Thyroid UK
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beta-blockers and thyroid hormone

This is an excerpt from the late Dr. Lowe's website:

Propranolol is a beta-blocker, and it’s a highly effective antidote to thyroid hormone. It’s so effective that many patients who are overstimulated by thyroid hormone (as in Graves' disease) use it. Propranolol relieves these patients’ overstimulation by indirectly blocking the cellular effects of thyroid hormone.

I have been on beta-blockers (Tenormin = Atenolol) for the past four years, and currently take 50 mg daily. Nobody has ever mentioned the possible interaction between beta-blockers and thyroid hormone...does anyone know if this applies to all beta-blockers, or to Propranolol specifically?

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From what I've read, opinion is divided. Some doctors say all beta-blockers lower thyroid hormone, others say just propranolol. All I know is I've been put on them twice - two different beta-blockers - and both times they made me feel like death.

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OK, thanks! Maybe I should stop taking Tenormin...I was put on it along with blood pressure medication when I was on long-term sick leave for burnout a few years ago, with a BP of 170/120 and a resting pulse of 110 beats per minute...BP is now under control (latest reading 118/78), so maybe the blood pressure medication would be enough...even on beta-blockers, though, my resting pulse remains around 80 beats per minute, so quite high. My GP tries to blame it on drug induced hyperthyroidism (because of my suppressed TSH)...but it would be quite interesting to try to get off Tenormin and see what happens to my resting pulse. Maybe I am currently taking more drugs than necessary...

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I thought 80 was normal.

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My GP said around 60 beats per minute is average, and that we could even raise current dose of Tenormin from 50 to 75 or even 100 mg daily to achieve that...

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Well, I'd be a bit dubious about that. Mine has always been 80, and nobody has ever commented on it. Doctors are so stuck on numbers, I think they forget there's a human being on the other end.

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I could not agree more with you...!

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Mine is 80 too ! From reading lots I think that blood pressure being raised is a symptom rather than a condition that needs treating :-)

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60 - 80 is normal with 72 bpm being the average, so the top end of normal.

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OK, so at least 60 bpm is not necessarily something to aim for...because I don't think my resting pulse has ever been that low.

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If you are going to try coming off beta blockers please do it very slowly.

I take beta blockers for tachycardia, but only when I need them. I did take them every day for a while a few years ago and it took me a while to come off them again. Beta blockers tired me out to such an extent that I couldn't make it up my street to get to the bus stop (I live on a hill).

If you haven't got a blood pressure monitor which also measures heart rate it would be a worthwhile investment. They are easily found in supermarkets like Tesco, and Boots. Plus they can be found on shopping sites like Amazon.

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Thanks, great info and advice! I have in fact been considering investing in one...also, I have noticed being more tired than usual lately, but never attributed that to beta-blockers...

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Propranolol reduces type-1 deiodinase as well as slowing the heart, so it is a preferred option for treating hyperthyroidism. The other beta-blocker to watch out for is Amiodarone as it has very high iodine levels. Most beta-blockers are fine. If your pulse gets quicker as your TSH becomes suppressed (or does so much later) then it is a sign that your heart is over-medicated. 60 bpm is not average, if your GP insists it is say 'well lets check yours now". 80 bpm is a touch high, depending on your general fitness level. There's a danger of getting in a vicious circle: levo raises pulse, beta-blocker induces lethargy, more levo raises pulse, more beta....

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Amiodarone is not a beta blocker.

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Sorry, was on auto-pilot.

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Unfortunately, I was on Amiodarone for two years as it was the only medication that worked. Also the start of all my thyroid problems!

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Yes, it inhibits type-1 deiodinase so your serum T3 levels drop.

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Not in my case I became hyper.

jamanetwork.com/journals/ja...

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Interesting paper. A bit of a trial and error treatment. Glad I don't need it.

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Amiodarone causes Long qt syndrome a dangerous cardiac problem.

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I was prescribed propranolol for daily headaches a few year ago I took for a week or two and felt worse...then when I read 'broadsheet ' inside I realised that it wasn't for someone with underactive thyroid! I contacted gps surgery to ask why the hell was I put on this and the doc I spoke to (a different one) said the other doc was wrong to prescribe me this as it just counteracts what the levothyroxine I was on at the time actually is meant to do!...so he told me to stop... (I already had!)

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So you currently take no beta-blocker at all...?

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No ...it was for daily headaches. ...so tried other things instead ...which I may add have never helped lol

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I have Hashimotos and was on Levo AND propranolol for almost 20 years .......couldn't tolerate the Levo at all without the propranolol.

