Feeling strange on Bisoprolol - British Heart Fou...

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Feeling strange on Bisoprolol

Costablanca profile image

Hello, I am new here and would appreciate your knowledge/ advice. I have had 2 recent episodes like full blown panic attack symptoms, palpations, tremors, mild tight feeling in chest. Both times sent to hospital for checks. All ECG normal, ecograph normal, bloods normal, no heart attack. Was diagnosed with high systolic blood pressure and started on 2.5 mgs of Bisoprolol to bring it down. Don't feel good at all on these tablets. Feel dizzy, feeling like my chest has expanded with strange sensation in chest. Been on them for 7 days now. I have read they are normally long tern which I don't want to take if not necessary. Any advice would be gladly received.

81 Replies

I felt dreadful on bisoprolol . Gave me arrhythmia s terrible anxiety felt weak breathless. Was changed to atenolol and after a period ( withdrawal from bisoprolol ) settled down and I am almost off that as I don’t have to take it . Some people don’t have problems with bisoprolol a lot do. Don’t put up with it there are other alternatives to lower BP and the longer you are on it the harder it can be to get off if you are one of the people who has a problem . Whatever you do don’t stop it abruptly talk to your doctor and if you have to have a beta blocker ask can you have one that is hydrophilic rather than lipo Philip you may have fewer problems . Hope it works out for you

Thank you for your reply. Its quite scary feeling this way. Have to go to get bp checked tomorrow by the nurse so will make appointment with Dr to discuss.

It is scary couldn’t agree more . There are other options . Let us know how you get on x

Will do

R3mi profile image
R3mi in reply to Peony4575

Hi Peony4575Apologies for wrongly replying to you instead of Costablanca I must lose weight off my fingers your post was very good and helpful by the way. Thank you

Immediate advice would be:

(1) give your body time to get used to them. Any side effects often disappear over a few weeks.

(2) don't automatically assume the symptoms are "because of the pills". That's important.

First, it's easy to assume "new meds, so the new symptoms must be related" but the meds certainly didn't cause the "new symptoms" that caused you to seek help in the first place because you weren't taking them then. By writing off new symptoms as "must be the meds" it's possible you might miss a development if the original condition.

It's also fairly unusual to be prescribed biso as first-line choice for hypertension on its own. NICE guidelines are for ACE inhibitors, ARB, and / or calcium channel blockers. Was there definitely nothing else in the tests that made then choose a beta blocker?

Hi, they didn't say there was anything else except high systolic b.p. Consultant said all ok on scans etc. Have to wear a monitor for a time as soon as one is available.

That's an odd choice of drug then.

Would be worth raising it with your GP to see if he has any further info why they decided on a beta blocker instead of the usual (and normally recommended) choices

I will speak to my GP as soon as possible. I have no history of heart problems, thats not to say I don't have them mind, they just found nothing with the tests they did.

And if your high systolic was the result of a panic attack you shouldn’t need meds . My systolic goes through the roof if I have a panic attack but my diastolic doesn’t . Or they could give you something to pop, usually propranolol to block the adrenaline if you have an attack . Shouldn’t need meds full time . And if you have isolated systolic hypertension they need to tell you why . It’s like everyone who walks into the hospital comes out on bisoprolol

Yes, I need to speak to my G P as soon as I can get appointment. Dont want to feel like this 😞

I had first and so far only bout of AF triggered by a painkiller. Put on bisoprolol. Wasn’t happy and went to see another cardiologist privately a few days later who said shouldn’t have been put on it and to stop. Made me feel terrible . Demand answers and there are alternatives even if you have to take something

I'd had some palpations when I had the episodes but they didn't catch them on ecg,s, hence will give me a monitor to wear when available, perhaps. I read Bisoprolol helps with those...

All beta blockers block the action of Adrenalin and prevent your heart from speeding up

jerry12953 profile image
jerry12953 in reply to Peony4575

Yes, it seems to be the first line of defence for just about everything! It must be cheap. A friend of mine became suicidal immediately on starting it. He stopped taking it after a couple of days.

