Heart Disease Expert Forum
Should I take beta blockers even though the dr says I am o.k.?
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Should I take beta blockers even though the dr says I am o.k.?

  I have had palpitations for many years now (my mom has mitro valve prolapse) and just recently (I am 42) I have been getting skipped heart beats, palpitations... Three weeks ago, I was in the er because of this.  I had severe palpitations (five or six an hour) shortness of breath, and dizziness.  To make a long story short, I was told I suffered an anxiety attack.  I feel that if my heart wasn't palpitating in the first place, I wouldn't have had an anxiety attack.  This has been three weeks now and I have seen a cardiologist and wore a holter monitor, ekg's, blood work and blood gas.  I have been informed my heart is very healthy.  I have been prescribed Toprox-XL 25 mg. to take upon my decision for the palpitations and anxiety. My question is should I take these if my heart is healthy?  I don't feel like there's stress in my life, but who knows.  Upon research for beta blockers, I came across this message board.  I would appreciate any advice.  Thank You
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Dear Julie,
Thank you for your question. Beta-blockers as a class includes the following other medications: generic (brand name), - propranolol (Inderal), atenolol (Tenormin), Labetalol (Normodyne, Trandate), metoprolol (Lopressor), pindolol (Viskin), Nadolol (Corgard), and sotalol (Betapace).  These drugs work by binding to a receptor called the beta receptor.  Once this receptor is blocked the drug exerts its effect in various methods.  The heart rate is slowed, the blood pressure is lowered and heart rhythms are stabilized.  
Beta-blockers are used to treat high blood pressure, angina (chest pain), heart attacks, heart rhythm problems such as atrial fibrillation. PVC's and more recently heart failure.  
Potential side effects include: >10 % mental depression, tiredness, weakness, dizziness
1-10% Bradycardia (slow heart rate), wheezing, irregular heart beat, reduced peripheral circulation, heartburn
<1% Rash, chest pain, constipation, decreased sexual activity, itching, nausea, vomiting, stomach discomfort, insomnia, heart failure, nightmares, confusion, headache, impotence, cold extremities.
Potential drug interactions include:
Increased effect of metoprolol - amiodarone, cimetidine, diltiazem, nifedipine, nicardipine, verapamil, flecainide, hydralazine, MAO inhibitors, quinidine, ciprofloxacin, propafenone, oral contraeptives, fluoxetine, sertraline.
Decreased effect of metoprolol - NSAIDS, salycylates, barbiturates, rifampin, clonidine.
The dosage and frequency depend upon the individuals metabolism and the drug being used.
There are no substitutes to beta-blockers. There are no drugs to counteract the side effects of beta blockers.
AS far as specific advise we always recommend following the advise of your doctor.
I hope you find this information useful.  Information provided in the heart forum is for general purposes only.  Only your physician can provide specific diagnoses and therapies.  Please feel free to write back with additional questions.
If you would like to make an appointment at the Cleveland Clinic Heart Center, please call 1-800-CCF-CARE or inquire online by using the Heart Center website at www.ccf.org/heartcenter.  The Heart Center website contains a directory of the cardiology staff that can be used to select the physician best suited to address your cardiac problem.




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