to have water as well. I like to have a drink though I do go for weeks without


Hi I started taking beta blocker in Feb, 2.5 mg, I changed to taking it at bedtime as it made me tired! , and when I looked into on line a lot of people do that, I go out every weekend with friends and I always have a couple glasses of wine, even with my other tablets everything has been fine, although at first I stayed in my house just to check I would be ok and thankfully I have been, I got my other tablets changed again last week so I was a bit nervous this weekend, but all was good, I hope this helps a bit, it is such a social thing and something I would hate to have to give up x

Hi Chaz1958

Thanks for your response its really reassuring me. I think the consensus is that as long as I take it easy and listen to my body, my new normal won't be be so far from my old normal. Fingers crossed anyway :) x


I think ALL leaflets say DO NOT DRINK lol.

Its trial and error with us all.your cardiologist says its ok so thats good enough if you enjoy a few wines 🍷 enjoy them

I am on the same beta blockers was gradually increased over 3 weeks to 50mg x 3 times per day.

I had heart surgery 10 weeks ago so have not had alot to drink but have drunk and felt fine.


Spatz76 in reply to Dazzler142

Hi Jenny

I think you are right, if the cardiologist says that it's ok then that's good enough. I've just come back from a long weekend in Dublin and had a few drinks and was perfectly fine. So full steam ahead at Christmas lol!

How are you on the beta blockers? I've been fine with no horrible side effects (touch wood). I've not been on them long enough to assess if they are stopping the fast rhythms but they are definitely reducing my palpatations significantly so that's a win in itself.

I hope you are doing well after your op and adjusting nicely to your new normal.

Steph x

laura_dropstitchHeart Star in reply to Spatz76

I am considering (dun, dun, duuuuuun!) going tee total for the whole of 2018. My Sober October turned into six weeks of sobriety, but since being back on the booze, all moderation has gone out the window and I'm painfully aware of the negative effects of drinking. I do love a good challenge and I enjoyed my six weeks booze free so I'm thinking it could be a good resolution to stay sober for next year. Surprisingly, everyone I've mentioned it to has been very encouraging (even my booze buddy, aka husband) and a couple of friends even said they might try it too. Is booze going out of fashion...? I'm sadly excited by this idea! :)

Wow Laura,

That's really some statement.i am in awe of you..good for you 😊

You must have will power..i do not..though saying all this

I hardly drink but it's one of the first things i have to admit that i asked my cardiologist lol and i do not know why.haha 😂😂 x

laura_dropstitchHeart Star in reply to Dazzler142

I have a certain type of willpower, so I am very good at giving things up completely, but no good at resisting day-to-day temptation/urges. I think it will actually be easier for me not to drink at all for a year than to drink within guidelines for a whole year. I'm still not 100% decided, but I think I probably will. It's quite good fun to shake up your own attitude to things and I'm sure it will be good for the other habitual drinkers in my life too. Will have to try not to go all evangelical about it though! 😂

Ah Laura you have more staying power than me! I tried. I managed about six weeks and definitely felt good not drinking, but in the end a big glass of pinot noir called me and I realised I wasn't ready to part ways 😀

Dazzler142 in reply to Spatz76

Aww thats great you felt fine and enjoyed a few 🍷it's awful worrying whether you should or not bloomin' leaflets putting us off lol

I feel fine with this beta blocker but still get a fast heart rate at times, i see the cardiologist again soon though.i had AF also post op so it is working 😊

Hope they continue to do the job and enjoy your Christmas 🎄🎅🍷

Jenny x

Spatz76 in reply to Dazzler142

Thanks Jenny. Good luck with your appointment. I've just had mine with my cardiologist last week and my appointments are moving to six monthly now. So happy to be having a bit of respite from being prodded and poked and scared. It's been a long two and a half years! I was told a couple of weeks ago that I might get referred to London to a specialist in my condition but it's not happening now as he's looking at all my tests/genetic stuff and corresponding with my cardiologist so I can let them do their stuff in the background. I'm so pleased I can enjoy Christmas and put it all to the back of my mind until spring. I'm going to celebrate. Small wins and all that. 😀🍷


Have had an ICD since 2005 and take 3x 160 mg (480mg) Sotalol a day in addition to perindopril and amlodopine. I m a regular drinker and haven't noticed any Ill effects personally. I do get tired easily though! My condition is very stable. Is anyone else on such a huge dose?

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