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Beta Blockers Causing Brain Fog/dissociated Feeling


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Hello,

I just wanted to get some feedback regarding peoples experiences with beta blockers. Ever since a few weeks back I have started taking propranolol continuously after a severe pots/panic attack like episode and a visit to the ER. I have occasionally taken it prior to this off and on when I felt I needed it but often ended up stopping it because I didn't quite like how it made me feel - however on these occasions I only took it for a max of 3-4 days. For some reason a small amount does a lot to me as well so I ended up only taking 2.5-5mg 2-4 times a day.

After stopping it the time prior I noticed I had about 2 weeks of what felt like constant panic attack like episodes and since starting back on it again those are the only things that have stopped. I actually feel more anxious on them I'd say but It stops the physical effects so I don't have a full blown panic.

Anyway I've now been taking it for about 3 weeks at 5mg about twice to three times a day. I thought nothing of it at first because I'd had a migraine around the time I started taking it which made me feel rather horrible as they do and that lasted a few days. My migraine has since left but I still feel very strange. The only thing I'm taking is propranolol.

I am experiencing what I would call a strange brain fog where the best way I can describe it is as being dissociated from my surroundings which makes me feel so anxious. I also have been having weird visual disturbance which I at first put down to the migraine but that doesn't seem to be the case anymore and it's a fine mizzle like blurriness that I see in front of me. For a number of days now I've actually felt rather depressed, withdrawn and really slow which is not like me at all and I don't really like the feeling either. I also previously had trouble sleeping as I think any potsie person does but this is a completey different feeling waking as if I have had no sleep and regularly waking up/lots of dreams. Trying to do things the next day with an even more sleep deprived foggy incoherent brain is really impacting my ability to function/exercise and get my pots back in order.

I also have the cold extremities, occasionally get jaw pain, weird numbness feelings, tight neck but I know these can be quite common. I could deal with these without the mental issues.

So I guess my question is has anybody else found similar symptoms? I think I really need to taper off this one and try another to ease my mind that it's not me going crazy and it's the medicine making me feel loopy. I know propranolol readily enters the brain unlike some of the newer cardio selective types so can anyone shed some light on what has worked for them?

Would be so reassuring to hear similar stories!

Thanks in advance

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I could not tolerate beta blockers for other reasons.

Can you talk to your doctor about other options? Clonidine was better for me, but a different beta blocker might do the trick for you.

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I had a tough time with Propranolol. I get some of the symptoms you mentioned without taking it. Sleeping is not an issue for me, but I was having very vivid dreams and pounding heart that would wake me up while taking it. I had a hard couple of weeks once I stopped. I have been taking Atenolol at night, which has been okay. I can't take beta blockers in the morning, because they make me too drowsy. There are a lot to choose from, so hopefully your doctor can find one that works better for you.

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I was fine on metaprolol but was like a zombie on propanolol. Both gave me intensified breathing problems so I had to quit the metaprolol (bb's are contraindicated with mast cell.) But I slept 20 hours a day on propanolol and when I was up I felt like everything was surreal and I hadn't slept in days. It was awful.

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I was fine on metaprolol but was like a zombie on propanolol. Both gave me intensified breathing problems so I had to quit the metaprolol (bb's are contraindicated with mast cell.) But I slept 20 hours a day on propanolol and when I was up I felt like everything was surreal and I hadn't slept in days. It was awful.

Yeh I think I know the zombie feeling your on about all too well. Its like I knew what I was doing, I knew what was going on around me, but I just felt really disconnected from it all - very strange, I didn't like it at all and it was making me more anxious than before although it just wouldn't allow me to full on panic because it kept my hr/bp down. But you saying that it made you feel surreal definitely sums it up well in a nut shell! I am actually reassured you have said a similar thing as I was starting to feel like I was actually going crazy haha. I have issues at the moment sleeping anyway, but it got to the point where when I initally tried it I would get the horrible dreams etc. but then I was having a lot more difficulty actually getting to sleep, and then waking a lot more frequently. After taking it for much longer this time I was actually waking after way more hours of fitful sleep to the feeling that I hadn't slept at all - and I think I really hadn't because my energy levels were utterly appalling!

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I had a tough time with Propranolol. I get some of the symptoms you mentioned without taking it. Sleeping is not an issue for me, but I was having very vivid dreams and pounding heart that would wake me up while taking it. I had a hard couple of weeks once I stopped. I have been taking Atenolol at night, which has been okay. I can't take beta blockers in the morning, because they make me too drowsy. There are a lot to choose from, so hopefully your doctor can find one that works better for you.

Wish sleeping wasn't an issue! Propranolol gave me all the feelings of tiredness yet the complete inability not to sleep! Very frustrating. I've just got nebivolol 2.5mg OD off my dr yesterday, so as I was already trying to get myself off propranolol I have started that today - took a little longer to kick in than propranolol does, but its also once daily dosing which I think is a good thing, especially if it does end up working. Apparently it works a little differently from the other beta blockers - less likely to cause fatigue etc. so I thought it was worth giving a go. Dr did mention bisoprolol if that didn't work too. Feel like i've got a few withdrawal effects from the propranolol but hopefully they disappear in a couple of days. Crossing my fingers that this one is a good one!

I could not tolerate beta blockers for other reasons.

Can you talk to your doctor about other options? Clonidine was better for me, but a different beta blocker might do the trick for you.

Thanks for your reply. I have viewed other posts regarding your issues with mast cells etc. so I take it this is the reason you are unable to tolerate beta blockers?

I think I'll give a few others a shot, but if I still have the same issues I did with propranolol I'll look into other options. I've never had low blood pressure really, only normal or above normal so low blood pressure for me isn't really a problem as far as the dosing - which would maybe suggest I have a more hyperadrenergic type although its never really been looked into any further, and dr's don't seem too concerned.

