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Can You Drink Coffee While Taking Beta Blockers? What to Know!

beta blocker tablets

High blood pressure is a common condition that can lead to other long-term health conditions like heart disease and hypertension. Beta-blockers are typically used to treat various conditions like high blood pressure, congestive heart failure, abnormal heart rhythms or arrhythmias, and even chest pains. Beta-blockers can even be given to someone who has suffered a heart attack to prevent another heart attack.

Let’s face it; no coffee enjoyer wants to be told that their favorite morning routine should be cut out of their day. Whether we drink our morning (or evening) cups of coffee to wake up or simply because we enjoy it, coffee is part of our lives, and getting rid of it or being told to get rid of it is not an easy pill to swallow. If you are taking beta-blockers for a heart condition, you should not drink coffee.

Any presence of caffeine from soda, tea, energy drinks, or coffee can reduce the overall effects of beta-blockers as it reduces their efficiency. Beta-blockers lower blood pressure and the strain on your heart; caffeine does the exact opposite.

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How Beta-Blockers Work

Beta-blockers can also be used to treat migraines, anxiety, tremors, or even glaucoma. While primarily prescribed for heart conditions, the various uses of beta-blockers make them a surprisingly common medication.

Beta-blockers primarily function to block (hence their name) the effects of adrenaline on the beta receptors in your brain. Rather than allowing adrenaline to flow through your body’s systems and increase your heart rate, beta-blockers slow the nervous system’s impulses that travel to your heart. When on beta-blockers, your heart doesn’t have to work as hard to maintain its normal functions, reducing the overall need for blood and oxygen. This effectively reduces the impulses that can cause heart palpitations and other heart-related conditions.

Beta receptors, which get ‘blocked’ by beta-blockers, govern the strength of your heartbeat, pulse rate, and the muscles controlling your total body functions. While this is broken into two groups, beta 1 and 2 receptors, the beta-blockers you take might be selective and work on one but not the other.

beta blocker pills
Image Credit: roger ashford, Shutterstock

Beta-Blockers and Caffeine

Caffeine is a well-known stimulant. Part of caffeine operating as a stimulant is how it raises your body’s adrenaline levels. It can stimulate higher stress levels, anxiety, and other jitters mimicking an actual flight or fight situation. Caffeine is a trigger stimulating your body’s adrenaline responses.

Therefore, consuming caffeine, especially high levels found in coffee, can further stress your heart, increasing your blood pressure.

Caffeine increases the rate and force at which your heart contracts. Drinking coffee increases the rate beta-blockers are metabolized and absorbed into your body. So not only does consuming coffee directly counter the effects of taking your medication, but it also decreases the rate your medication stays in your body.

The Texas Heart Institute states that you “should avoid eating or drinking products that have caffeine” while taking beta-blockers. While consuming small, carefully controlled amounts of caffeine can be okay in certain situations, caffeine should be avoided while on beta-blockers.

person avoiding coffee
Image Credit: Andrey_Popov, Shutterstock

Avoiding Caffeine

While you should always consult your doctor before making any changes, drinking coffee or caffeinated products while taking beta-blockers is unhealthy. Caffeine stimulates increased energy levels, mental activity, and even feelings and symptoms of anxiety. Caffeine can also promote dehydration and the constriction of arteries in your body, increasing your blood pressure, pulse rate, and respiratory rate. Drinking caffeine directly counteracts the effects of your beta-blocker medications and should be avoided.


Featured Image Credit: Zimo rodock, Shutterstock

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Samantha Reed

Samantha teaches middle school English language arts and has been a freelance writer since 2014. She has also worked at literary magazines and newspapers as an editor and as a writer. You could say that writing is her passion! She also enjoys a great cup of coffee and has a cat named Raven.

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