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Kathryn10

Anyone have experience using beta blockers?

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Kathryn10

I am 34 weeks pregnant and was hospitalized last week due to an elevated heart rate. The doctors couldn't find any underlying cause (they ruled out a blood clot, did two EKGs and an echo cardiogram (sp?) and various other tests) and then just determined that since the baby is still doing great and because I don't seem to have any other scary symptoms that I should be ok. Yesterday, my OB called and said that she spoke to the cardiologist who saw me last week and they think I should be put on a beta blocker to slow down my heartbeat. I'm out of breath a lot (part of which comes with being in the third trimester anyway) and the only reason they want to put me on this is to relieve the fast heart rate and me being out of breath. They said the drug poses no risk to the baby and that it's "worth a try." I looked up beta blockers and saw that one of the side effects is that they can raise and/or lower blood sugar and cause hypo unawareness. I really don't want to take it if it does this. Has anyone here taken beta blockers before, and if so, what were your experiences? Did they affect your bgs or cause hypo unawareness?

 

Thanks in advance!

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GretchO

I was on a beta blocker (Labetalol) for high blood pressure during my pregnancy and while breast feeding. Labetalol is an older class beta blocker and at certain doses CAN cause hypo unawareness. I was on a max dose and was completely hypo unaware the entire time I was on it. I'm not certain whether it caused hypos on its own...I definitely had hypos, but I have no idea whether Labetalol contributed to them. I hold it entirely responsible for my hypo unawareness, though. :(

 

There are newer class beta blockers which have a lower risk of hypo unawareness, especially at low doses. I currently take Atenolol and have not had any instances of hypo unawareness, however, I do not know whether it's OK to take Atenolol during pregnancy.

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Uff Da

I take generic Ziac, which is a combination of hydrochlorothiazide and bisoprolol (a beta blocker). I've been taking it for a number of years but started it long after any chance of pregnancy. I really don't know why the doctor switched me to this medication for high blood pressure, as I never had a fast heart rate to begin with. My heart rate is now typically in the 50s or 60s.

 

I was on this medication before I became diabetic. The literature mentions risk of hypo unawareness with this drug, but that hasn't been the case for me. In fact while I was on glimepiride (before being put on insulin), I would typically get false hypo symptoms whenever my BG got down to the low 80s. Now that I've been on insulin a few months and my body is getting more used to normal blood sugars, my hypo awareness is usually in the 60s if I haven't had recent hypos and occasionally I get my first feelings of nervousness while still in the 70s before I actually go hypo. If I've had several recent hypos, though, my awareness will drop to the 50s or even 40s. I'm getting better control now, though, so that doesn't happen often.

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Cora

Whoops. My post disappeared so I'll try again. I was on a beta blocker (atenolol I think) for years. It did nothing to my glucose levels and my awareness was fine. I wasn't on a large dose but it did help with my high heart rate. Hope this helps. Best of luck with the baby.

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Kathryn10

Thank you for the responses! I'm not even sure which beta blocker she prescribed, but will be picking it up today. I know that my mom takes atenolol for high blood pressure and when I told her that they prescribed a similar drug she advised me to take it. I think I'll do a little more research once I find out which drug it is and then try it out. Thanks again!

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Diana_CT

I'm on 25mg of Metoprolol for my heart arrhythmias. When the doctor first gave it to me in 1999 he proscribe 50mg and my slowed down way too much, I felt were weak and my BP was very low so he cut it back to 25mg.

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Uff Da

Remember that once you start, beta blockers are typically drugs than cannot be stopped "cold turkey." A tapering off period is normally required. I suppose that might depend upon how large a dose one is prescribed, however.

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GretchO
Remember that once you start, beta blockers are typically drugs than cannot be stopped "cold turkey." A tapering off period is normally required. I suppose that might depend upon how large a dose one is prescribed, however.

 

Yes...that's correct. You're usually weaned off of them. My Labetalol dosage went down considerably after I gave birth and they still tapered it down until I was off of it.

