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Beta blocker woes (can't seem to get a refill)

bin_tenn

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I'm likely being paranoid and / or dramatic here, but I hate the way it feels when I don't take the beta blocker. For background, I was put on Atenolol 25mg once daily in July 2015. It was prescribed to help primarily with anxiety symptoms such as palpitations and tachycardia, but also mildly elevated blood pressure. It's worked wonderfully since then.

I'm currently out of the med, took the last one this morning. All attempts to reach my doctor's office for a refill appointment have failed, and the same goes even for frickin' telehealth. I have Teladoc with work insurance. I requested a visit both yesterday and today, but they never even called either times. My primary doctor's telehealth appointment request even went without a call back. What the heck??

Anyhow, when I don't take it (e.g. miss a dose) I can tell. I feel generally cruddy, my blood pressure goes up a bit (hovering around 140/90) and my resting heart rate tends to sit over 100 BPM. How the hell am I supposed to function completely normally like that? I can't. I've actually tried before, because I wanted to try and come off the med (my doctor knew and advised how to properly come off of it). The FIRST DAY I didn't take it I felt like total trash, so I started taking it again.

Since I don't take it for heart disease or other heart issues, and instead to manage anxiety symptoms, do you think I'll be fine if I don't take it for a day or two? I'm not saying "I'll die if I don't take it for a day or two", but I also don't want to feel like trash and I don't want my BP to become a serious issue in the long term (runs in the family).

Am I likely being irrational here? I think so, at least to some extent. Thought I'd ask for some outside opinions as well. Thanks in advance.
 

MATD

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I think the best action would be to talk to the doctor about it. I understand you’re issue right now with the doc, seems you are in a tight spot. However, if it is not detrimental that you get the med today or tomorrow, you’ll probably have to tolerate feeling rough till the doc gets back to you. Something else I would do is ask about an extra refill at the drug store so you don’t run into this again. And as another approach, don’t wait till you are out of med before contacting the doc. My doc makes sure I always have my meds and she requires a visit every three months to ensure I have them and to see how I’m doing. See if you can get set up on a schedule to ensure it doesn’t happen again. This last minute scramble doesn’t cut it. All the best to you.
 

bin_tenn

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I haven't been able to schedule an appt with the doctor, I've been trying for a week. I also tried calling the pharmacy multiple times for a partial refill, just two or three days. I also couldn't get an answer there, I was on hold for half an hour. And I can't get a hold of the doctor whether for an appt or for even a partial refill until I can get an appt.

Also I've NEVER had trouble getting refills before. I always make an appt ahead of time, but I can't now. Don't know what's going on...
 

Gooze17

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I haven't been able to schedule an appt with the doctor, I've been trying for a week. I also tried calling the pharmacy multiple times for a partial refill, just two or three days. I also couldn't get an answer there, I was on hold for half an hour. And I can't get a hold of the doctor whether for an appt or for even a partial refill until I can get an appt.

Also I've NEVER had trouble getting refills before. I always make an appt ahead of time, but I can't now. Don't know what's going on...
That is really strange. I don’t know anything about beta blockers or if there is a risk to stopping them abruptly unfortunately. Is there any type of emergency number you can call?
 

Iugrad91

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Sounds a lot like how my son feels if he doesn’t take his ADD meds. Just off and kinda crappy. I might try going to the pharmacy if you can just to make sure they don’t think it will do any harm in not taking them for a day or two. Since your bp is just slightly high and you take them more for anxiety symptoms, there probably isn’t any risk (I’m no doc though ). Doctors are so busy with all the Covid stuff and many offices are short staffed. Maybe the pharmacy would be able to help you contact the doc. I know ours has the ability to call the doc to try and get refill authorizations.
 

bin_tenn

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What country are you in?
Good ol' US of A.

That is really strange. I don’t know anything about beta blockers or if there is a risk to stopping them abruptly unfortunately. Is there any type of emergency number you can call?
It can potentially be dangerous to stop abruptly, but I would imagine that's long term stoppage rather than a day or two. The biggest risks are for folks who take the beta blocker to manage heart disease and arrhythmia, which I don't have (other than an episode of AFib in 2016).

Sounds a lot like how my son feels if he doesn’t take his ADD meds. Just off and kinda crappy. I might try going to the pharmacy if you can just to make sure they don’t think it will do any harm in not taking them for a day or two. Since your bp is just slightly high and you take them more for anxiety symptoms, there probably isn’t any risk (I’m no doc though ). Doctors are so busy with all the Covid stuff and many offices are short staffed. Maybe the pharmacy would be able to help you contact the doc. I know ours has the ability to call the doc to try and get refill authorizations.
Yep, I was thinking the same about going to the pharmacy in the morning and asking. One, I think they can give a partial refill for a few days, and two, I plan to ask if they can contact the doctor's office directly. I agree about the covid stuff. It sucks, but I do understand and I'm trying not to feel frustrated or stressed. I just sometimes let my mind run too wild with some thoughts and it takes a bit to bring myself back down. :)

Thanks all for the replies. It's just so crazy to me that I can't contact the doctor via phone, same for the pharmacy.
 