After joining here and realising gut connection to Hashimoto's, I went strictly gluten free and was able to ween off propranolol within weeks- never taken any since

Magnesium is also depleted by propranolol. Possibly due to low parathyroid hormones. See the book the Magnesium Miracle for more. So then vitamin D struggles too

Propranolol may also lower parathyroid hormones - not good if you are already vitamin D deficient

labtestsonline.org.uk/under...

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That's good that you have been able to wean yourself off through going gluten-free.

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Des anyone know if cardicor, another beta blocker affects the tsh please?

Thanks

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I am on Bisoprolol fumarate and had to have increases of four times the original dose over last year because of angina type pains. I have recently had to trial an increase of levo as the blood tests results deteriorated .So I think the increase had reduced conversion.

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I could NOT take Propranolol with Levothyroxine - had bad side effects due to drug interactions - messed with my brain - symptoms similiar to those I had after my brain haemorrhage - fog, confusion, couldn't concentrate, so stopped taking Propranolol! Check the 2 out on drugs.com!

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Is there any supplement with the same effect as beta-blockers; that is, to slow down heart rate? I know there are supplements said to lower blood pressure.

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I was,on bisoprolol, because GP said, due to hypothyroidism, 'computer says' high risk heart problems. She also coerced me to take statins for same reason.

Statins caused very bad muscle weakness during 2 weeks I took them. GP changed them to another statin, saying, muscle weakness is a known side effect of first statin, many patients report it......

I stayed on bisoprolol, and new statin for awhile, until I became very unwell with health issues. During my own determination, back to improving my health, I decided to stop both bisoprolol and statins. I weaned off them, GP aware, after I did a lot of research on benefits and risks of the drugs.

Everyone is different in their experience with beta blockers and statins. I would not want to influence anyone else to do what I have done. I just know, I feel better for stopping meds that I didn't want to take and that I felt did me more harm than good.

I can't help wondering if you would benefit from adrenal test in? Burnout is an awful experience!

As I was a registered nurse, before I retired. (I collapsed 3 months into retirement). I am in no doubt, I suffered burnout. I have since been diagnosed with adrenal insufficiency, and now I take adrenal support supplements.

Good luck with your journey back to health.

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My hormone doctor tested my adrenals back in 2011 (in Belgium, only blood and 24 h urine tests are used, not saliva), and I was diagnosed with adrenal fatigue as a result. Put on Medrol and remained on it for four years. I felt good on it, but did not like the idea of staying on it indefinitely as it's a powerful steroid.

I personally find HC (which I ordered myself at one point, just to be able to compare it to Medrol) a hassle as it needs to be multi dosed...whereas Medrol can be taken once daily.

It's very confusing. Some say adrenal fatigue is a temporary condition requiring only short-term treatment and then your adrenal glands supposedly kick back into action. Others claim your adrenal glands may never fully recover, which means they may produce enough cortisol and other hormones to keep you alive, but you will have no real quality of life...a compelling reason why you should remain on adrenal support indefinitely.

I could easily go back on Medrol. I think I'd feel good on it, which is what scares me...because if I do decide to go back on it now (most of the time I took it, I was on 4 mg daily which equals 20 mg of HC), I don't think I'd ever be able to wean off it...nor would I want to, to be completely honest.

Another problem with cortisone (HC or Medrol or whatever) is that, if you need surgery, you are supposed to tell the surgeon about it in advance. OK. But how do you explain that you are on Medrol or HC for a condition that is not even recognised by most doctors...adrenal insufficiency or Addison's disease is one thing, but adrenal fatigue is not a generally recognised diagnosis among mainstream doctors...

I know it's ridiculous to worry about something like that, but there are so many aspects to take into account...

Some say Medrol or HC will cause your own adrenal glands to shut down completely, while others (both laypeople and MDs) claim so called physiological doses (as opposed to supra physiological doses) will not shut them down, meaning they continue to product some hormones.

Confusing is the least you could say...and it does not get any easier.

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Hi ana69

Yes all very confusing. I find being a patient really challenging because many Drs disagree with each other and, or just do not listen to patients.

I take a natural supplement for adrenals. I would not want to take them long term. Though, I do trust the nutritional Dr because I think adrenal fatigue makes sense for the amount of stress I have endured.

Because I have a lifelong belief, that the body is constantly working to get back to equilibrium, and ill health nudges us to play our part in that, I remain hopeful. Supporting my adrenals with supplements and reducing my stress levels, I trust, will give the adrenals a helping hand. And, whilst doing so, teach me about myself and previous life choices.

I wish you well in your journey with health. I hope the right people come into your life, and work with you, so that your future may be brighter.

Take good care of yourself.

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wow that is good to know! I have taken beta-blockers and had no idea it interacted with thyroid.

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