Patients Should Wait to take Bystolic Until 2015, Group Warns

A prominent watchdog group is warning against use of the hypertension drug Bystolic, indicating that it could cause severe breathing problems and that it appears to provide no advantage over taking cheaper, more thoroughly studied hypertension drugs.  

In the latest edition of Public Citizen’s Worst Pills, Best Pills newsletter (subscription required), the consumer advocacy group urges patients to explore other means of lowering blood pressure, including changes to diet, exercise and decreased salt and alcohol intake, instead of taking Bystolic. Public Citizen warns that consumers should wait until at least 2015 before using the drug.

Bystolic (nebivolol) was approved in December 2007 by the FDA for the treatment of hypertension. It is a member of a class of drugs known as beta-one selective beta blockers. Public Citizen recommend that new drugs should be on the market for seven years before readers use the medications, allowing enough time for postmarketing analysis to reveal potential long-term side effects.

At high doses, the drug could lose its selectivity and block beta-two receptors as well, the group warns. This could cause problems among patients with asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), because other non-selective beta blockers, such as Normodyne and Trandate, can inhibit muscle relaxation throughout the body and the upper airway, impairing bronchial and bronchiolar dilation.

The drug’s label warns that it should be avoided by users suffering from heart failure, slow or irregular heartbeat, severe liver damage or who have asthma and COPD. Common side effects also include heart failure and fatigue.

A study published last October in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) found that beta blockers, often prescribed to prevent strokes and heart problems, may provide little benefit. Researchers found that statistically the drugs did not appear to have any benefit in lowering heart attack, cardiac arrest or stroke rates. However, they warned that more randomized drug trials needed to be undertaken to get a better sense of the class’s efficacy.

Tags: , , , , ,


  1. Betty Reply

    I’ve been taking Bystolic since about 2008 or 09 for high blood pressure. I was extremely upset to learn that this isn’t something that you can just stop taking. In 2010 I started suffering for fainting or near fainting spells but only while sitting. I was afraid to tell anyone until I fainted while driving one night in December 2012. Since then we have been trying to figure out why. I’ve had a battery of neurological testing and cardiac testing….found a slow heartbeat and was unable to raise my heart rate even with activity…in June 2013 I received a pacemaker for braydicardia I’m only 50. During all the testing I asked if Bystolic could be the reason for all of this….I never get response from anyone. Now my health insurance shows Bystolic as a high risk drug because of my medical issues. So I did some more reading on it. I slows down the heart and reduces the the amount blood that moves through the heart. So I have a pacemaker for my heart that is too slow and won’tl speed up …. never had an issue before……less blood pumping through my heart and not getting to the my limbs and brain possibly causing my fainting….I never fainted before in my life until after I started taking Bystolic. I want to stop taking it but I’ve read that it should be done slowly and under doctors care.

  2. Susan Reply

    I was put on Bystolic after coming off of metoprolol. Within a week I noticed a slight cough but didn’t relate it to Bystolic until it really starting getting bad. About a month later, every time I inhaled it caused me to cough. Finally it began to cause intense chest discomfort that terrified me. I made an appointment and insisted on coming off the drug. I was placed on Coreg, but while the cough lessened, it has continued. I have since come off the Coreg and my breathing is still not right. I can walk on the tredmill, but if I try to go to a slight jog, my throat and chest burn (for lack of a better description). I tell the Dr’s but I don’t think they believe me or want to acknowledge it. In my opinion, Bystolic is a horrible medication and I truly believe it has damaged something in my respiratory tract.

  3. James Reply

    On Bystolic since February 2014. I have had the following since joint pain in elbows and hips, cough, running nose, testicular pain and a daily asthma attack. That’s enough ,I never had asthma am in fine shape and none of these symptoms existed prior.

  4. Ron Reply

    My GP changed my BP med from clonidine to bystolic. Bystolic is a terrible drug. I took it for about one year and had recurring respiratory problems. It caused me to develop asthma at the age of 65. For 5 months, I have suffered from severe asthma. Have been to many doctors, had every test out there, been to the ER 3 times. I am taking antibiotics, steroids, etc., and using a nebulizer daily. Have been off bystolic for 2 months, but the bad side effects continue.