I was prescribed bisoprolol by a cardiologist but my GP suggested I ignore that advice, saying that she didn't think it was necessary and that it could cause erectile problems. The heart specialist was not pleased when she found out!

I went back on it after a while - prescribed by a different GP this time and I had problems with dizziness. I was able to stop it without withdrawal symptoms fortunately.

(Edited for accuracy!)

Peony4575 profile image
Peony4575 in reply to jerry12953

Ballpark figure for Bisoprolol in UK about £6 a month

jerry12953 profile image
jerry12953 in reply to Peony4575

Thanks. I rest my case!

Peony4575 profile image
Peony4575 in reply to jerry12953

And I am part of the rebel alliance . I do not have blind faith in all doctors . You have to be your own advocate

jerry12953 profile image
jerry12953 in reply to Peony4575

It's so difficult to know where to strike a balance, I find. I'm now on three different meds as preventitives (aspirin, atorvastatin, amlodipine) and every morning I shove them down my throat without knowing if they're actually doing me any good! At least I get no side effects from them......or perhaps just one.

Peony4575 profile image
Peony4575 in reply to jerry12953

I remember my Dad saying to his GP when he got to 10 tablets a day he wouldn’t be taking any more and he didn’t care what they were for . He was a rebel as well and lived a long life . There is a tendency these days to pile on the tablets as people get older it is worth interrogating the evidence . You stay well Jerry

Good morning Costablanca

I have copied my post from 5 months ago.

Have a read......

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 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?


Peony4575 profile image
Peony4575 in reply to Carolx

Bisoprolol gave me various arrhythmia s including SVT atrial tachycardia I didn’t have before taking it . I changed to atenolol as couldn’t get off the bisoprolol because of the tachycardias it caused when I stopped . The palpitations took a couple of weeks to calm down but haven’t had any for nearly two months and have slowly reduced my atenolol to 1mg to come off altogether . Bisoprolol most definitely didn’t agree with me

Hi, seems to cause a lot of people problems.

Costablanca profile image
Costablanca in reply to Carolx

I feel the same after 7 days on them. Going to try and see someone today. Have bp check by nurse later. That was why I was put on them in emergency ward of hospital due to high systolic bp.

Costablanca profile image
Costablanca in reply to Carolx

Awful experience, feel same

I felt the same taking this ,but after a couple of weeks it all sorted itself out, my bp is very high,im 55 and only 2 Months ago they discovered that I have a genetic problem from birth with my heart ❤ 💔

It takes a while to get used to Bisoprolol and seven days is not very long. I felt completely spaced out and very lightheaded when I first started on it, but after about three weeks I felt a bit better and now I rarely have any problems. Give it a couple more weeks at least before deciding you can’t tolerate it, otherwise you will be chopping and changing with different drugs and not giving your body a chance to adjust. Hope you feel better soon.

Thank you for your comments.

qp3usavk profile image
qp3usavk in reply to Costablanca

Agree with Loveswimming. Give it time. I had to be hospitalised with an afib attack in July. Came from nowhere. I was put on Digoxin 20 mgs and 15 mgs of Bisoprolol. After Cardioversion in September, they just kept me on 10 mgs of Bisoprolol. Didn't feel great all summer but don't forget that being breathless makes you feel awful. Am fine now and will ask dr to reduce Bisoprolol after New Year. I did get terrible headaches dropping from 15 to 10 mgs but your dose is tiny. It does seem strange to put you straight onto beta blockers as I was on Candestartan and Felodipine for high bp for several years first. Good luck but don't just assume it's the bb: get the fast pulse checked thoroughly 1st!!!

Costablanca profile image
Costablanca in reply to qp3usavk

Thank you. Will do

Molben profile image
Molben in reply to Loveswimmimg

Yes, a week is not long enough. I take 10mg of Bisoprolol. I was on 15mg at one time. I did feel spaced out etc at first but that did pass.