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Anxiety in itself can make you feel foggy disoriented and zombie like. I suffer from generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder and OCD my whole life. I noticed that after starting Atenolol in October 2013 It has helped the physical parts of anxiety like the heart racing, sweating and what not. But I still get brain foggy and not thinking straight.

It seems like the side effects I get from atenolol is lack of energy and more tiredness and a little more brain fog. I don't have energy to work out anymore so I just do 10 minute videos. I also have noticed I have been getting a lot more vivid dreams and nightmares since starting atenolol.

And you said about propranolol making your anxiety worse. I used to be on a anxiety med celexa and that made mine worse too even though it is supposed to help.

Now I take Vistaril for my anxiety. Vistaril is a form of hydroxyzine and is used more for anxiety without all the side effects of SSRI's.

I hope you feel better and get everything figured out!!!!

and I so know what it feels like to feel surreal. It has been better but I still get it sometimes. It used to be so bad I would feel disoriented like a zombie and just plain out of it like I was afraid I was going to go crazy. I get like that when I have migraines as well.. I had a migraine today and I felt so out of it.

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I was on atenolol for a while, because I guess its one of the few beta blockers that don't cross the blood brain barrier so my neurologist thought it would be better for me. Anyway while I was on it I felt constantly like I was set back from everything, not exactly like tunnel vision but sort of in that direction, almost like I was in a bubble. I also could only focus on one thing at at time, like if I was watching tv and someone was trying to talk to me I had to choose one or the other. I have depersonaliztion disorder so having that disconnected, things seem foreign or daydream like feeling is pretty normal for me, but the beta blocker definately didn't help with mental clairity, so now I'm off it.

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  • 3 years later...

As soon as I was put on Bisoprolol beta blocker, I said it made me feel like a drunk zombie. They took me off beta blockers 11 months ago, but I still feel like a drunk zombie, I never recovered, I see a neurologist next Tuesday. I have found lots of stuff from professional health studies linking beta blockers to cognitive impairment.

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17 minutes ago, Peter Charlton said:

As soon as I was put on Bisoprolol beta blocker, I said it made me feel like a drunk zombie. They took me off beta blockers 11 months ago, but I still feel like a drunk zombie, I never recovered, I see a neurologist next Tuesday. I have found lots of stuff from professional health studies linking beta blockers to cognitive impairment.

I was on Atenolol, then switched to carvedilol that has now been cut in half. I have felt no difference with any of the drug changes. Good luck with the neuro. I love mine, she helped me build my own educational and creative therapy program to assist the short term memory, dissociation and fog problems. I went through an assortment of brain scans and memory/logic tests so they would know exactly where the problem areas were prior to setting up the neuro therapy.  Memory testing can take up to four hours but it's worth it as they identify your cognitive deficits and strengths. I went to Cushings Institute in Great Neck, NY for the testing. Next time I see the neuro I'll be bringing up that I've noticed sensory overload is now also triggering for and dissociation--these things wane and then swing to the forefront to wane again. I recently went off all supplements and now get my nutrients entirely from the food I eat and drink. I started to have more clarity with a few days of eating smarter.

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23 hours ago, WinterSown said:

I was on Atenolol, then switched to carvedilol that has now been cut in half. I have felt no difference with any of the drug changes. Good luck with the neuro. I love mine, she helped me build my own educational and creative therapy program to assist the short term memory, dissociation and fog problems. I went through an assortment of brain scans and memory/logic tests so they would know exactly where the problem areas were prior to setting up the neuro therapy.  Memory testing can take up to four hours but it's worth it as they identify your cognitive deficits and strengths. I went to Cushings Institute in Great Neck, NY for the testing. Next time I see the neuro I'll be bringing up that I've noticed sensory overload is now also triggering for and dissociation--these things wane and then swing to the forefront to wane again. I recently went off all supplements and now get my nutrients entirely from the food I eat and drink. I started to have more clarity with a few days of eating smarter.

A shame they didnt memory test me prior so they can compare my cognitive functions to what it is now. My main problem though is I feel drunk, as in not being able to walk straight, losing inhibitions, slow to take in my surroundings when I turn my head around. Looking up and down stairs is the most confusing. 

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On 2/7/2018 at 5:29 PM, Peter Charlton said:

A shame they didnt memory test me prior so they can compare my cognitive functions to what it is now. My main problem though is I feel drunk, as in not being able to walk straight, losing inhibitions, slow to take in my surroundings when I turn my head around. Looking up and down stairs is the most confusing. 

Exactly how I feel, to me it's like a dissociation-vertigo hybrid. I can't remember how many doctors I have told I feel like I've had a half a glass of wine too much. The EP cut another drug yesterday, now I am off norvasc and we'll start cutting down the prinivil next.

Last month my husband and I took the train into the city to see a show and while we were on the train I told him that I wished we had worn matching outfits. Same jacket and shirt with jeans or chinos for both of us. He practically sneered that  I wanted us to look like twins but then he got it and understood that I was concerned about getting separated from him in a crowd. If we have on matching outfits it's impossible to forget what the other is wearing.

 

 

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Beta blockers reduce cardiac output and cerebral blood flow. They may help some symptoms in some people, but in the main POTS involves a reduced stroke volume and cerebral blood flow so it makes no sense to compound that. They are popular simply because they make the numbers look better, but the fast heart rate in POTS isn't the cause of the problem, it is the body's attempt to compensate for whatever your underlying problem is eg hypovolaemia, pooling, impaired venous constriction etc. If we felt well we would neither know nor care what our heart rate was.

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