Bisoprolol & chest discomfort - British Heart Fou...

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Bisoprolol & chest discomfort



I'm new here, hope this is an okay place to post this. Sorry it's a bit long but I'm at the end of my rope!

I'm mid-30s, no history of heart issues, and was prescribed Bisoprolol in June after waking up one morning with a constant "racing" heart and high blood pressure that wouldn't go away after a week. Dr thinks it's anxiety related as I had a lot of stress at the time. Initially on 5mg, then moved to 2.5mg because the side effects were so awful I could barely even walk from one room to another. Tried weaning off twice (alternating days of 2.5 and 1.25, then 1.25mg daily) and both times I've been moved back up to 2.5mg daily because after an initial period of a few weeks where I feel amazing I start to feel really awful and my heart starts pounding or palpitating or whatever it's doing.

It's making me miserable. 3 or so hours after taking my tablet, it feels like the left side of my chest is being crushed by a vice, my heartbeat becomes more noticeable (and often poundy), and all day & night I have perpetual cold-like symptoms (post-nasal drip, sniffing, and sore throat). None of this happens on 1.25mg. After months the Dr finally admitted I must be sensitive to it at higher doses, but has kept me on at 2.5mg.

Does this chest thing happen to anyone else? It isn't so noticeable when I'm walking around, but when I sit down (for my job) it feels horrible for hours, with the addition of feeling like maybe my abdominal muscles are really tense? Could this be my body's way of saying it doesn't want to be on this medication anymore? I used to go to the gym every day and my resting pulse was 70ish, but on this drug it sits around 60 or goes as low as 52 (and the chest discomfort increases!) and even months later I feel like I'm wading through custard half the time, especially when my bp is sitting around 99/58.

Silver lining is that most days the chest pressure eases in the evening, but it's just making the anxiety it's meant to be helping even worse. Would be nice to know if anyone else has been through something similar & if it has eased over time. I try to talk to family about it but they just think I'm over-reacting & I'm worried I'll never be free of this stupid drug.

Sorry this was so long, I'm just sick of going back to my GP every week & feeling like I'm getting nowhere.


49 Replies

Hi Fruitypies,

Has your GP referred you to be assessed at Cardiology?

I was on Bisoprolol for 6 months for tachycardia/BP episodes and am still awaiting assessment. I also got chest pain after taking Bisoprolol and was told to split my dose 1.25 in the morning then 1.25, 12 hours later. This helped me quite a lot with the side effects. Why don’t you ask your GP if you can split your dose? Especially as he’s agreeing that you’re sensitive to this drug.

You’re not overreacting and the BHF helpline is fantastic for advice, I would also say that if ever you’re concerned about your chest pain/tachycardia then please call 111.

fruitypies in reply to Evie606

I went back to the GP today and asked if I should split the dose and he outright said beta blockers just aren't for me, so I'm swapping to Diltiazem which I hope will be a better experience than bisoprolol!

Evie606 in reply to fruitypies

Great, glad he listened to you.

Good luck with Diltiazem and definitely push for a referral to Cardiology if your symptoms persist.

I was on bisoprolol for 3 months and had terrible side effects. On consultant advice I have just finished weaning off 2.5mgs but it has taken me a long time. Yes iyou do feel ok when you have stopped it but a few days later a lot of us get rebound symptoms. With me this included palpitations and anxiety about two weeks after stopping them. The palpitations have been terrible 24/7 for nearly 3 weeks but are now just starting to get slightly less and not as strong I also feel so much better in myself not anxious and depressed. I was never anxious or depressed before starting biso. If you do have to stop please withdraw slowly and with your GP advice.

Good morning

I posted on here few weeks ago about my awful experience with Bisoprolol.

I felt terrible like you.

Thought I was going to die.

Made my palpitations much worse.

I’ll copy n post it here now.....

I have been put on Bisoprolol for SVT. Started it 12 days ago at 2.5mg a day, then cardiologist increased it to 5mg a day 4 days ago.

I have never felt so ill in 52 years of having the SVT.

I have had 10 episodes of tachycardia since taking the Bisoprolol.

I cannot sleep, as it is so uncomfortable, like my heart is being squashed and it becomes very erratic.

I have had 2 hours broken sleep for the last 3 nights and I’m exhausted.

I emailed my cardiologist at St Thomas’ hospital a couple of days ago reporting the increase in palpitations and his reply was stick with it and if we need to increase to 7.5mg then 10mg we will do.

It’s making me feel worse.

I feel so anxious and really fed up.

Anyone else had the same experience?


I must add I he then advised me to just stop it completely and put me back on my original meds, Diltiazem.

The difference was unreal.

