Beta blockers and slow heart rate

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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

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