I was put on a very low dose of bisoprolol for high blood pressure at the start of the year by my GP. I have only had one episode of AF and believe with the cocktail of tablets that followed for High BP it made all sorts of odd things happen from rapid heart beats to palpitations and exhaustion. It also led to making me feel ridiculously anxious. Over time I lost 16 lb and taken up yoga and now not on any meds. Still feel some anxiety from time to time with the odd skipped beat I know seem to be hyper aware of .. but no tablets and BP under control. Have had all the monitor and Ecco scans with a CT heart scan booked for early next year to rule out any genetic hereditary heart issues.

It takes a while to ween off Bishop, I took one every other day and then off them .. hope it works out for you and you get it sorted soon.

Costablanca profile image
Costablanca in reply to Spudly22

Thank you for your comments. The anxiety is just awful too. A very lonely place to be especially in the night. My ecograph was normal. Hope your tests are too.

Anxiety is a massive problem for me to, I've just been diagnosed with a heart condition and diabetes 💔, my heads all over the place, but we still keep going xxx

Its an awful thing, anxiety and makes you feel out of control. Sorry to hear about your condition. This forum is very helpful so you don't feel alone with your problems.

Thank you so much 💔

did you have blood pressure monitor for 1-3 days?

I can’t take more than 5 mg Bisoprolol due to sever side effects including ECG changes!

Double check with your GP he might consider anti anxiety meds like SSRI or even mild form of beta blocker !since all your investigations. are good.

All the best

Hi, haven't had the monitor yet. The health service I received ( ambulance from my GP surgery )has been excellent. I am a resident here so entitled to have my heath care here. It will be different to anyone coming to live here now though post Brexit.

Hi, I appreciate your post, I too am on same medication and have had similar feelings for months now, never thought for a minute it could be down to the bisoprolol but will look into this possibility and raise it with my GP. On another note can I ask do you live full time in Spain and are you an ex-pat? How does your health service operate if this is the case? Thank you wishing you well for future!

Its worth checking. I feel worse this last week since starting them.

HiI was on 2.5mg also. They did not agree with me either. I had similar symptoms and went to A and E. I felt tightness in chest and general feeling not well with them. That feeling in chest was uncomfortable and definately started whwhw when put on Bissoprol..the hospital recommended I stopped the.m

and increased my Ramipril by 2.5mg

I had no problem since. My blood pressure is fine. It may be you are one in ten thousand who is badly affected by side effects. Read the leaflet in the box on possible side effects...good luck.

Costablanca profile image
Costablanca in reply to NEPHIN

Hello, yes I had tight chest and some pain last night in centre of chest. Trying to get appointment now☹️

Costablanca profile image
Costablanca in reply to NEPHIN

Did they tell you to cut down slowly?

There are a lot of threads on here about bisoprolol, have a look around the site. Many people do not respond well to bisoprolol, myself included. I was started on 2.5mg per day after an episode of AF (I was 46 at the time) and couldn't live a normal life on that dose - I had to stop working, was continually exhausted. Reduced (with permission from GP) to 1.25mg per day which helped a bit, but begged cardiologist to let me come off it (which is a different matter - see other posts on here about stopping bisoprolol). Now, I take a 1.25mg bisoprolol pill very occasionally, if I have a 'bad' day. I returned to work and have gradually increased my exercise and stamina. I use breathing techniques, yoga, diet and sleep to control heart palpitations. I never want to go on bisoprolol again. Some people simply don't adjust to it, and I suggest that you speak with your GP about reducing the dose, not increasing it. Listen to your body and trust what it is telling you.

jerry12953 profile image
jerry12953 in reply to Stellata

I might sound like a bit of a rebel here but no-one is obliged to take the medication that is prescribed. There are enough stories on here from people who get weird or worrying side effects from Bisoprolol and also enough from people who can't come off it without bad withdrawal symptoms.

