Beta blockers and slow heart rate


Submitted by Dr T on October 19, 2012 – 1:11pm

Do beta blockers lower the rate of an already normal to low heart rate.
I have been prescribed propranolol 20mg twice daily for very frequent pvcs. I’m somewhat nervous to take them because I read everywheres that they lower your heart rate, so since my heart isnt fast will this make it go even lower (to a dangerously low level). Im fearful of passing out or even worse if the beta blocker drops my heart rate too low-perhaps even making the heart stop. I have also read some people have ‘more’ pvcs because they can lower the heart rate too low , giving more time for pvcs to pop in between regular sinus beats. I asked my doc. and he says they wouldnt lower the rate at this low dose, but i am still very concerned. My blood pressure is also on the low side, last reading showed the top number to be 105, and can go into the 90’s for the top number at times, will i also have extremely low blood pressure due to this drug.
Thank you for any information on this drug.

Hi Jackie,
The Beta blocker Propranolol 20mg twice daily is a relatively low dose, and will not drop your heart rate or BP to dangerously low levels. The question is why are you taking it? If for PVCs, it will help reduce their frequency. However, you need to make sure your heart is otherwise normal.
Read this blog:
PVCs and a low heart rate
Hope this helps,
Dr T

Comments 6

  1. Post

    I had a heart attack and have 3 stents. No beta blocker because of low heart rate. Received a letter from my insurance that I need to be on beta blocker of some kind since I have indeed had a heart attack.

  2. Post

    Had MI due to 95 % blockage- Stint inserted – July
    August-Normal heart rate was going down-space maker we inserted
    Then reactions – severe – to beta blockers
    Sept Cardiologist say not another drug to slow down rate
    Have history of Vtach-11 run.
    What to do?

  3. Post

    I’ve been on bisoprolol for over 10 years for erratic bp up and down but my pulse at night getting really low. I work with horses strong physical work, I walk my dogs daily and cycle 2 times a week. My bp under good control but I wake up in the middle of the night with an ache in my chest and health wrist watch show.s my pulse is as low as 41. Should I stop the bisoprolol

    1. Post

      I’m having the same issues, could it be I’m over doing my diet & exercise?,, stumped’ I went from having hi bp, and out of rythym heart to my pulse dropping into the low 30 s & my bp going low 116/64 I am 64 years, my cardiologist wants me to have a pacemaker inserted? I don’t believe this is needed

      1. Post

        I would have thought stopping the beta blocker, which, by the way, is not recommended for over 60s unless you have a cardiac condition, would be the way to go. A pacemaker for a medication caused issue seems a bit excessive, unless you do have a cardiac condition.

  4. Post

    Just started bisoprorol 1.25 mg and my pulse has fallen to 53/min from 100-130. I feel v tired. I am 75. What is going on?

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