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Alpha blockers, Beta Blockers and nightmares

This is a multi topic post. I realise that this is not the Dermatology forum, but I feel it necessary to talk in detail about my Cholinergic Urticaria in order to show my reasoning for wanting to try an Alpha blocker for hypertension and social anxiety.

I am currently taking an ACE inhibitor for hypertension. Although it may lower my blood pressure to a degree, it does not have any of the other, beneficial effects of a Beta blocker.

Can Alpha blockers cause nightmares in the way that Beta blockers do? I am going to ask my Doctor for an alternative to a Beta blocker that will have the same effects without the side effect of nightmares. I am studying up on this before seeing him, as I feel I need to be able to make good sense, in case he may not wish to see the relevance of the subject.

My first experience with a Beta blocker was with propranolol over ten years ago. At the time, I was not suffering from hypertension (at least not when checked), but I was prescribed this medication in an attempt to control Cholinergic Urticaria, which resisted other treatments such as Antihistamines, H1 and H2 blockers, Tricyclic antidepressants etc. 10x10mg of plain Propranolol taken over the course of a day each day, did not work. At this point I stopped seeing my dermatologist as he had exhausted all methods of treatment that he was willing to try.

Please allow me to describe Cholinergic Urticaria in my own words here, as its symptoms are often confused with that of other forms of Urticaria, even by some doctors. An attack of Cholinergic Urticaria is brought about by an increase in the body's core temperature. Most doctors disagree with me at the point of saying that the “Itch” part results specifically from sweat. They say it does not. I have concluded, over many years of observation, that the worse the attack of Cholinergic Urticaria is, the dryer the skin is. If there is a little sweat, the “Itch” is annoying, but not ferocious. If there is free flowing sweat, the Cholinergic Urticaria is not present. It is as if the sweat is blocked at the sweat ducts with some sort of allergic reaction to the sweat itself. The welts are tiny in size, and therefore you experience Cholinergic Urticaria as possibly thousands of individual sharp, piercing itches. It is as if each sweat duct causes an individual itch. This is what makes Cholinergic Urticaria feel so bad. It overwhelms the nervous system. It is my opinion that, Antihistamines make this significantly worse as the Histamine seems to work as a counterirritant.

About ten years ago, on a day before a very important practical exam where I had to work in front of hundreds of people, I consulted another doctor. I knew that with the Cholinergic Urticaria, I would be doomed to failure, so I had to do something. It was that important! I devised a theory that if I could bring my body temperature down enough, the Cholinergic Urticaria could not happen. I asked the doctor for a Beta blocker with the intention of taking more than prescribed. He prescribed 160mg of Inderal LA (Propranolol Long Acting). I took one that day as prescribed, but the next day, I took four of them (DANGER! DO NOT DO THIS). This was not intended as self abuse, but as a way to ensure that my body temperature would go low enough to prevent an attack of Cholinergic Urticaria. It worked! It is the only thing that ever worked. It did not only inhibit the Cholinergic Urticaria, but it allowed my confidence to increase dramatically on that day.

That night I had a violent nightmare which caused me to jump out of my bed screaming as though my life was about the be taken. It was so bad that I did not go back to bed that night and was very nervous throughout the next day. I do not know if a lower dosage would have worked well enough without causing the nightmare. I am afraid to take a Beta blocker again in case I have another nightmare like that one.

Does an alpha blocker sound like a viable alternative? Are there any other antihypertensive drugs that have similar, anti-anxiety effects to Beta Blockers that I could talk to my doctor about?

I want to obtain the beneficial effects of a Beta blocker again, but in a safe, medically approved way. I suffer from social anxiety and shaky confidence. I know that the only thing that ever really controlled it was Inderal LA at that very high dosage. I understand that such a dosage is not appropriate and I am not inclined to do that again.

Another possible reason for me to take an Alpha blocker might be that I have difficulty urinating. I do not know if there is a prostate issue. Frankly, I don't want an exam. That would be too unsettling for someone of my psychology. I'm 29. Even if that is old enough to have prostate problems, I have had difficulty urinating since I was 19, which I believe is not old enough.

Thank you for reading.
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