I Hate Taking My Beta Blocker. It Makes Me Feel Tired. Why Should I Take It?

Question: I hate taking my beta blocker. It makes me feel tired. Why should I take it?

Answer: Well, a lot of patients do not like taking beta blockers, because the way it works is it drops your heart rate, and if you drop your heart rate, the amount of blood that the heart is pumping forward may also drop, creating symptoms of fatigue, impotence, drowsiness, lethargy, et cetera.

Now, beta blockers are very important in certain situations, though. It's been shown to really reduce your mortality, for example, make you live longer if you have a severely damaged heart muscle, something we call congestive heart failure, or if the pump function of the heart, the ejection fraction, is less than 40 percent, beta blockers will make you live longer.

In addition, in a patient who has had a recent heart attack, for example, in the past few years, beta blockers have been shown to make you live longer in addition to reducing your risk of having a second heart attack, so there may be very specific indications why your physician wants you to take a beta blocker, and if it's a case of saving your life, then of course we're willing to perhaps tolerate some of the side effects.

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