Stellata profile image
Stellata in reply to jerry12953

Agree, but I'd always check with your GP/consultant first, as they were prescribed (at the time) for a reason...

Hi Peony 4575Welcome to the family

I have recently been prescribed Bisporol 1.25 Been on them for about 3 months. I had exactly the same sensations as you, rang the doctor read the leaflet panicked. But recently have never felt better in fact I check myself to make sure I am not imagining it all. Taking the body from an incessant state of stress anxiety changes in the body in general is a lot for the body to cope with. What I have found lately is the body just needs us to attend to it by topping it with food water and sleep. It doesn’t need us for much really. I would try and have confidence in your medical team they know what they are doing. Of course be aware as much as you can but do not obsess over it. If your still concerned talk to your doctor they really do want to make you well. These tablets like anything take time to become effective and they will. The uninitiated think without knowledge something we all do. I would hazard a guess in two to three months and all things considered you should experience a good feeling and be able to enjoy your life much better than you have. Let me know how you are getting along. And Happy new year.

Costablanca profile image
Costablanca in reply to R3mi

Thank you for your comments.

Peony4575 profile image
Peony4575 in reply to R3mi

Thanks. Am not entirely un initiated I was a medical rep for 20 years and no thanks i won’t be taking that drug again

So sorry to hear you've had such detrimental problems on Bisoprolol. I've been on them for three years and no problems ... except if I don't take them I have huge palpatitations all night. Are you taking them at night? I am no expert but believe this is the optimum time to take them. Good luck with them and hopefully a happier new year ahead for us all.

Hi, I have been taking them in the morning, by mid day I feel good for nothing. Speaking to Dr soon for advice. Its interesting to see everyone's comments. Never heard of the drug till a week ago. Never been on tablets before except paracetamol.

Hi I've been on these tablets for at least 8 yrs ,I was taken off them because they cause a cough, I actually begged my gp to put me back on them because I became extremely breathless. He agreed the only tablets that controlled my blood pressure, im still a little breathless, but I also have a heart condition. I could not do without bisopralol .

I was on them. Made me feel so ill. There are others which are not so bad so the doctor can change them. Thankfully after being on beta blockers for over a year. I am now off them. It felt wonderful. Even the different ones I took I did not feel good. Felt like I was living life in slow motion. I could hardly put one foot in front of the other. Ask to have them changed.

Hi and welcome to the forum, I have been on Bisoprolol since my discharge from hospital, it appears this is the norm medication given to almost every patient who had had heart problems, I personally have had no side effects from these tablets yet I also know they do not agree with everyone, tell your GP who may be able to change the medication.Be safe


Welcome to

This forum !!

I was terrible in Bisoprolol I was on originally 2.5mg following HA and felt so dizzy thought I was going to

Pass out especially when I was sitting down then got up

To stand . Gp reduced to 1.5mg and I’m

Fine now .

Hope you go on ok

Glad your Ecgs came back normal. Anxiety is an awful complaint and honestly I was really bad following HA like you with terrible anxiety/panic attacks .

I am happy to

Say my HA in April this year and with the help

if CBT, breathing /meditation/and exercise I got there . Hopefully 🤞you will

Get there too .

Wishing you well

Sheila x

Hope so. Thank you.

Hi Costablanca,I had exactly the same symptoms and literally found I had to deep breathe on the way to work to calm things down. As I love my job and have no problems there, I knew it was something other than anxiety and panic. I had a 24 hrs blood pressure monitor and was diagnosed with high blood pressure which was related to menopause as they coincided and I had read can be a side effect.