MATD

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It is strange you can’t get in contact. Most pharmacies have a dedicated number to call to get a refill. I was pondering on that. Wondering if there is an outage of service maybe? I’ve been using WalMart for about a year now, they always contact me via text when my script is ready to be filled. Then all I have to do is text back “yes” and it’s done. (They also take the discount cards like good rx. This saves me a lot of money. It’s a lot cheaper than using insurance too.). Hope tomorrow brings better results.
 

bin_tenn

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It is strange you can’t get in contact. Most pharmacies have a dedicated number to call to get a refill. I was pondering on that. Wondering if there is an outage of service maybe? I’ve been using WalMart for about a year now, they always contact me via text when my script is ready to be filled. Then all I have to do is text back “yes” and it’s done. (They also take the discount cards like good rx. This saves me a lot of money. It’s a lot cheaper than using insurance too.). Hope tomorrow brings better results.
Thank you @MATD . I usually do the refill request online, via the Walmart app. That's how I've done it for a few years now, typically without issue. When I called them earlier a person answered and immediately asked me to hold, which I did - for about 15 minutes and never heard from anyone. My Rx is cheap, I pay $4 even without using insurance for a 90-day supply.
 

MATD

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Thank you @MATD . I usually do the refill request online, via the Walmart app. That's how I've done it for a few years now, typically without issue. When I called them earlier a person answered and immediately asked me to hold, which I did - for about 15 minutes and never heard from anyone. My Rx is cheap, I pay $4 even without using insurance for a 90-day supply.
Before I went thru a forced insurance change, (in PA), I was paying $50 with insurance for 30 day supply. After the forced change I ended up paying $100. My local pharmacy wouldn’t accept the discount cards. I took my business to WalMart, now I pay $40, I don’t use my insurance, I use the discount card. Ridiculous to say the least.
 

bin_tenn

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Before I went thru a forced insurance change, (in PA), I was paying $50 with insurance for 30 day supply. After the forced change I ended up paying $100. My local pharmacy wouldn’t accept the discount cards. I took my business to WalMart, now I pay $40, I don’t use my insurance, I use the discount card. Ridiculous to say the least.
Ridiculous indeed! That reminds me of CVS. I had the same insurance I do now. But the Atenolol and the PPI I took at the time (Pantoprazole) were roughly $110 every 90 days. :O

I shopped around for better prices, and found that the Atenolol, which is long term and I knew the PPI wouldn't be, was just a few dollars at Walmart. Oddly enough, the PPI was over $200 for a 90 day supply at Walmart, and even more expensive without insurance. Yikes. So I quit taking the PPI, my doctor wanted me off of it anyhow.
 

MATD

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Ridiculous indeed! That reminds me of CVS. I had the same insurance I do now. But the Atenolol and the PPI I took at the time (Pantoprazole) were roughly $110 every 90 days. :O

I shopped around for better prices, and found that the Atenolol, which is long term and I knew the PPI wouldn't be, was just a few dollars at Walmart. Oddly enough, the PPI was over $200 for a 90 day supply at Walmart, and even more expensive without insurance. Yikes. So I quit taking the PPI, my doctor wanted me off of it anyhow.
I take pantoprazole too. With insurance I pay $4.00 at my local pharmacy for 30 days. If I may ask, why did your doc want you off of it? I have a small hiatal hernia which causes pain and also heartburn issues, so I stay on it. It does do a good job of keeping the heartburn and pain away.
 

bin_tenn

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I take pantoprazole too. With insurance I pay $4.00 at my local pharmacy for 30 days. If I may ask, why did your doc want you off of it? I have a small hiatal hernia which causes pain and also heartburn issues, so I stay on it. It does do a good job of keeping the heartburn and pain away.
Some studies have suggested (proven? I don't know) a link between long term PPI usage and Alzheimer's (my grandmother had it). It was ultimately my decision, but she recommended stopping it. I also wanted to stop taking it, in part because of the cost as well as because I wanted to manage reflux naturally if possible. That PPI was much cheaper by itself at CVS, compared to Walmart.

So I was finally able to get an emergency partial refill today for the beta blocker (3 days) at Walmart. I was able to reach my doctor's office as well. Now I have to risk covid twice in one day. I have to go first thing in the morning to "reserve a time slot", then return later tomorrow for that time slot and appointment. Only for the doctor to ask a few generic questions, send the refill authorization and send me on my way.

What a joke...
 

