Beta Blockers: Hi, just wondering if anyone has... - IBS Network

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Beta Blockers

Jasminj7 profile image
Jasminj7

Hi, just wondering if anyone has had any luck with using beta blockers for their IBS? I find most of my IBS flare ups are caused due to anxiety and worrying about going out/travelling. Not sure if a Dr would even prescribe a drug like this for IBS? Thanks.

16 Replies

GPs probably wouldn't be allowed to prescribe beta-blockers for IBS. They are supposed to follow the NICE clinical guidelines and the British National Formulary which give directions on when different drugs can be used. Some doctors, especially those who are more senior, might be more willing to bend the rules.

However, if anxiety is a problem for you, I would go and talk to you GP about that anyway. There are a range of drugs and treatments that can be followed to help you tackle your anxiety and if that helps your IBS then all the better. I was reluctant to take drugs for my anxiety for a long time but now I am on them (citalopram) have noticed my anxiety coming down. However, I've also been helped significantly by doing CBT. This is available on the NHS, although there is a waiting list. Some people also prefer mindfulness. I don't intend to stay on the drugs for long but they are proving a useful stop gap while my therapy (both CBT and psychodynamic counselling, that I am paying for privately) get to the root cause of my anxiety. I now feel more confident than I have in a long time and my IBS may be improving but it is too early to say for certain. Personally, whether you choose to take drugs or not, I would recommend trying to get help to overcome the anxiety too.

Good luck.

I'm currently living on Imodium and have been for the past two years hoping it would go away itself. When I was younger I had a phase of ibs (didn't know it was that at the time) and took Kalm tablets which sorted it but they haven't helped this time. I'm gonna enquire about cbt and have already contacted hypnotherapists and acupuncturists for quotes. Its just whilst looking at forums I heard of beta blockers and thought they might help more as most of my anxiety is through travelling and not having access to a toilet. I spoke to a gp before about anxiety but he dismissed it saying I didn't have the symptoms but will get a second opinion now, thanks for your reply.

Hi! Anxiety and nerves are the biggest culprit for IBS, it's a viscous circle but we can definitely find a loop hole! I have IBS D (not ideal for a 19 year old who loves clubbing and spending time socialising) however I carry immodiums on me everywhere and plan! It depends on your type of IBS but preparation is key! I have never heard of this medicine you talk about though?

Jasminj7 profile image
Jasminj7 in reply to Mermaid28

Beta blockers are used for like driving tests so you don't show symptoms of being nervous. I'm the same as you I carry Imodium everywhere but they don't always work and I get nausea from anxiety. Have you found anything else useful? I'm trying to find other options cause avoiding a social life and relying on imodium is not how I want to continue x

Mermaid28 profile image
Mermaid28 in reply to Jasminj7

I also use cofolac twice a day when I work, it decreases the rate your food digests which is great for IBS D. I suppose I have one other piece of advice and that is this - take a deep breath and do it. When I was diagnosed with IBS I was in my second year of college. I was taking exams in huge sport halls surrounded by hundreds of people my age. At first, my attendance went from 100% to 50% in about two weeks. I was so scared but this only heightened my IBS, it gave it power. With time, I learnt a few tricks. I got my mind power back and learnt to not give in. I read once in an IBS forum that it can sometimes be "mind Vs body" and I suppose I agree. Medication only works to an extent. If you aren't willing to allow your mind to accept the condition and work alongside it, it will forever be a losing battle. I hope this helps in some way possible. Please don't think you have to drastically change your life style, just maybe spin the outlook on your view of the condition. Work with it rather than against it. I hope you see a change for the best - Mermaid28

Jasminj7 profile image
Jasminj7 in reply to Mermaid28

Thanks :-) x

I'd add having a mantra to focus on in emergencies has helped me buy time. Repeat over and over in your head something like 'this too shall pass' takes your mind off your guts while you're urgently trying to find a washroom.

I've tried similar things before such as singing, playing games and reading to distract my mind but its hard to focus. Have you had training to teach you how to do that? Such as cbt? I'd imagine it takes a lot of mind power...

patientj profile image
patientj in reply to Jasminj7

Things like the mantra runswithdogs mentioned are similar to what you learn with CBT (plus potentially other techniques depending on the approach your therapist takes). However, the therapy will also help you identify times when you get anxious (although you seem to have a pretty good grasp of that) and, my therapist at least, gave me some tips on when and how to get into the habit. For example, I have several mantras on a note in my wallet that I can read when I get anxious. I also have Post-It notes around the house and whenever I come across one (e.g. turning on a light or making a cuppa) I just practise the breathing exercise. Takes fewer than 30 seconds and although I'm pretty good at them now, I still do it because it works as a really helpful way of just slowing me down when I'm rushing around in the evening.

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Try Michael Mahoneys self help Cd's from ibsaudioprogram100. It's hypnotherapy at home!

Diltiazem for angina/high blood pressure/racing heart did wonders for me, calm and slow bowels, unfortunately I had to stop taking them, immediately developed diarrhoea and then severe diverticulitis! At least I now know the cause of some of my symptoms.....

I found beta blockers very helpful for anxiety related palpitations and tachychardia when I had them a lot and I think they are fairly safe for anxiety related things.

You are probably on a low dose I imagine. See how it goes. With all medication it affects people differently.

Look at the side effects on the accompanying leaflet and if you don't get those its probably fine for you, I didn't get any bad side effects.

Yes mindfulness and CBT are good too.

Hi Jasmin, I was just looking to see if there was any link with IBS and beta blockers and came across your post from two years ago. In case you are still interested I have had IBS for over 30 years and been on beta blockers for about 20 years (for high blood pressure). I don't really think they help me in anyway as my IBS has just got worse with time. Maureen.

They won’t give it for ibs but they will give it for anxiety. It stops the physical symptoms of anxiety (Adrenalin rush) this hopefully will stop your body going into flight or fight and stop your gut from spasming.

I take beta blockers, for anxiety which does help my ibs, also buscopan & mebrivne, beta blockers can take 40mg 3 x per day as needed.

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