That was 2 years ago. I was given bisoprolol 5 mg but found I could not tolerate the full amount. After advice on here, I took half morning and night. I still felt tired and sluggish so I now take a quarter morning and half at night which is ok. It has calmed everything down and I haven't had an episode in a long time. I try to eat healthy (try being operative word sometimes). Crisp cravings can overrule sometimes. Hope this helps and lots of luck, Trish


Thank you x

As someone who has had panic attacks since the age of 17 (I am now 75) I totally sympathise with you. I have been on Bisoprolol since April. I have only had 2 minor panic attacks since then, my heart rate use to soar, but not anymore. For me, it`s a life saver in more ways than one. Good luck, and best wishes finding the right one for you. x

As the OP has high systolic BP a BP lowering medication to target this must be preferred.Beta blockers are not preferred for normal high BP as they are not effective enough by themselves.

They do however reduce the force of the pulse which will reduce pulse pressure. Typically a pulse pressure of 50 (top of normal range) will reduce to 40mm Hg.

A calcium channel blocker would be added to the bb if there is no water retention.

Petercat1 profile image
Petercat1 in reply to Palpman

I am on 100mg Losartan but was given 10mg of bisoprolol as I had palpitation attacks. They are also helping to reduce my BP.I have put on around 2 stone in weight, and have since read on this forum that bisoprolol causes that and hair thinning (wondered why my hairbrush is always full of hair, especially after washing my hair).

I asked the Consultant if I can reduce the dosage and he agreed, but am waiting to see my GP to sort that out.

Does anyone have any ideas for an alternative to bisoprolol that would do the same job, but without the side effects please??

Many thanks


Whilst I don’t wish to ever criticise a GP as they are under huge strain & do a fantastic job, I would suggest seeking a referral to a cardiac specialist. They will monitor you better and being a specialist will have more expert advice. I was originally given Ramapril by my GP for my high BP & it sent me nuts, headaches, palpitations etc but was told to persevere. Paid to see a private cardiac specialist & was switched to Losartan which has proved much better, plus he did a load more extensive tests to put my mind at ease. Also have you experimented with time of day when taking? I switched to evening from morning and again my body tolerated the drug so much better.

Costablanca profile image
Costablanca in reply to Dazza11

Hi, thanks for your comments. The hospital consultant prescribed the tablets for me as I had an episode,palpations, trembling , whist in Dr's waiting for an ecg so was sent in ambulance. The ecg didn't catch anything nor did blood tests show anything abnormal. Even had headscan and all normal. Since the tablets I have experienced a tight chest and last night pain in centre of my chest which is new. All very scary.

Dazza11 profile image
Dazza11 in reply to Costablanca

I’ve been through two similar episodes, felt awful, took myself to a&e on both occasions, every test under the sun to be told all was clear. They then said I was having some sort of panic/ anxiety/ stress related attack Altho I dispute this greatly due to having just retired, no stresses or strains in life so found it v odd to be suggested panic or anxiety could be involved. Have they discussed this with you?

Peony4575 profile image
Peony4575 in reply to Dazza11

On the life events scale used by psychologists to determine stress levels, retirement is rated as the 10th most stressful event you can experience ahead of the death of a close friend or foreclosure on your home . Even positive life changes can be stressful and if we don’t acknowledge this our bodies have ways of letting us know eg panic attacks Am not suggesting this is what happened to you you know yourself best . Just putting it out there

Didn't know that.

Dazza11 profile image
Dazza11 in reply to Peony4575

Ok that’s interesting to know, thank you. I can honestly say I was feeling no known stress or anxiety, but maybe there was some weird event happening in the back of the mind somewhere. The symptoms that took me to a&e honestly felt like life was ending with a tightness ( but no pain) in my chest, headaches, fatigue, etc. It was worth the visit just to know that nothing dangerous was occurring so if anyone is unsure they should head to a&e where the heart is concerned.

Costablanca profile image
Costablanca in reply to Dazza11

Hi, yes first episode resulted in ambulance to hospital same as second episode. They suggested anxiety and gave me a prescription for Lorazepam if I felt the need, but I like you am retired, living in Spain. What could be better for ones health. I am mystified. The discomfort in my chest last night was new. Have app Weds with GP. Unfortunately mine is now on holiday so will be a locum I expect.