  5. Marilyn Reply

    I’m 76 years old and the Dr. prescribed Bystolic because my b/p was a “little” high.
    It’s the only drug I was taking and I will NEVER take another Bystolic tabled. My
    joints hurt so bad I couldn’t raise my arms, my legs bothered me and I had a cough. I
    know it was the Bystolic because after I quit taking it in about 2 months my joints quit
    hurting and the cough gradually subsided…Of course, the Dr. didn’t think Bystolic was
    the cause……yet no explanation for what went on. It’s a horrible drug!! I wonder how
    many people have died due to taking it and never knowing what the cause was.. I took
    it for just 6 mos……I think eventually it would’ve caused many more problems….

  6. Denise Reply

    In December 2013 I saw a cardiologist (at the request of my primary care provider) because of hypertension. Because I have had many adverse reactions to antibiotics, calcium channel blockers and anesthetics, I did not want to take medication, but the cardiologist made such dire predictions, if I failed to medicate, that I was frightened enough to fill his prescription for Bystolic 10mg. Knowing that I am very sensitive to medications, I took only 1/2 a tablet once a day. The first two/three weeks it lowered my blood pressure remarkably, but made me dizzy, unbalanced, extremely fatigued, and I had difficulty falling asleep, although I was sleepy during the day. After three weeks, I experienced blurred vision, dry mouth, cold extremities, joint pain, strange dreams, and tremors. I decided to begin weaning off Bystolic very slowly. I last took .25 mg on February 25, 2014. Although most of the side effects are gone, I am still having significant balance problems, occasional tremors, and some visual problems. I will not be bullied/frightened into taking medications in the future and rue the day that I took the doctor’s advice. I am currently getting physical therapy for gait rehabilitation, treatment for joint hypermobility and balance training. I fear that after almost a year some of these problems may be permanent.

  7. Diana Reply

    I took Bystolic for 6 months. I recently just came home from a short hospital stay that I attribute to Bystolic. I was so sick, couldn’t even think about eating food. My anxiety level went thru the roof. Muscular weakness. Stomach burning. They ran all kinds of tests. The Bystolic raised my triglycerides and glucose levels. I am home now but still so very weak and still nauseated. I felt as if I was going to die and still have bad anxiety of not getting rid of these symptoms. Bystolic is a horrible medication. It was good for a few months and then all of a sudden by blood pressure went crazy. Just praying that I can get over these horrible side effects. Bystolic was the only medication I was taking.

  8. Rebecca Reply

    I have been taking bystolic for about 10 years. It lowered my b/p significantly, with no side effects! I’ve taken other meds for high b/p, and they caused insomnia and chronic,annoying cough. Bystollic works really well for me, caused no weight gain nor other readings to go up.

  9. A.D. Sharpe Reply

    I weaned my dosage down to 2.5 mgs over several months. I stopped it about 4 weeks ago.

    My energy level has increased 4 or 5 fold.

    The old BP standard was Age + 100. I haven’t gotten to 176 since I discontnued, and usually is below the WHO imposed standard, intitiated after the Pharma Gang gave the two committees over 1/2 billion USD to find a “favorable” ruling that would sell more dope.

    Of course, at 76, I won’t be doing any walk-on tryouts with NFL teams this year.

    If you enjoy crazy dreams and insomnia, this is the drug for you!

  10. morten Reply

    I got severe nuerological problems from bystolic including balance problems. I have now stopped the med and it seems to be better now. Im very sensitive to meds.

  11. Iris-Maria Reply

    I was put on 20mg Bystolic about 2 years ago and suffered the whole time from extreme muscle and joint pains as well as a cough so bad that I threw up at times. I was always extremely cold and could not sleep at all. My headaches were so bad I actually thought I had a tumor. My BP was still high . I am off Bystolic now for two weeks and now I cannot evern vacuum my tiny apartment without severe chest burns and burns in my throat. The muscle pains are going aweay but my respiratory system is damaged and my heart beats so fast I am afraid that I will have a heartattack. It was so bad that I actually thought I had MS and my Doctor flat out told me it was all in my head and told me to double the dose of Bystolic . I did that for a week and thought I was going to die.

