View Full Version : Beta Blockers

September 16th, 2010, 07:55 PM
I recently had my blood pressure medicine changed, strengthened I am sorry to say. I was told by my physician that I now am taking a beta blocker, the most noticiable side effect he warned me about is during my workout, he said my heart would not be as fast....that I havent noticed....but I have noticed that my arms feel fatigued, dont know if it is a by product of my spottty training recently due to a broken pool pump, 2 funerals, and a kidney stone, or the new medicine....anyone here have any experience with this? thanks in advance.

Allen Stark
September 16th, 2010, 08:12 PM
I haven't taken them,but I have prescribed them.Some people have very little negative effects from them and some people have decreased athletic performance.Since they slow the heart and lower blood pressure they could be causing the arm fatigue you are experiencing.See how you do when you are able to train more regularly.

September 17th, 2010, 12:43 AM
Hi, I'v been on BP meds at a low dosage for about 9 years & no noticeble drop other than me getting older.

September 17th, 2010, 07:36 AM
I've been on beta blockers before, and they really impacted my training. It was difficult to get my HR over 120 or so, and I always felt heavy and sluggish in the water. Last year I was on them for a while after a lone atrial fibrillation incident. One evening workout featured several 200s on 2:40 or so, and I was holding 2:18 - 20. I had a day trip on business the next day, ... and forgot to take my meds. But got home in time for practice. We again did 200s on 2:40, and I descended to 2:08, and felt a lot better, and about the same effort. I "worked" with my doctor, so now I'm off the beta blocker. I do take lisinopril for some high BP, but I've never had a problem with it. Your mileage may vary, but always work with your doctor.

September 17th, 2010, 09:14 AM
I've been on beta blockers twice in my life for different reasons. I really didn't like the way they made me feel (although it is hard to get nervous when you are on a high enough dose, that had some advantages when I was a med student and being terrorized on rounds).

I have been very happy on lisinopril, too. There are all kinds of reasons why one regimen may be better for you than another so you really have to work with your doctor on this. Mine was very accommodating about working around my concerns.

There have been several recent reviews about the treatment of hypertension in athletes that might be helpful and relevant including:

Phys Sportsmed. 2010 Apr;38(1):37-44.
Treatment of hypertension in athletes: an evidence-based review.

Asplund C (http://forums.usms.org/pubmed?term=%22Asplund%20C%22%5BAuthor%5D).

individualized treatment for you is what counts.

jim thornton
September 17th, 2010, 10:08 AM
I have a teammate who is on beta blockers, and he has the same problem--they limit his maximum heart rate, which affects how much effort he can give.

In an earlier thread on treatment for hypertension, lisinopril seemed to emerge as the favorite of the swimmers who responded to my question about which drug least impacts swimming negatively.

Perhaps your doctor already tried this one, but if not, you might want to see if it works for you. It's an ACE inhibitor as opposed to a beta blocker. The latter work, I am pretty sure, by limiting the impact of adrenline (keeping you from getting too excited.)

I am not sure exactly what mechanism ACE inhibitors use, but they don't, apparently, slow you down. Interestingly, lisinopril like other ACE inhibitors, is derived from the venom of the jararaca, a Brazilian pit viper (from Wikipedia).

If you are wondering who your heart's best buddy is, it is this fellow:


Here's an interesting article on snake venom and blood pressure meds:



Workers in the banana plantations of southwestern Brazil were known to collapse suddenly after being bitten by a pit viper due to a drastic drop in blood pressure. Curious about what exactly this venom does to the body, biochemist Mauricio Rocha e Silva of a Brazilian research institute made extracts of the venom and began to study their effects in dogs and guinea pigs. In the mid 1960s, one of Silva's postdoctoral students, Sergio Ferreira, traveled to London to work in the lab of pharmacologist...

September 17th, 2010, 01:46 PM
Thyroid can be a big problem. Is it a lack of Iodine or too much Iodine. Lugols Solution of Iodine helps with control of thyroid problems in some cases. A drop or two a day. Don't use the regular Iodine.

September 17th, 2010, 06:13 PM
Might consider the new cardio-selective beta blocker, Bystolic. Fewer side effects, better tolerated.

September 17th, 2010, 09:04 PM
Might consider the new cardio-selective beta blocker, Bystolic. Fewer side effects, better tolerated.

A swimming buddy of mine was/is on Bystolic. It helped him immensely. He even talked to the company about a testemonial. He swore up and down about how he felt it allowed him to get back swimming.

September 19th, 2010, 02:14 AM
I have had very good luck with an angiotensin II receptor blocker, namely, Diovan, which I have been on for the last 7-8 years. I've had no noticeable side effects, and my BP has been better controlled than during the 20 years previously that I was on a beta blocker. The beta blocker didn't interfere with my exercising, but it had other undesirable side effects that I simply learned to live with. Other drugs I tried (and I think I must have tried them all, individually and in combination) left me feeling totally enervated.

