When you first starting taking a beta-blocker, your doctor will start you on a low dose then slowly increase it over a few weeks. It can take a while for you to feel better – usually a few months.
Do not suddenly stop taking your beta-blocker
Do not suddenly stop taking your beta-blocker without talking to your doctor first. This can be dangerous and make you feel unwell. You may get the feeling of changes in your heartbeat (fast, quick and irregular or forceful heartbeats), an increase in blood pressure and a return of chest pains. If you do need to stop taking a beta-blocker then your doctor may advise a slow reduction in dose.
If you have diabetes
If you have diabetes you need to take extra care to measure your blood glucose levels regularly.
- Beta-blockers can cause an increase in blood glucose levels, especially when you first start taking them. This effect usually settles with time.
- Beta-blockers may reduce the warning signs of a low blood sugar level (hypoglycaemia – often called a hypo). For example, you may not have the feeling of fast, irregular or strong heartbeats (palpitations) or tremor, which can occur when your blood glucose is going too low. If you are worried about this, talk to your doctor. Do not stop taking your beta-blocker without checking with your doctor first. Read more about hypoglycaemia.
If you have asthma
If you have asthma, taking a beta-blocker may trigger your asthma symptoms or make them worse. Not everybody with asthma is sensitive to these medicines. If you are worried about this, talk to your doctor. They may be able to prescribe a different medicine or increase the dose of your asthma preventer medication. Do not suddenly stop taking your beta-blocker without talking to your doctor first. This can be dangerous and make you feel unwell. Read more about medicines that may trigger asthma symptoms.