Common high blood pressure drugs may cause sleep problems

Credit: CC0 Public Domain

In a new study from the Berlin Institute of Health, researchers found beta-blockers treat various cardiovascular diseases and were not more likely to cause depression compared to other similar treatments.

While depression may occur during beta-blocker therapy, the research suggests beta-blockers are not the likely cause.

Beta-blockers are a class of medications that reduce the heart rate, the heart’s workload and the heart’s output of blood, which, together, lower blood pressure.

They are a common treatment for cardiovascular diseases, including heart failure, arrhythmias, chest pains and high blood pressure.

Researchers have suspected beta-blockers of having negative psychological side effects, including depression, anxiety, drowsiness, insomnia, hallucinations and nightmares.

In the study, the team analyzed data for more than 50,000 individuals from 258 studies including beta-blockers.

Nearly 70% of the studies were clinical trials focused on high blood pressure treatment, and 31 assessed depression in placebo-controlled trials.

The team found depression did not occur more frequently during beta-blocker treatment compared to placebo treatment.

Unusual dreams, insomnia and sleep disorders may be linked to beta-blockers.

Among the mental health events analyzed, the most common reason for discontinuing beta-blockers was fatigue/tiredness.

The results indicate that concerns about adverse mental health events, especially depression, should not affect the decision about beta-blockers. Beta-blockers are mostly safe regarding psychological health

However, sleep-related symptoms such as unusual dreams or insomnia did emerge during beta‑blocker therapy for some patients.

The team says patients with a history of cardiovascular events such as a heart attack or stroke were prone to develop psychological complications.

Though the study found beta-blockers were not causally linked, these patients should be monitored.

If you care about blood pressure, please read studies about age may determine which blood pressure number matters most, and eating habit that could reduce diabetes-related high blood pressure.

For more information about sleep, please see recent studies about treatment that could reduce severity of sleep apnea by one third, and results showing this sleep problem may increase risk of sudden death, high blood pressure.

The study is published in Hypertension. One author of the study is Reinhold Kreutz, M.D., Ph.D.

Copyright © 2021 Knowridge Science Report. All rights reserved.