Bisoprolol

Sounds like 'Bye-sop-roh-lol'

Bisoprolol is used to treat heart failure, high blood pressure and angina. Find out how to take it safely and possible side effects.

What is bisoprolol?

Bisoprolol is used to treat high blood pressure (hypertension) or to prevent chest pain (angina). It is also used with other medicines to treat heart failure. Bisoprolol works by slowing down your heart rate and making it easier for your heart to pump blood around your body. Read more about heart failure, high blood pressure and chest pain

Dose

In Aotearoa New Zealand bisoprolol comes as tablets (2.5mg, 5mg and 10mg). 

  • The usual dose of bisoprolol for angina or high blood pressure is 10 milligrams (mg) once a day. 
  • If you're taking bisoprolol for heart failure, your doctor will usually start you on a very low dose and increase this slowly over a few months. This allows your body to get used to the medicine and reduces side effects.
  • For example, you will be started on 1.25 mg once daily for 1 week, then increased to:
    • 2.5 mg once daily for 1 week, then
    • 3.75 mg once daily for 1 week, then
    • 5 mg once daily for 4 weeks, then
    • 7.5 mg once daily for 4 weeks, then
    • 10 mg once daily.
  • Always take bisoprolol exactly as your doctor has told you. The pharmacy label on your medicine will tell you how much bisoprolol to take, how often to take it and any special instructions.

My dose is:

You can use the table below to keep track of dose changes when you start taking bisoprolol for heart failure.

Date Dose
   
   
   
   
   
   

Notes:




How to take bisoprolol

  • Timing: Take bisoprolol once a day, in the morning. Swallow your tablet with a glass of water. You can take bisoprolol with or without food.
  • Missed dose: If you forget your dose, take it as soon as you remember that day. But if it is nearly time for your next dose, just take the next dose at the right time. Do not take double the dose.
  • Keep taking bisoprolol regularly. Treatment with bisoprolol is usually long term. Don't stop taking bisoprolol suddenly. Talk to your doctor or nurse before stopping.

Things to consider while you are taking bisoprolol

  • Avoid alcohol while you are taking bisoprolol, especially when you first start treatment. Alcohol can increase your risk of side effects such as dizziness.
  • Bisoprolol can interact with other medicines. Tell your doctor or pharmacist about all medicines you are taking including over the counter medicines, herbal and complementary medicines or recreational drugs.

If you have diabetes

  • If you have diabetes, bisoprolol may cause changes in your blood glucose level. This effect usually settles with time.
  • Beta blockers may reduce the warning signs of a low blood sugar level (hypoglycaemia – often called a hypo). For example, you may not have the feeling of fast, irregular or strong heartbeats (palpitations) or tremor, which can occur when your blood glucose is going too low.
  • If you are worried about this, talk to your doctor. Do not stop taking bisoprolol without checking with your doctor first. Read more about hypoglycaemia.

If you have asthma

  • If you have asthma, taking a beta blocker may trigger your asthma symptoms or make them worse. Not everybody with asthma is sensitive to bisoprolol.
  • If you are worried about this, talk to your doctor. They may be able to prescribe a different medicine or increase the dose of your asthma preventer medication.
  • Do not suddenly stop taking bisoprolol without talking to your doctor first. This can be dangerous and make you feel unwell. Read more about medicines that may trigger asthma symptoms.

Possible side effects 

Like all medicines, bisoprolol can cause side effects, although not everyone gets them. Often side effects improve as your body gets used to the new medicine.

Side effects What should I do?
  • Tiredness
  • Headache
  • Problems falling asleep
  • Nausea (feeling sick) or vomiting
  • Sexual problems
  • These are quite common when you first start taking bisoprolol and usually go away with time.
  • Tell your doctor if these bother you.
  • Dizziness
  • Feeling faint when you stand up
  • This is common when you first start taking bisoprolol.
  • Avoid alcohol.
  • Be careful when getting up from either lying down or sitting to avoid falls.
  • Cold hands and feet
  • Dry eyes
  • Tell your doctor if these bother you.
  • Low mood
  • Sleep problems
  • Nightmares
  • Tell your doctor.
  • Problems with breathing such as chest tightness, or wheezing or swelling of the ankles or feet.
  • Tell your doctor immediately or phone Healthline 0800 611 116.
Did you know that you can report a side effect to a medicine to CARM (Centre for Adverse Reactions Monitoring)? Report a side effect to a product.

Learn more

The following links provide further information on bisoprolol:

Bosvate Medsafe Consumer Information Sheet
Bisoprolol New Zealand Formulary Patient Information

References

  1. Bisoprolol fumarate New Zealand Formulary
Credits: Sandra Ponen, Pharmacist. Reviewed By: Angela Lambie, Pharmacist, Auckland Last reviewed: 01 Dec 2022