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Home » Prescription and Medication » Beta-Blockers and Caffeine, Effects, Benefits, What To Do!
Beta-blockers help millions of people to keep their heart rate and blood pressure in check. Many of those people also drink coffee. So, what happens when you take beta-blockers and caffeine together?
First, we’ll give you a quick answer. Then we’ll provide a breakdown of the medical conditions that beta-blockers target, how they perform, and how this is affected by consuming caffeine.
Beta-blockers and caffeine – can you take them together? Caffeine causes beta-blockers to be less effective in reducing blood pressure, stress, anxiety, regulating fight or flight response, and widening blood vessels and arteries. People who consume caffeine regularly can be more caffeine tolerant and can withstand some of these effects.
But how specifically does it affect their performance? Let’s look at some of the ways beta-blockers aim to work, and what caffeine does to affect this process. First, what beta-blockers do with and without caffeine.
Beta-blockers are prescribed for several conditions like high blood pressure, angina, some abnormal heart rhythms, anxiety, migraine, glaucoma, and overactive thyroid symptoms.
Most of these conditions are induced by high blood pressure, stress, and anxiety. So, one of the main functions of beta-blockers is to reduce and ease these heart-related symptoms.
Below is a breakdown of how beta-blockers perform and the conditions they keep under control when you don’t take caffeine and how these effects change when you take caffeine.
The first and most effective feature of beta-blockers is lower blood pressure.
They do this by blocking the release and effects of hormones, such as epinephrine, also known as adrenaline and noradrenaline, in certain parts of the body.
What this limitation does is, it contributes to reducing the heart rate, which in turn reduces the force at which blood is pumped.
Meaning the high pressure of blood pumping or flowing that causes high blood pressure is reduced. Alongside, beta-blockers also blocks your kidneys from producing the angiotensin II hormones, which again supports in lowering blood pressure.
Caffeine’s Effect on Blood Pressure
Caffeine, in general, can spike your blood pressure, even if you don’t have any history of high blood pressure.
On the other hand, it’s believed that a greater than average blood pressure is common among people who regularly consume caffeinated beverages. This is, of course, in comparison to people who don’t consume any caffeinated beverages.
Some also believe that caffeine has an effect on hormones, in that it triggers and increases the release of adrenaline, which can again spike blood pressure, overriding the beta-blockers effect in reducing blood pressure.
Therefore, caffeine can counteract the function of certain medications, such as beta-blockers. As a result, you may not feel the full effects of beta-blockers reducing your blood pressure or related symptoms.
Your body has a natural fight or flight response. This is a physical response the body has under moments of anxiety and fear.
This response is essential in times of danger, as it’s what helps you physically respond to danger, such as moving out of the way of an oncoming car.
The hormones responsible for activating the fight-flight responses are adrenaline and noradrenaline. When your body is overexposed to these hormones, it increases your fight-flight response, causing more anxiety and overall stress.
When you’re stressed because of high fight or flight responses, it increases one’s heart rate and causes more forceful contractions of the heart. This is where you may feel a rapid heartbeat, excessive sweating, and palpitations – all induced by stress.
What beta-blockers do is reduce these stress boosting hormones, which helps in reducing the fight-flight response and overall anxiety.
This, in turn, helps in relaxing the heart muscles and blood flow, reducing the high pressure at which blood is pumped, thereby reducing overall blood pressure.
Caffeine’s Effect on Fight or Flight and Stress
Caffeine is a stimulant, which means caffeine can stimulate stress, anxiety, and cause a “jittery” effect, which is similar to those that you get within a fight or flight response situation. This happens because caffeine is thought to trigger and stimulate your fight-flight response.
Therefore, caffeine can contribute to further stressing, causing forceful contractions in the heart, increasing the pressure at which blood is pumped, resulting in high blood pressure.
Caffeine alone can also exacerbate anxiety levels and can even trigger an anxiety attack. This alone can interact with the beta-blockers attempt to keep anxiety under control.
Of course, the right amount of caffeine can help with focusing and keeping concentration under control.
However, when you consume too much, it can cause stress. This is because caffeine promotes rapid shallow breathing and can deprive the brain of oxygen, which is needed to help you remain calm and rational.
Overall, the anti-anxiety effects of beta-blockers that help to keep stress and the fight or flight response under control can be eliminated when you consume caffeine with beta-blockers.
Check out our more in-depth article on do beta-blockers help anxiety.
Another great advantage of beta-blockers is that they widen blood vessels and arteries. This also eases the force of contractions in the heart muscles and blood vessels.
This helps in reducing the high pressure at which blood is pumped. Thus, helping in reducing high blood pressure and all the symptoms related to it.
Caffeine’s Effect on Blood Vessels
Caffeine is believed to block the hormone that helps in widening blood vessels and arteries.
This means that the efforts of beta-blockers in widening passageways to ease blood flow to promote lower blood pressure fails when you consume both beta-blockers and caffeine.
This also promotes shallow breathing, again activating stress, anxiety, and related symptoms, which can, again, increase the fight or flight response.
Overall, caffeine negatively affects the overall performance of beta-blockers. So, there’s no real benefit in taking beta-blockers with caffeine.
This is on the basis that there’s rarely a benefit to counteracting the effects of your medication. But on the other hand, you could argue that in situations like stress-controlling and temporarily fighting fatigue, taking the right amount of caffeine can help.
When taken in small, moderate amounts, caffeine could increase the performance of beta-blockers in situations where you might need to help keep stress under control and where drinking coffee provides a psychological boost as well as a physical one.
This, in turn, can ease contractions in the blood vessels and heart muscles, easing up the blood pressure, thereby enabling the beta-blockers to reduce high blood pressure.
Apart from this, some also believe that frequent caffeine consumers can develop a tolerance towards caffeine. This caffeine tolerance can help in not interacting or disturbing the performance or effectiveness of beta-blockers.
Firstly, ask your doctor about the extent or intensity of how caffeine can interact with the beta-blockers prescribed for you and your dose. Ask the doctor whether you should limit or stop caffeine altogether.
If your doctor doesn’t direct you not to consume caffeine, but if you’re concerned about the caffeine interacting with your beta-blockers, then simply try to limit your caffeine intake. Try to limit the caffeine intake to 200 milligrams a day, the equivalent to an 8-ounce cup of brewed coffee.
Always remember that the amount of caffeine in coffee and other beverages will vary according to coffee brands and methods of preparation.
And if you have high blood pressure, make sure you avoid consuming caffeine before exercise. This is because exercise naturally and temporarily increases blood pressure, and caffeine will only increase it even more.
We hope this has provided some guidance on beta-blockers and caffeine and consuming them both alongside one another.
If you’ve been prescribed beta-blockers and are struggling to afford your medication, then you could use our help. At Prescription Hope, we can process a simple application towards providing your meds for just $50 per month per medication.
We work with over 180 pharmaceutical manufacturers and utilize their patient assistance programs to provide you with a flat-rate cost for your medication. Enroll with us to find out if you are eligible to pay only $50 a month for each of your medications.
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