I had suffered from palpitation attacks for years which were getting worse as I got older.One year on Christmas Day I had a bad attack which just wouldn't stop. I went to the Emergency doctors and even though in the middle of the attack, there was nothing showing on the ecg or any of the other tests. The attack lasted for over two hours. It eventually stopped by itself.

I honestly think palpitation attacks don't show up on ecg's or other heart monitors.

I haven't had any attacks in 3yrs 8mths since taking bisoprolol but am not happy taking them


Hi , similar to me, no abnormal ecg or heart scan but B.P high. Never had that before. Difficult to understand. Glad you haven't had any more episodes though, they are terrifying.

Thank you.Hope you get yours sorted soon.


When I was first diagnosed with high blood pressure, I was placed on propanol, a beta blocker. When I moved house, and changed doctors, it was immediately changed...... because I had a history of asthma. Do you have breathing problems?

Costablanca profile image
Costablanca in reply to Arrowe

Hi, no but never had tight chest like this before. Seems to occur about 6 hours after dose😬

Bisoprolol.....ahhhhhh! I was much worse on this medication, similarly to what you described. I could not even walk even at a snail's pace. Have not read all the posts in response to your post, but just want to say I took the dose, 2.5 at night which reduced all the awful side effects I experienced when taking it in the morning. Over time my body got used to the drug and I now a ble to take it in the morning with non of those awful side effects.

Hi, just read your post about bisoprolol, and best advice, ask to change it to something else as soon as possible .I was on it after suffering afib a few years ago, prescribed by A@E as rate control as I was suffering frequent fast tachy episodes.

Can honestly say it's the worst drug of choice in my opinion , I think it's primarily used because its very cheap and the drug of favour in the medical profession for that reason .

Personally for me, it didn't help much after the initial drop in heart rate in the first weeks , frankly it didn't control my BP very well at all going forward . It just gave me low mood, and breathlessness especially if exerting or walking uphill. If your on bisoprolol longterm what they don't tell you is the nightmare it is to come off it after your body gets used to it .

It took me 3 months early this year to titrate off after being on it a couple of years, one of the hardest things I've had to do after a successful ablation, but the best I've been in years now I'm totally free of it.

My BP is actually lower now than at anytime I took bisop, this maybe due to being able to exercise properly etc, I don't suffer low mood any longer and feel better in general, no more weird feelings, panicky feelings, dizzy spells, and all the other odd things happened on it long term which my gp said "were in my mind" or "just a coincidence" . Stick to your guns, there are alternatives and much better drugs for BP, bisoprolol for me it isn't something I'd take again if I suffer any further problems under any circumstances .


Costablanca profile image
Costablanca in reply to Ianp66

Thank you for that. Only been on 7 days and I am going to request a change as It seems to be bp and nothing else detected thus far. I always have exercised regularly, ate the right stuff, swam loads( not been able to the last year cos of virus) so was dismayed when my bp was high and had these episodes. Anyway it has been great to hear others comments and encouragements on this forum. So glad I stumbled across It!

dembaba profile image
dembaba in reply to Costablanca

I'm on same dose as you. Switch to taking it just before you go to bed. See if that helps, it did for me, I've been on it for over a year now. Give it a while and sleep through the sde effects good luck and stay safe.x

Costablanca profile image
Costablanca in reply to dembaba

hi, yes a few people have said they do that. Makes sense to be asleep when they occur. Thank you.

dembaba profile image
dembaba in reply to Costablanca

Good luck at the Doctors,x

So sorry to hear you are struggling on these, I too had these side effects but they disappeared after 6 weeks for me some folk after two. I can only tolerate 1.25 mg though.

Costablanca profile image
Costablanca in reply to Mollykin

Thank you for your comments. Seeing my Gp tomorrow so will ask his thoughts on what's best to do. Can see now I'm not the only one, so many have had similar experiences. Glad you have a more tolerable dose x

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