  12. Judith Reply

    Dr. put me on bystolic knowing I had very mild asthma.I Kept complaining of weakness and shortness of breath. After 2 years finally took me off of it becaue of severe weakness and inability to even remain on a treadmill for even a minute. Approximately 6 months later I suffered from “Broken Heart”, the left side of my heart collapsed and was functioning at 10%. My very mild asthma has been exasberated and now requires daily medication, with NO allergies when tested. The real issue apparently was an UN diagnosed thyroid problem.
    This whole thing is terrible since I do now have a very mild cardiomyopathy issue.
    This is what happens when Pharma detailers promote drugs and dr.’s don’t do thier homework.

  13. Patsy Reply

    I suffered pneumonia and lung aspiration that I attribute to the Bystolic I had taken for greater than six months. I was hospitalized for 5 days and had my b/p med changed. Unfortunately I continue to have respiratory difficulty.

  14. Warren Reply

    Two strokes in 2009 back to back. Had all the tests done and other then High blood pressure and being diabetic Docs said my heart was fine and I quote (strong as a 20 year old) and the valves are functioning perfect. I was on Avandia at the time and I told my Doctor it was killing me so he upped the prescription and said my body had to get used to it. So I stopped taking it but I think it let too my strokes anyways three years later feeling fine and working everyday. all things in check but a bit fast on the heart rate. 102bpm, so my Cardiologist hands me a bottle of Byostolic I take it for a few days with my other prescriptions and then everything goes south for me. weakness, dizziness, breathing problems especially if I lay down. 33bpm. So I go to my Family doctor and finds I have pneumonia and lung aspiration. Sends my to my cardiologist (the one that gave me Byostolic) He puts me in the hospital and the next thing I know I get 5 bypasses and a pacemaker/defibrillator stuck in my chest. and the valve that was fine gets a titanium ring. What happened to the heart of a 20 year old I say to my doctor and I quote. (family history has a lot to do with it) Byostolic is death in a bottle. Took me two years to get better and now I’m put out to pasture. lost my job and now have a Hospital lean on my home. Oh not a smoker or drinker and was in good health. considering. Oh all started at age 49, now I’m 54.

  15. Tom Reply

    Wow, all of these horror stories are scary, but it makes sense since this is an attorney website interested in class action lawsuits.

  16. Jay Reply

    I have been on bystolic for 7 years. At the age of 30 I was diagnosed with chronic systolic heart failure. My ejection fraction was at 33% after a double heart cath, my doc found the pressure in the left chamber in my heart to be really high and said I was at risk for my heart to explode due to the pressure. He put me on bystolic and it has helped a lot. At my 6yr checkup my ejection fraction was up to 70%. Yes I have some joint pain, I have gained weight since being on the drug, but I’m alive and the risk of my heart exploding is decreased greatly. The first year was hard, no energy, felt bad all the time but I adjusted and after 7 years I can’t tell I’m even taking a beta blocker other than the joint pain.

  17. Tony Reply

    Been taking this for 3 years since I started taking it I have had a weez in my chest and running nose ask the dr about it and she gives me amoxicillin for a cold. Pharmacist told my wife not to let me take anything with acetomine in it as it could cause a massive heart attack. I am trying to send myself off systolic .and have had a headache for a week

  18. Carroll Reply

    I was given Bystolic 10 mg in hopes of it controlling my b/p and h/r. I suffered many terrible side effects. (weakness,dizziness, fainting, headaches, confusion and memory loss)

  19. Alice Reply

    This drug which I started on Tuesday caused my asthma to get VERY BAD~ i THOUGHT i HAD THE FLU and I was suffocating last night so I took too much albuterol. I am trying to get off Lopressor and thought this would work. Once you get on Lopressor you can’t get off it or so they tell me. BEWARE of these drugs. This should NOT be on the market IMO but a thousand of us will have to die before they take it off.