Much calmer and heart not so erratic.

I think we are very rare, as not many people I spoke to had these side affects.

1 I believe.

Hope you feel better soon.

It’s just draining isn’t it!

fruitypies in reply to Carolx

Thanks for your reply Carol! This has made me feel a bit better, I went back to my GP today and he has prescribed me with Diltiazem which I'll start after a (very brief) Bisoprolol weaning off period. Fingers crossed!


I was on bisoprolol 2.5mg and Losartan 25mg for multi focal ectopic beats/ tachycardia and a floppy valve :)

I’m usually very energetic and the bisoprolol was making me feel very slow. I didn’t feel like me. I stopped it and according to my cardiologist at st George’s I was allowed to take it as and when I needed and I felt so much better.

Losartan, an ace inhibitor, I was on for years And just stopped overnight and I feel so so much better.

GP’s in my experience are not the most knowledgeable. Get a proper diagnosis from a cardiologist. Do the right tests.

Also a really simple thing which I never thought about and made me feel much better when I cut down a bit is coffee, sugar, alcohol and cigarettes. They really increased the palpitations; especially the sugar and alcohol.

You should definitely listen to your body. It knows more than the doctor.

Get better :)


Your doc has said that he thinks it's stress related, which is an easy thing to say at the time for a Dr and pops you into an easy category. However stress and anxiety does have an impact on us, it's hard to measure. Like blood pressure, you don't feel that it is high until you have it measured. Have you done anything about your stress levels?

You also mention that the pain increases when you are sat down and that it decreases in the evening.

Is the decrease every evening, all of the time? Have you ever thought why it decreases then? Could it be your posture, is it because you are no longer working, something else?

Finally you mentioned that it could be your body's way of just rejecting the drug, and it could be. It could also be your subconscious telling you that your current situation and stress levels are unmanageable and that something has to give. Would you say that you are truly happy? If there was something that you could change or let go, how would you feel then?

(Obv all questions for you, no need to answer them here)

Whatever it is, good luck, hope you begin to feel better soon.

Hi yes I am getting side effects, I am on 2.5, and I have a constant runny nose, and a little shortage of breath, I am talking to cardiology re changing for something else

fruitypies in reply to Baz51

Good luck, I hope you get changed to something that doesn't have so many side effects!

dembaba in reply to Baz51

I'm on same dose as you as well, I also get a runny nose and I've never had so many tissue boxes round the house!!

Baz51 in reply to dembaba

Yes but I get a cough as well, I am going to get GP to change it

I think you need to speak to your GP/Cardiologist. After reading your post I am now going to see mine! I've been on 5mg bisoprolol for 4 years and have never put my runny nose, constant sore throat and lethargy down to it. I'm pretty sure my cough is down to Ramapril. I think it's time for a proper review!

GWP1952 in reply to benjijen

I've found it necessary to be proactive in getting the right medications at the right dose which suit me . To most GPs we are just one of several thousand patients. They dont know how we feel, so we need to work with our GPs to get the medication which suits us. I hope you get the issues you have sorted out.

fruitypies in reply to benjijen

I will admit, it took a few tries for my GP to really get what I was saying about my cold-like side effects (mostly because we were communicating online rather than in person because of covid), and he then said it's due to (and I summarise) part of your system overcompensating for what the beta blocker is doing to another part of it. The result is an excess production of mucus. When I was on 5mg it was so bad I could barely breathe, it was like I had the flu! I hope you're able to work out a solution with your GP :)

dembaba in reply to benjijen

Your cough is deffo down to ramipril, I had it too., and an itchy rash. Apparently rampril is a very cheap drug and that is why its prescribed by doctors so frequently. Get is changed, good luck....

benjijen in reply to dembaba

I knew it could cause a cough but wasn't aware that my rash/itching could be attributed to it as well. I have lost a couple of stone weight so maybe that's another factor and the dosage is too high. Time for a chat methinks!

dembaba in reply to benjijen

Yea the rash is a right pain, I got it in my legs, so bad I used to scratch till they bled. A friend recommended diprobase (from amazon) life saver!! Brilliant stuff. Had a chat with my aunty who was also put on ramipril her itchiness was on her arms, so it can obvs be anywhere. When I first took it I got an itchy left boob, bizarre!!

benjijen in reply to dembaba

I have it on legs and arms and it bleeds. Scratch during my sleep

Hidden in reply to dembaba

Hi yes I absolutely agree i was on ramipril to, really bad cough i developed a itchy red rash went to my GP who tried to convince me that it would settle down but didn't, so after trying assortment of different pills my cardio consultant put me on valsartan,i have had no problems with these. Keep on to your GP to get them changed.

dembaba in reply to Hidden

Im on candesartan, spironlactone and bisoporol for dilated cardiomyopathy. I have no faith whatsoever in my gp because he wrongly told me I had pulmonary hypertension and that I have 3-5 years at best!! I now, even though I an't afford it as I'm 66, I now pay to see a cardiologist. My health is too important to me not to,best ting I ever did!!