Obviously, everybody's different; my point, really, is that if you're unhappy with your current regimen, ask your doc if there isn't something else you can try. There are lots of different classes of BP meds out there. My doc was always very good about giving me free samples to try before committing to a paid prescription.

September 19th, 2010, 10:29 AM
I have taken a beta blocker for 5 years, since having a heart attack (which was treated quickly, with no muscle damage). I certainly notice a difference in the water; my pulse won't go over 150, and I have experienced frustration about it. But my blood pressure has never been an issue; my reason for taking the medicine is to keep my heart from working too hard. I have learned to live with it; it's made me focus on form to a greater degree and to seek technical improvements in an attempt to go faster.

September 20th, 2010, 10:57 AM
I have had great success with Diovan also. I am not sure what class of drugs it belongs to. It is not a Beta blocker and is not an ACE inhibitor.

September 21st, 2010, 10:58 AM
Diovan is an ARB (angiotensin receptor blocker) which unlike an ACEI (angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitor) works directly on the angiotensin receptor. At one time considered second or third line therapy, this class of antihypertensive agents is now being used for first line treatment. Very well tolerated, no effect on heart rate.

September 21st, 2010, 01:04 PM
I've heard that ARBs are often not covered by insurance if you haven't been trialed on other therapies first, is that your experience?

September 21st, 2010, 01:36 PM
I recall β blockers were once on the USCF cycling banned list even though it provides no mechanism of cheating. However, if your holding a rifle and the goal is to hit a target for points then they do enhance performance.

September 21st, 2010, 01:45 PM
I've heard that ARBs are often not covered by insurance if you haven't been trialed on other therapies first, is that your experience?

Depends on the insurance company.

Some patients develop a dry cough with an ACEI (but not with an ARB).

September 21st, 2010, 03:39 PM
Thanks for all the imput... I was really just wondering if the decrease in performance was in my head.... I am going to keep taking the beta blockers for another month, train more consistantly, and see how it goes....the dry cough you mention is exactly why I was changed to a beta blocker......nice to know you are not totally crazy.....

September 21st, 2010, 06:22 PM
I was on one for my pre-hypertension that a doc (not my regular one) put me on when I was having what I thought were heart problems that turned out to be exercised induced asthma. I stayed on it for about 5 years. If I forgot to take it, I really noticed my HR getting higher than it did when I took it as I should have. I lost 50 pounds this year and decided to get off of all my meds including the beta blocker. My doctor gave me a taper down for the prescription and I am now drug-free :bliss:.


October 22nd, 2010, 04:48 PM
Been training pretty consistantly for a while now, and I will say that the beta blockers have definietly slowed me down. I have trouble maintaining my old "pace" going 3 seconds slower in a 50 (and man is that slow) will be going back to dr for something different....will report again (not that you are that interested)...thanks for all the great imput.

Mr. Pacemaker
October 26th, 2010, 09:27 PM
I'm on atenolol which my doctor tells me that is designed to keep my pulse rate at 120. When I take a stress test, they tell me not to take it 24 hours before the stress test.
I discussed the situation with my doctor and he is allowing me not to take the atenolol one day before and during a swim meet.
My situation may be different from others because I have had a quadriple bypass and currently have a pacemaker/difribillator. My pacemaker is set at 140 beats on the high end and 60 beats on the lower end.

Mr. Pacemaker

October 27th, 2010, 05:47 AM
I personally would not recommend that; abrupt withdrawal of a beta blocker can result in a rebound in heart rate and blood pressure.

October 29th, 2010, 03:18 PM
In researching this myself I had a friend send me this paper, which I found to be very helpful. Hopefully it would be for you too.

November 3rd, 2010, 12:46 PM
I swim everyday but don't compete. I'm 50 and have been taking BB's for 1.5 years. I was on Metoprolol and just recently switched to Bystolic. Neither has given me any muscle aches as side-effect.

I'm working out and not using heart rate as a measurement of how hard I'm working out. I use RPE (http://www.topendsports.com/testing/rpe-intensity.htm)and work between 6 and 7.

I started swimming laps again about a year ago after a 30 year break, and the arm pain I had at the beginning of my training I dealt with by slowing down, stopping and stretching, going to interval laps instead of 40 minutes of straight laps, alternating between swimming freestyle, then kicking, then pulling. My goal was to just keep my RPE at 6-7 for 30+ minutes. I'm currently now using a 40 minute workout at the same RPE.

A pattern I've noticed is if I don't enough sleep I'll get aches and pains while working out.