Heart Disease Expert Forum
Can I stop taking atenolol?
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Can I stop taking atenolol?

Can I stop taking atenolol?  How can I do this?

I am a 38 year old man. I've been taking 25mg of atenolol daily for about 3 years because of a cardiac arrhythmia (I don't know the medical term for this: an extra beat causing my heart to stop for about 1 second) (PVCs?).  I was a very active basketball player since I was a teenager until 4 years ago.  I suffered a very strong depression period, for almost 1 year, I stopped exercise, and then I started feeling palpitations and arrhytmia.  Cardiologist prescribed me atenolol, and when I started taking it, everything was ok, it worked great.  But nowadays, I feel tired all the time, I can't sleep at night and feel sleepy all day long, I have gastric problems, I think I am losing my hair, I can't make any exercise, I can't even climb stairs without feeling like dying, and I have palpitations and arrhythmia from time to time.  I read they all can be atenolol's side effects, I also read atenolol can't be suspended abruptly, so I've tried to stop taking it gradually once or twice, but whenever I try, I feel very anxious, palpitations and arrhythmia increase, my head hurts, I feel out of breath, I feel chest pressure and pain.  I get scared because I think I will end up having a heart attack.

I hope you can help me.

Regards.
Giovanni in Guatemala.
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242508_tn?1287427246
You should always make these decisions with your heart doctor.  However, it is safe to stop the atenolol.  I would do it slowly, such as you did once before.  There is no risk of having a heart attack when stopping it at your age.  The arrhythmia (palpitations) may get worse.  Again, I would discuss this with you doctor first.
2 Comments
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242509_tn?1196926198
You are not likely to be having a heart attack, and so you should not worry that you are dying. There is only one way to know if these symptoms are from the atenolol, and that is to stop it. In doing so you may precipitate the heart arrhythmia, such that the intensity of the episodes may be higher than before So you may take it every other day for one week, then every third day or so for another week then stop it completely. If these symptoms don't improve then it  was no the atenolol, and if they do then you may need another medication in its place possibly in the same family or a calcium channel blocker.
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