Common side effects of beta blockers include:
- Drowsiness or fatigue
- Cold hands and feet
- Dry mouth, skin, or eyes
- Upset stomach
- Diarrhea or constipation
Less common side effects include:
- Shortness of breath
- Wheezing or trouble breathing
- Loss of sex drive/erectile dysfunction (ED)
- Trouble sleeping
- Swelling of the hands or feet
- Slow heartbeat
- Skin rash
- Sore throat
- Memory loss or confusion
- Back or joint pain
Beta Blocker Precautions
If you have asthma or diabetes, talk to your doctor before taking a beta blocker.
These drugs may trigger a severe asthma attack and can mask signs of low blood sugar.
Let your doctor know about all other medical conditions you have before starting on a beta blocker.
Also, tell your doctor about all medicines you’re taking, especially:
- Other medications for high blood pressure
- Drugs for diabetes (including insulin)
- Medications for asthma, chronic bronchitis, emphysema, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
- Allergy shots
- Antacids that contain aluminum
- Over-the-counter (OTC) cough, cold, or allergy medicines
Beta Blockers, Alcohol, and Caffeine
Avoid eating or drinking products that contain alcohol or caffeine, since these drugs can affect how beta blockers work in your body.
Beta Blockers and Pregnancy
Tell your doctor if you’re pregnant, or might become pregnant, while taking a beta blocker.
Some beta blockers may be safe to take during pregnancy, while others may be harmful. Discuss the risks and benefits of taking these drugs with your doctor.
Also, talk to your healthcare provider before taking a beta blocker if you’re breastfeeding.
Beta Blockers and Certain Populations
Beta blockers may not work as well in people of African descent as in other racial or ethnic groups. Discuss this potential effect with your doctor.
Older people tend to experience more unwanted side effects when taking beta blockers.
Talk to your doctor about this risk if you’re over age 60.