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Beta-blockers for heart failure

Patient information A-Z


  • Bisoprolol
  • Carvedilol


Beta-blockers are used to treat many problems. If your heart is starting to fail they:

  • help to control high blood pressure
  • help your heart to beat regularly
  • help to cut down the workload of your heart

Taking your beta-blocker

Your doctor will choose which beta-blocker you should take. Some are taken once a day but some are taken more often. Always follow the instructions on the label of your medicine. Do not stop taking your beta-blocker unless your doctor tells you to.

Problems to watch for

  • Tell your doctor straight away if you have asthma or if you feel wheezy after taking your beta-blocker.
  • Tell your doctor if you notice that you feel short of breath or if you get swollen ankles. Your doctor will want to check that your heart is working properly.
  • Tell your doctor straight away if you are diabetic. You might need to check your blood sugar more often. Your doctor might change the dose of your medication.
  • When you take your beta-blocker you might notice side effects such as:
    • Tingling or pains in your fingers and toes, especially in cold weather.
    • Feeling tired.
    • Feeling dizzy or faint when you stand up.
    • Having strange dreams.
    • Having an upset stomach.
    • Having a skin rash or dry eyes.
    • Having problems with sexual intercourse.
  • Tell your doctor if you notice any strange effects from taking your beta-blocker.
  • Women who are pregnant or who are breast feeding should talk to their doctor before taking beta-blockers. The doctor will want to discuss the risks and benefits of taking beta-blockers with you.

Privacy and dignity

Same sex bays and bathrooms are offered in all wards except critical care and theatre recovery areas where the use of high-tech equipment and/or specialist one to one care is required.

We are smoke-free

Smoking is not allowed anywhere on the hospital campus. For advice and support in quitting, contact your GP or the free NHS stop smoking helpline on 0800 169 0 169.

Other formats

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Contact us

Cambridge University Hospitals
NHS Foundation Trust
Hills Road, Cambridge

Telephone +44 (0)1223 245151