Betablockers for small varises

Hi all

I have been prescribed betablockers as I have varises but they are tiny and I dont feel I need these yet. i am already on a blood pressure pill. I tried the betablockers before for blood pressure some years ago and felt rough.....not sure why consultant prescribed them already but will try them out and if I feel bad I will go to GP and stop them slowly. anyone had to take them with small varises ?

Thanks for any help

11 Replies

  • I was prescribed beta-blockers (propranolol) when first diagnosed with crypotogenic cirrhosis after endoscopy had revealed six oesophageal varices that were successfully banded. I didn't respond well to it and was permanently tired and depressed (with recent diagnosis being an important factor). Once my condition had stabilised (i.e. no further varices) I came off the beta-blockers and soon felt better. This is my own personal experience – many will not suffer these side-effects, but the combination of medication and the stress of diagnosis of a life-changing disease was not a happy cocktail for me.

  • Hi..thanks for reply ..I am dubious bit might be ok this time.hope so,I don't want to feel tired and dizzy on top of everything else !

  • Did the doctor tell you what Grade your varicies are? I'm not sure what "tiny" means in relationship to varicies.

    Anyway, I had an endoscopy late last year and Grade 1. varicies were found. I haven't been put on beta-blockers as yet - I will be having another endoscopy later this year to see if there have been any size change in the varicies. If there has been, obviously beta-blockers will be prescribed - but, as you, I don't do well with them.

    Dizzy spells and fainting verses the risk of bleeding out, no contest I guess........

  • Hi

    Thanks for responding

    My score was 1-2....and my blood pressure on ramipril 5 tablets for blood pressure side effects on these, is around 130/90. i am getting the prescription tomorrow and will check it out but will try them out again...Its a hard choice because I want to live my life and not feel tired and dizzy....nor do I want to the end I suspect the choice will be made for me by how I am liver wise. My consultant told me my cirrhosis on the Child Pugh test is A which is quite good ?.I did it myself by searching on line but not easy reading if it goes to B or C.

  • Hi Bobbycat

    My 2 oesophageal varices were banded at stage 2 (of 4 I think) as a prophylactic measure. I was prescribed beta blockers but became inactive , depressed and felt as if I were hopelessly attempting to wade in deep water on Propanolol and could barely breathe (have other respiratory problems) or walk on Carvedilol. I had not experienced these types of medication previously as my normal blood pressure was and remains in my boots! !08/70 at age 70. The beta blockers are for portal hypertension. I have good follow up and gastroscopy every few months to keep an eye on things as I was unable to tolerate beta blockers. I am aware that varices can occur anywhere in the body, can rupture and often be fatal. I have chosen to be able to live whilst I can rather than merely exist . This is not for everyone and the side effects are not necessarily as severe for everyone either.

  • Please consider your decision about not taking beta blockers very seriously. The side effects will no doubt outweigh the risks of doing nothing. Don't wish to frighten you but as a retired nurse I have witnessed bleeding varices as a medical emergency.

  • Thank you. I just think they are not bad enough and that many medical papers which I have read indicate that beta blockers are not as good as banding the varices. i can understand how threatening a bleed can be but at grade 1-2 they are quite small. The first consultant I saw did not prescribe these tablets, only the second one did.. But I will think on what you say.

  • That's good that you've done your research and making an informed choice about your care.

    All the best 😊

  • If your doctor has prescribed Beta blockers, he will have done so for a reason. They are used to stop the varices getting bigger, as you don't want that. I take carvedilol for grade 3 varices but they have increased in size slightly so will be having them banded.

    You should ask your doctor why he has prescribed them if you don't think they are necessary, but don't just stop taking them. As for Banding, they can give you side effects such as ulceration and gastritis, they can also slip, whereas the betablockers reduce the pressure causing the varices. By the way, I was diagnosed with varices grade 1, they were very insignificant on the photos he showed me, then 6 months later they were grade 3, and my portal hypertension, has got much worse including lots of episodes of Hepatic Encephalopathy.

    BTW do you have your blood pressure checked regularly? With Cirrhosis, blood pressure can reduce, I went from an average BP of 180/100 to 120/ 60 so liver doctors at Birmingham stopped my blood pressure tabs. I have had no side effects with the beta blockers.

  • Thank has made me think.....especially as you have experience. I shall start them and see, maybe I am OK on them now. interesting re blood pressure.

    I saw also that you are on a transplant list......I do hope you dont wait long..fingers crossed for you. Keep in touch.

  • Hello all, I know I'm replying late to this conversation, but just wanted to mention that my doctor prescribed propranolol and in 6 months my endoscopy showed no cherry spots in the gastric area where there was beginning to form varices. So in my case it worked. Although I was prescribed the propranolol for migraine headaches too. I did have to lower the dose from 60 mg to 40 mg then finally 29 mg because my blood pressure kept dropping below 90/60 and I was feeling dizzy and having fainting spells if I got up too suddenly. I hope you started this medication by now and let us know how you're doing. Ivette, Chicago 

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