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Negative Effects of Beta Blockers and Patient Education (Nursing)

by Rhonda Lawes

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    00:00 Speaking of mechanism of action, let's look at what some of the negative effects of a beta blocker are.

    00:08 Now, anything a drug does well, it can do over well.

    00:13 So, if it's meant to lower your blood pressure, sometimes, it can lower your blood pressure too much, now you have symptomatic hypotension.

    00:21 I remember when I was coming off beta blockers, my blood pressure was so low, I was just exhausted.

    00:29 Here's another note about coming off of beta blockers.

    00:32 You do not want to stop these abruptly, okay? If you stop a beta blocker abruptly, you can really risk having some very weird dysrhythmias, superfast heart rate.

    00:43 So, write yourself a note, down there in your notes; wean beta blockers.

    00:47 That means you start coming off of them slowly.

    00:51 You don't just stop them abruptly.

    00:53 From personal experience, my blood pressure was so low -- it was in the low 80s systolically and I was extremely tired.

    01:01 I called my healthcare provider and let them know, "Hey, I'm not going to take a beta blocker with a blood pressure in the 80s, and I feel this badly." So, the message didn't really get relayed to the physician, so by the second day, I was at the gym working out and completely passed out on a weight bench.

    01:19 I woke up with the imprint if a screw in my forehead.

    01:23 The funny part was no one noticed, so I guess that tells you what I look like when I work out.

    01:29 But I quickly had to restart another beta blocker because what was happening is, I was having rapid runs of SPT – supraventricular tachycardia.

    01:38 My heart rate was going so fast, my brain was not being perfused, and that's why I passed out.

    01:44 So, I immediately was started back on a really low-dose, different beta blocker, and we gradually weaned off that one.

    01:52 So, lesson to be learned.

    01:54 I use that case study in my pharm class that day, and they were like, "Who would that have happened to?" And I was like, "Yeah.

    01:59 That was me, Professor Lawes.

    02:01 That's who that happened to." So, blood pressure can get too low.

    02:05 Make sure that you wean beta blockers.

    02:08 I think we've illustrated that point.

    02:10 Remember bronchospasms? Write by that in your notes, "Breathing problems and beta blockers are bad news." Now, before we go on, can you remember why beta blockers and breathing problems? What's the mechanism there? Okay, now, hopefully, you didn't just wait for me to give you the answer.

    02:35 You really thought through that question and you paused the video.

    02:38 But you and I know both know the answer is if we have blocked those beta 2 receptors in your lungs, then they can't bronchodilate when we might need it, and the impact is a potential bronchospasm.

    02:50 Any med can cause nausea/vomiting.

    02:52 We put it in on all the slides.

    02:54 But it pretty much is like a meh.

    02:55 You know you're going to see it because it happens everywhere.

    02:58 The last one, at the bottom, that's when that people are really hesitant to talk to us about, and they would normally just stop taking the blood pressure medication, because of its risk for impotence.

    03:10 This is where you need to have a very open, non-judgmental poker face approach to this topic because if a beta blocker is causing impotence, there's lots of things we can do.

    03:22 We can try different medication, we can try a different type.

    03:25 There's lots of things we can do, but you need to let your patient know ahead of time, "Hey, sometimes patients have this experience, and they experience impotency with this medication.

    03:36 If that happens, we understand it's a big deal.

    03:39 Give us a call, and we will switch you to an alternate medication that will be effective in your blood pressure, but will not cause impotence." Have the conversation with your patient, don't make them have to talk to you about it, because odds are several of them will just quit taking the blood pressure medication and they won't tell you.

    03:58 So, speaking of patients, let's talk about what it's most important.

    04:02 I've got a friend nurse, Natalie, up there.

    04:03 I love her.

    04:04 She looks so friendly.

    04:05 Let's talk about what she thinks is most important.

    04:08 Well, really, it's what we think is most important, but we'll give Nurse Natalie the credit.

    04:12 So, this is a medication, beta blockers, that you need to check their pulse before you take the medication, and you need to teach your patient to check their pulse before they take the medication.

    04:22 If the medication -- if the pulse is < 60, the rule is, hold the medication, contact the healthcare provider.

    04:30 Now, for some people, I mean, 60 is the number -- like NCLEX world, 60-100 is normal.

    04:37 >100 is tachycardia.

    04:39 <60 is bradycardia.

    04:42 But in testing world and in text book world, if it's < 60, we'd hold the medication.

    04:48 In real life, the healthcare provider may say, "No, no. I'm fine if you're 55 or less, or you're 50." They may crank that number back, but all you need to remember for testing world is 60.

    05:00 If it's <60, the medication is held, and they need to contact their healthcare provider.

    05:07 Educate your patient about shortness of breath.

    05:10 Now, 1 more time, I know we've spoke of this many times in this video series, but this is really important because repetition is better brain encoding and retention.

    05:21 So, why would you explain to a patient -- What I'd like you to do is just pause the video for a second, and practice how you would say this to a patient, not using nursing school words, but how would you explain this to an everyday person on why shortness of breath could be a problem for them in a way that they'll remember? Okay.

    05:46 Practicing talking to your patient is really important.

    05:49 I have my students do it in the classroom all the time because it's 1 thing to have an idea of what I want to say in my head, but then the words just don't come out of my mouth.

    05:58 So, practice with your friends, with your family, whoever will listen to you, practice teaching them key concepts about all your medications.

    06:07 Now, if the patient's diabetic, remember what we want them to know that they're not going to show us the same normal signs of low blood sugar, particularly, the tachycardia.

    06:16 So, and they won't be able to kind of break out that stored glucose, right? Glycogenolysis, that stored glycogen.

    06:23 So they're not going to be able to respond as quickly and safely as other people could to a low blood sugar, and they're not going to show us that tachycardia.

    06:31 Now, they may show you they're kind of really confused and disoriented, but we're not going to see the normal signs.

    06:37 So we want the patients to know, and as a nurse, you definitely need to know, if they're diabetic and on a beta blocker, watch them closely for blood sugar.


    About the Lecture

    The lecture Negative Effects of Beta Blockers and Patient Education (Nursing) by Rhonda Lawes is from the course Cardiovascular Medications (Nursing). It contains the following chapters:

    • Negative Effects of Beta Blockers
    • What Should You Teach Your Patient about BB

    Included Quiz Questions

    1. Dysrhythmias
    2. Bronchospasm
    3. Impotence
    4. Hypotension
    1. Bronchospasms
    2. Impotence
    3. Nausea
    4. Hypertension
    1. Bronchospasms
    2. Hypertension
    3. Hypoglycemia
    4. Cardiac arrest
    1. 55
    2. 65
    3. 70
    4. 80

    Author of lecture Negative Effects of Beta Blockers and Patient Education (Nursing)

     Rhonda Lawes

    Rhonda Lawes


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