Hidden in reply to dembaba

I tried both losartan and valsartan both caused red itchy rash to the top of my arms at one point they looked like two fire extinguishers, sorry I'm on candesartan not valsartan. During my hospital stay my GP retired and it took several appointments to get to see my new GP I kept getting put with surgery pharmacist so everything took longer to deal with and when i did get to see him definitely got the impression he really wasn't interested, I was not looking for any special treatment just help in getting back to as near normal as possible so took the decision to change GP. My new GP is brilliant nothing is to much trouble keeps in contact with me especially during lock down regular blood tests, my advice to anyone who is not happy with their GP is if you can change.

dembaba in reply to Hidden

Thanks for that, I really do need to get around to changing, to make it'worse my GP maintained that he was somewhat of an expert in cardiology!! How much Candesartan are u on? Im currently on 24mg, they want to increase to 32mg. Have you had any probs??

Hidden in reply to dembaba

Hi I am only on 2mg at the moment as my consultant and GP are monitoring how I get on with them but my GP has said that the dosage will go up eventually to 32mg, I have just had a blood test, as they are looking to increase the dosage as i said my new GP is great so if you can find a new GP then do

I know they are over stretch but their patients should not suffer.

thelma1960 in reply to benjijen

Bisoproral and ramapril? These were 2 nightmare medications for me. Cant imagine how I would have been if I had been on both at the same time! Bisoproral- I just felt like I was a zombie and also had sudden faints. Ramporil- my mouth poured with blood like clockwork starting 2 hours after I had taken it and continuing for several hours. I do mean pouring as well. My dentist knew immediately what it was and asked if I was taking Ramporil. It was too late to save my bottom teeth

Hidden in reply to thelma1960

Hi did they say it was definitely the ramipril or a combination of both? as I was on both of these I am no longer on the ramipril but still taking bisoproral and in the last eight months have lost most of my top teeth,it seems the more I clean them they just keep crumbling away, but due to the covid crisis my dentist is still closed and only seeing patients in extreme pain.

thelma1960 in reply to Hidden

He asked about Ramporil right away. There was one other medication mentioned but wasn't one i had ever had so can't remember. Funnily enough the dr recently asked me to give bisoproral another go and as it was for a different reason I said I would. But then gums began to bleed so was put on atenolol which stopped the constant palpitations and bleeding eventually stopped.

Hidden in reply to thelma1960

Thanks for that,I have not had bleeding gums just teeth crumbling I now have three and a bit of my top set left when I spoke to the dental surgery they said to go to the nearest hospital but that is over a two hour bus ride away and as I don't have any pain I said I would wate untill they re open.I recently spoke to a friend of mine who was also on an assortment of medication for heart problems and he also had teeth and gum problems so I will pass on the information as he is one of those people who won't question what the GP says, again many thanks.

dembaba in reply to Hidden

Wow, this is really strange, I have lost 3 teeth in the last month!! It must be the

medication surely?? I know my gums aren't great, but seems so much of a

coincidence to me???

Hiii yep same pressure in chest on & off palpitations, cold like symptoms & sore throat. Consultant asked me to go with it as still undergoing tests. I'm on 1.25mg. Hope you feel better soon.

fruitypies in reply to Mikamoo2

Thanks! I hope you get some answers soon and eventually get put on something that doesn't make you feel so bad.

Medicines are there to make you feel better and help prevent further health problems. It sounds like your GP needs to get off of his one track mindset and try you on an alternative beta blocker, maybe starting with a low dose to see how you react. We are all different and our tolerances vary enormously. There should be a drug available to sort this problem out.

Hi there I’m just reading your comment and feel I have a similar thing going on I heart a high heart rate in July and was told by go to take 2 bisoprolol a day from one after reading your comment I’ve realised it’s only been since I started on the two a day that my heart is slow at around 57-60 but is pounding the same as you say I feel it when I’m sat down but if I’m walking around I don’t feel a thing especially at night if I lay on me left side in bed I can feel my heart beat

I have the same thing, when I lie down my heart pounds, especially on my left side. It was much worse on the higher doses, I used to dread going to bed. But it eventually calmed down over time, but I think going up and down doses has brought it all back. I would recommend having a chat with your GP if you can :)

LaceyLady in reply to fruitypies

My cardiologist said if you lay on your left you will feel it worse. The heart is slightly left in the chest.