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JCinVA
I am 34 weeks pregnant and was hospitalized last week due to an elevated heart rate. The doctors couldn't find any underlying cause (they ruled out a blood clot, did two EKGs and an echo cardiogram (sp?) and various other tests) and then just determined that since the baby is still doing great and because I don't seem to have any other scary symptoms that I should be ok. Yesterday, my OB called and said that she spoke to the cardiologist who saw me last week and they think I should be put on a beta blocker to slow down my heartbeat. I'm out of breath a lot (part of which comes with being in the third trimester anyway) and the only reason they want to put me on this is to relieve the fast heart rate and me being out of breath. They said the drug poses no risk to the baby and that it's "worth a try." I looked up beta blockers and saw that one of the side effects is that they can raise and/or lower blood sugar and cause hypo unawareness. I really don't want to take it if it does this. Has anyone here taken beta blockers before, and if so, what were your experiences? Did they affect your bgs or cause hypo unawareness?

 

Thanks in advance!

 

I have been on atenolol for over ten years, to control high blood pressure. It has always been effective, I take 50mg x 2/day. That is the max dose recommended. IMO it is useful for my drug regiment, which also includes clonazepam and celexa (also now metformin). I have always been a really nervous person with lots of anxiety. It is a drug that will cause dependancy, and if you don't need it don't get on it. Plus you should not push yourself athletically.

 

Be cautious with this med. As far as me now being diabetic, I worry that it may interfere with proper blood circulation to my feet. That is another post.

 

JC

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Kathryn10

Thanks! I took the first pill today. It's metoprolol. I have some anxiety issues as well so I'm hoping that this might help that as well. I just worry about the health of the baby and being able to breastfeed without any issues. I was told that the baby will have to be monitored for 48 hours after delivery to make sure her heart rate is ok. My OB told me the other day that my heart is still beating too fast and if it continues to do so it will get "tired" and after that may not function properly. That scared me, so I decided to take it after doing some more research. We'll see how it goes ...

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JCinVA
Thanks! I took the first pill today. It's metoprolol. I have some anxiety issues as well so I'm hoping that this might help that as well. I just worry about the health of the baby and being able to breastfeed without any issues. I was told that the baby will have to be monitored for 48 hours after delivery to make sure her heart rate is ok. My OB told me the other day that my heart is still beating too fast and if it continues to do so it will get "tired" and after that may not function properly. That scared me, so I decided to take it after doing some more research. We'll see how it goes ...

 

Metoprolol (seems like all the beta blockers end in "olol") has a short half life, like 5 hours, so it's in and out fast. I don't know how often your dr. said to take it, prn or like 3 x daily. But, IMO opinion I think you, and your baby will be fine. Beta blockers are not a scheduled med, so I don't see any reason why it won't help during this phase for you and your child, and I bet it will do just what it is designed to do: slow your heart rate.

 

JC

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ramon

I kinda understand what they are saying, the heart being like a muscle. If you work it to hard it could get big and tough just like the muscles in your arms and legs. If the heart muscles thicken up they might get stiff and not flexible enough to do its required job. This is a interesting thread and hopefully more would comment. Then again if it pumps hard when you are pregnant could there be more oxygen flowing to the babies brain and organs which would be a good thing? Very interesting thread.

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k_dub

Kathryn:

 

Keep us updated! I have no experience with this, but I also find the thread interesting. Was the elevated heart rate first noticed at 34 weeks? At what point in the pregnancy was it detected? (Note: I'm adding this to my list of "things that could happen" so that I can keep it in mind and be prepared for it).

 

I don't like when docs want to put me on drugs when they can't tell me what the underlying cause is (treating symptoms), but this issue would scare me as well.

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Kathryn10

Yes this would be an interesting thing to study!

 

The elevated heart rate was noticed at around 33 weeks. I went to the emergency room due to a sharp pain in my rib, and they wanted to rule out a blood clot. My heart rate was up to 155 at that time which I think was due to the pain. I went to follow up at the MFM office the next day, and they admitted me to Labor & Delivery. No one could tell me why my heart was beating faster than normal and kept saying "it must be a musculoskeletal issue" with my rib, and the pain might just be causing my heart rate to be increased ... I've had 2 EKGs done and an echo cardiogram (sp?) and no one was able to find anything unusual about my heart or any underlying cause for the faster hear rate. I do know after doing some googling that tachycardia is not uncommon during pregnancy. My OB said that it probably isn't affecting the baby or me very much, but they'd like my heart rate under control. I started taking the medicine yesterday and at one point my heart rate was down to 96. It's back up now, but I think that's just because the medicine hasn't built up in my system yet.

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