  20. Peggy Reply

    I have been taking bystolic for more than a year. I have asthma in which I have bern able to controll with very little meds however; since taking bystolic I have had asthma attacks every day and lots of breathing problems as well as a cough that is from hell. I cannot feel my feet. They are totally numb and cold as if not getting blood. I also am experiencing almost total brain fog in a way it actually feels like I have dementia. Very worried that I may have permanent damage to my brain and my feet. I also am suffering from a sweating problem where I am soaked all the time. Not hot flashes. I have reported all of this info to every doctor that I have been to. I feel that none of my doctors have heard me.

  21. Sergio Reply

    I too took bystolic for about a year in 2007 messed up my breathing was 38 yrs old doc didn’t tell the side effects went to er several times almost fainted everyday

  22. charles a lewis Reply

    Had stroke with in 24 hours of taking this med had asthma told doc. this but he gave it to me any way if i had read this article i wood have never taken this med.

  23. Mike Reply

    It would be handy to readers and or respondents for people to post age height and weight. Are you active or unable to excersise etc. I’m 62, male 6′ 165 lbs. I’m active, I golf, prefer walking, and it doesn’t bother me. Because of a major blockage I had a stent put in. My doctor put me on Bystolic,Effient, and Atorvistatin. He said I would need to be on them for one year. That year was up on June 15. At my appointment I told my my doctor I was ready to stop taking meds and he said oh no you don’t want to do that. I asked him how much longer? He said for the rest of my life. I suffer from insomnia joint aches fatigue and persistent cough. Not certain but it seems my immune is somewhat compromised. I go to the YMCA three times a week. I lift , do cardio and swim. I don’t overdo anything but I feel no pain while working out. The hundred dollar question is Do I need these drugs or does my doctor need me to need these drugs?

  24. Brian Reply

    5mgs broken in half,ok first week and then weakness ,balance, sick feeling,anxiety and inability to execise .Butt is glued to chair but was told I must take this due to new rules for Commercial Drivers Lic. Never had high blood pressure but was high in office showed the the doc my readings at home and he hardly would look or talk about them.Used to walk and workout 1.5 hrs a day good shape,now a couch potato.Big Pharma wins again,TO DO NO HARM YEA RIGHT!

  25. aixa Reply


  26. Rosalind Reply

    Well my doctor prescribed bystolic and I would not take the medicine bystolic . So I decided to change doctor think this doctor would listern , she prescribed the same bystolic. Now I have sugar diabetes I don’t understand no one in my family has diabetes my mother or my father side. My arm and knees hurt so bad. I just don’t understand why doctors will prescribe medication that will hurt the patient instead of helping the patient. While I’m at work I get so sleepy and tired and exhausted . The doctor didn’t have to take me off the medication I took myself off so if anything happened to me from taking myself off so be it

  27. Cgaresse6 Reply

    Doctor prescribed Bystolic 10 mg June 2018. Severe headache first night, cold hands and feet second night. Slight dizziness. Went to ER one week later for chest discomfort. Everything checked out fine. Saw prescribing doctor week after ER visit. Did not decrease dosage. Saw nurse practitioner the following week with complaint of feeling slow and tired, compromised breathing – couldn’t get a full breath and low blood pressure. Prescription reduced to 2.5mg after 1 month of use. I decided to make an appointment to see a cardiologist – first time ever. Was told I could stop taking. Over next few weeks weaned myself off by reducing 1/4 weekly. Have been off for 9 days. Feeling better but breathing still not perfect, joint pain, arm, leg, foot discomfort. Blood pressure in low 120s over high 70/low 80s and heart rate 77-83 consistently. I am 46 years old. Had prehypertention. Not very happy to be having side effects that I’m not sure will disappear. Feel strongly that Bystolic should not be prescribed unless dire situation. I agree, Bystolic is a bad drug. By the way, never had chest pains, sore joints, shortness of breath before taking Bystolic. It’s just plain awful. Do not allow your doctor to prescribe.

  • Share Your Comments

  • Have Your Comments Reviewed by a Lawyer

    Provide additional contact information if you want an attorney to review your comments and contact you about a potential case. This information will not be published.
  • NOTE: Providing information for review by an attorney does not form an attorney-client relationship.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.