MATD

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Some studies have suggested (proven? I don't know) a link between long term PPI usage and Alzheimer's (my grandmother had it). It was ultimately my decision, but she recommended stopping it. I also wanted to stop taking it, in part because of the cost as well as because I wanted to manage reflux naturally if possible. That PPI was much cheaper by itself at CVS, compared to Walmart.

So I was finally able to get an emergency partial refill today for the beta blocker (3 days) at Walmart. I was able to reach my doctor's office as well. Now I have to risk covid twice in one day. I have to go first thing in the morning to "reserve a time slot", then return later tomorrow for that time slot and appointment. Only for the doctor to ask a few generic questions, send the refill authorization and send me on my way.

What a joke...
Thanks for the info on the PPI. I’ll definitely consider what you said. For what it’s worth, I don’t worry about getting Covid. I’ve been proactive on keeping up with available information. I get your frustration about the “generic” doctor visit. My own experiences with my doc aren’t bad at all. We’ve been getting to know each other and are able to have some very good conversations, even in the limited time I get with her. Psychiatry isn’t what, in my opinion, it should or could be, but my doc at least makes it worth going. I’ve had quite a few over the years, but she is at least willing to have an open mind and forthcoming with relevant information. Wish more could be like her. In comparison with others I’ve had, she’s at the top of my list. I’ve had some real stinkers who could care less, just write the script and send you on your way.
 

bin_tenn

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I don't worry about COVID in the sense that it doesn't cause me to feel anxious. I'm not deathly afraid of it. But, just like the flu and even a common cold, I don't want it. Perhaps it's inevitable, but I'd rather not do something that blatantly increases risk.

Don't get me wrong, my doctor is fantastic. Great bedside manner, as they say, and very receptive to questions and he answers them succinctly and fully. I just don't understand why a visit is required in order to refill a prescription that is working very well - for almost six years - other than it allows the practice to bill insurance for a full visit.
 

MATD

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I don't worry about COVID in the sense that it doesn't cause me to feel anxious. I'm not deathly afraid of it. But, just like the flu and even a common cold, I don't want it. Perhaps it's inevitable, but I'd rather not do something that blatantly increases risk.

Don't get me wrong, my doctor is fantastic. Great bedside manner, as they say, and very receptive to questions and he answers them succinctly and fully. I just don't understand why a visit is required in order to refill a prescription that is working very well - for almost six years - other than it allows the practice to bill insurance for a full visit.
It’s the system partly. I understand why I have to go every three months, so doc can look at me and talk in person before she prescribes. Way back it wasn’t like that. Actually I think in a way it is more responsible and cuts down on self harm. I don’t know if all mental health orgs. work this way. I have come to appreciate it. My biggest problem with it all as a whole is the lack of education these orgs. provide. Had I known what was really going on with myself and understood, I might have been able to help myself a lot more. It wasn’t until about six years ago that I finally found information that helped me immensely, which started me off into recovery.
 

bin_tenn

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If we're talking psychiatry and psychiatric medication I think it makes more sense to return periodically. In my case, a beta blocker primarily to manage anxiety symptoms, I think it's a bit overboard. That's just my opinion, it doesn't mean I'm "right".
 

Cuchculan

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For what it is worth, and I know this has been sorted now. But here in Ireland there are big delays in chemists and the likes. Odd how these things always start. People all wanting their medication at the same time. Chemists are telling people to come back in a few days. No hanging around a chemist here. Because of Covid. I would ring the doctor and tell him what I want. He would email the chemist. I ring the chemist on the same day I ring the doctor. Thus the chemist has enough notice. Thus I was fine this month. Clearly says on a poster in the chemist to ring up in advance. People are not doing this. They are simply showing up and is only 3 allowed in the chemist. They are been told to come back in a few days. If you do it the right way, they have them ready for you and you go down and pick them up. No waiting time at all. Even getting in to see a doctor is hard here. Has to be important. Or else they won't see you. That is Ireland for you.
 

bin_tenn

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For what it is worth, and I know this has been sorted now. But here in Ireland there are big delays in chemists and the likes. Odd how these things always start. People all wanting their medication at the same time. Chemists are telling people to come back in a few days. No hanging around a chemist here. Because of Covid. I would ring the doctor and tell him what I want. He would email the chemist. I ring the chemist on the same day I ring the doctor. Thus the chemist has enough notice. Thus I was fine this month. Clearly says on a poster in the chemist to ring up in advance. People are not doing this. They are simply showing up and is only 3 allowed in the chemist. They are been told to come back in a few days. If you do it the right way, they have them ready for you and you go down and pick them up. No waiting time at all. Even getting in to see a doctor is hard here. Has to be important. Or else they won't see you. That is Ireland for you.
Crazy! I do understand the delays and such, to an extent. They're so overwhelmed with COVID. But I didn't wait until last minute, I never have. That's the frustrating part for me, because I tried to do due diligence and jump on it before I actually ran out.
 
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