What Are the Side Effects of Beta Blockers?

Common side effects of beta blockers include fatigue, headache, constipation, upset stomach and diarrhea, according to Mayo Clinic. Beta blockers may also cause cold hands and dizziness. Less frequent side effects include shortness of breath, difficulty sleeping, loss of sex drive and depression.

Doctors usually do not prescribe beta blockers to patients with asthma, because this type of medication can lead to severe asthma attacks, according to Mayo Clinic. Patients with diabetes are advised to closely monitor their blood glucose levels while taking beta blockers, because these medications can inhibit some symptoms of low blood sugar. Beta blockers may also cause a temporary increase in triglycerides and a decrease in high-density lipoprotein cholesterol. Suddenly stopping beta blockers may increase a patient's risk of heart problems and is not recommended.

Beta blockers are medications that lower blood pressure and cause the heart to beat slower and less forcefully, states Mayo Clinic. They also improve blood flow by opening up blood vessels. Beta blockers are used for a wide range of health conditions, including high blood pressure, heart rhythm problems, heart failure, chest pain and glaucoma. They may also be prescribed to patients with migraines, generalized anxiety disorder, hyperthyroidism and certain kinds of tremors. Examples of beta blockers include acebutolol, bisoprolol, atenolol, metoprolol and propranolol.