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Medications & Prescription Treatment

Very Nervous to Take Beta Blockers As a Preventative

  • By MaryTyler

    Hi all,

    l was diagnosed with chronic migraine last year after experiencing aura/optic migraines for over 10 years and initially not knowing what they were.

    l’ve been referred to a neurologist but the waitlist is long, l have some concerns over whether beta blockers are a good idea for me, but my PCP strongly recommends them.

    Right now l’m on Pamelor, have tried Topamax, and take Imitrex when an attack hits. The preventatives l’ve tried so far aren’t as helpful as l would like.

    Is it possible to try beta blockers and not take this medication every day? l’m 35, tend toward low blood pressure and dizziness, on the thin side.

    Very afraid of passing out in the shower or something and l live alone.

    l’ve also read about the cognitive side effects which scare me a bit. In addition, it doesn’t seem like even casual consumption of alcohol is safe in combination with them.

    l’d prefer to try alternatives, but at times l become impatient and just want to try what works and not worry about side effects.

    reply
  • By Nancy Harris Bonk Moderator

    Hi MaryTyler,

    Thank you for sharing your journey with us. I understand it can be a bit scary to start new medications, but when we have debilitating migraine attacks, it’s important to try and prevent as many as we can. Many of us, including myself take beta blockers without issue. However, if you are concerned about low blood pressure, please speak with the doctor before starting one.

    Don’t lose hope! There are over 100 medications and supplements that can be used to treat migraine disease and that doesn’t include devices. This article is a great place to start; https://migraine.com/blog/migraine-preventives-start/.

    The thing is when we start new medications, it can take up to 90 days before we see a reduction in migraine attack frequency and severity. I know that can feel like forever, but it’s necessary to give new medications a fair trial. Does that make sense?

    There are alternative things that can be used to treat migraine disease and many start there. Let me share with you our complementary and alternative treatments page; https://migraine.com/complimentary-and-alternative-therapies/.

    Let me know what you think and wishing you a low pain day,
    Nancy

    reply
  • By glassmind

    Beta blockers are not recommended for patients with hypotension (low blood pressure). I, also have low blood presdurr. It was GP and cardiologist who told me I could not take bets_blockers.

    Beta-blockers come woth an advisory regarding hypotension.

    Please discuss your concerns with your doctor.

    The benefits may outweigh the side effects, but blood pressure is a legitamit concern.

    Take care

    reply
  • By MaryTyler

    Thanks for the replies.

    l know that in the past l’ve had orthostatic hypotension and had to have blood pressure taken lying down.

    l also *once* passed out after donating blood and it’s not an experience l want to repeat, especially alone in my apartment. l think that every time l’ve had my BP taken at the office though, it’s pretty textbook or on the normal side of low so maybe my doctor isn’t aware that it fluctuates.

    l tend toward dizziness in general and have been underweight, I’ll make all these factors very clear at the next appointment.

    reply
    • By glassmind

      Explain to your doctor thatyou have symtoms out of office. It is common for people to have elevated bp at the doctors, so you could be low at home and “normal” at the docs.

      Request (or purchase) an at home or constant monitoring blood pressure measuring device. Then you can get readings and report them.

      I always test low on machines at pharmacies and when I used to try to donate blood (I was repeatedly turned away for low bp). But often test at the bottom of normal at dr appt.

      I tested low frequently enough to be diagnosed hypotension, though.

      Later when I came under the care of a cardiologist (at my request due to many other symtoms) my hypotension was reconfirmed. And the cardiologist prescribed Salt! Lol. I was shocked to be told “eat more salt.” It has helped.

      Good luck with advocating for yourself with the dr.

      reply