Same here I’ve been on it since April -2.5mg constant runny nose also have cold hands and feet. My doctor won’t do anything until cardiologist has been spoken to. Haven’t had any contact with them since my H/A in April despite referral and a supposedly 3 month review

Baz51 in reply to AI16

Yes my nose doesn’t stop running, and I spoke to cardiology yesterday, as my GP won’t do anything without their say so, but I get cold hands and feet also, so I want a substitute for bisoprolol, I am on 2.5mg


I‘m 45yrs, I had terrible side affects including chest pain, SOB, on bisprolol (dropped from 5mg to 2.5mg straight away as reacted quickly) when given for inappropriate sinus tachycardia and ectopics last year.

My cardiologist then put me on calcium channel blockers, Diltiazem (120mg) twice a day and my side affects virtually disappeared straight away.

I couldn’t have put up with the side affects it was awful hope you get a review soon.

fruitypies in reply to Leahetea

Went to see the GP today and he has prescribed me with Diltiazem (120mg), so I'm hoping it works as well for me as it did for you!

Leahetea in reply to fruitypies

Glad to read you’re had a review and trying something different, it really did change for me and I felt generally more at ease with everything afterwards. Fingers crossed for you, take care.

I have been on 7.5 for over 7 years and have no problems with it. Horses for courses, we all have unique physiologies;-and take the cardiologist's advice

Hi Everyone

Interesting to read all your personal experience with Bisoprolol.

I was put on it for vasopastic angina 3/12 ago. I too have pounding heart beat near my throat and left ear. I also feel my heart flutter.

When you change over to channel blockers did to stop the Bisoprolol completely? I am so scared of changing.

I too are waiting to see a cardiologist next week. Only telephone consultation. Any advice about what I should

Be asking her?

Keep safe and well.x

Hi i am on bisoprolol 1.25 and axiban 5mg ,i had AF all the time till the consultant put me on bisoprolol i get no side afects maybe cause it is a small dose but now i get very little AF hope this helps.

I was prescribed Bisoprolol to control suspected atrial fibrillation. I was put on 2.5mg for about 3 weeks then increased to 7.5mg. I had the same symptoms as you but the heart beat would regulate its self after a couple of hours or so. My episodes were probably 24/36 hours apart and lasted for between 1 and 12 hours. I down loaded an app to my iphone and I recorded every event. After a year I was reffered to the consultant . An ECG and weekend cardio recorder proved I have AFib. The consultant upped my does to 10mg with 20mg of Xarellto and 2 X 100mg of Flecainide. The extra tablets didnt make any difference so I am now on 7.5mg per day of Bisoprolol. I am not sure it helps really as I still have daily episodes mostly starting around 9pm. It is not a pleasant feeling and I too have discomfort in the left side of my chest following an episode. I am now on the waiting list for heart ablation surgery. I am hopeful it will stop the AFib. Good luck

I was put on Bisoprolol a few years ago, I felt awful so went to my GP, I was told I must stay on them. A few years down the line my body has got used to them it took a while. If I try to cut them down I feel real bad, just now and again I get the notion I,d be better off without them. I still get good and bad days but have to get used to that and still sometimes feel I would be better without. Mistake!

Ok. I’m on 100 Flecainaide and 1.25mg bisoprolol, initially it was 2.5mg but side effects of bad sleep, dreaming all night, headache still neck. Now, still getting stiff neck and dreaming all night😳 I’m on holiday in Whitby which is all up hill and down and I can’t walk far without being breathless aching hips, knees etc, I’m having to stop every so often and sit!!! I’m 63 and was reasonably fit!! Wearing a mask definitely does not help either!

Im not a doctor but I cannot believe that a doctor just put you on medication for life which bisoproplol is more or less without trying to guide you down an alternate path through lifestyle. From experience you would be far better off hitting the gym for 30 minutes a day or taking a daily walk pushing yourself as you go. Trust me from someone that has to take Bisoproplol medications are not the way to go, certainly not at such a young age of 35. I hope I dont sound conderscending or patronising as thats not what I am about. Im frustrated at some doctors ease of pushing a patient on to medication just to appease them. Good luck with whatever direction you go but I definitely would swerve the medications as they lead to other problems further down the road most of the time. My advice for what its worth would be de stress doing something physical or that takes your mind off things, have some me time everyday. Again good luck

This is so interesting how GPs are dealing with this. I have complained about the pain several times especially when it lasts for a few days!! 3 times in 18 months they have called 999 now. Might it be my medication I ask? Always a shrug with no real response! But insist I must call the ambulance when it happens!!!

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