Vertigo is a condition wherein you may feel off-balance. People have also experienced milder to acute episodes of dizziness as well as abdominal problems like nausea or vomiting during the incidence of this medical condition. A few others have experienced ringing inside the ears, loss of hearing function, excessive levels of sweating, acute spells of headaches, etc. Betahistine is a prescription medicine commonly administered for treating vertigo and its distinctive symptoms and signs. Always remember that this drug needs to be taken strictly under the clinical care and medical supervision of a qualified physician. But, can this drug cause hypotension or a drop in your blood pressure levels? It becomes essential to know about the likely risks of hypotension.
Vertigo can show up as a mild spell of dizziness or as an acute episode of nausea often accompanied by vomiting as well as ringing inside the ears. There have also been instances of other discomforts such as loss of hearing function, drowsiness, unstable movements and stumbling while you walk. In extreme cases, some people have passed out or fainted due to this medical condition. Betahistine is a prescription med taken for treating common symptoms related to vertigo. At a fundamental level, vertigo is caused when pressure in your inner ear alters to a sizably high or a very low level. Such changes are instrumental in disturbing your balance levels. Despite the best efforts of your vestibular system, your body may witness unsteadiness due to loss of balance.
Betahistine for managing changes in inner ear pressure level
Medical studies attribute the above symptoms to a condition known as Meniere’s disease. The key cause for this ailment is a change in ear pressure. You must remember that betahistine is always taken under the guidance and supervision of a qualified medical practitioner or a pharmacist. However, it is considered not safe to use this med when you are not witnessing unsteadiness or dizziness owing to onset of vertigo or Meniere’s disease. Those who took this drug without such an underlying medical condition witnessed serious side effects such as involuntary shaking or twitching of muscles, feeling extremely dizzy and vomiting or nausea.
Typical dose of betahistine is maintained at 24 milligrams (mg) within a 24-hours timeline. Such base doses are taken as three evenly distributed sub-doses – i.e., every dose maintained at as low as 8 mg. The highest possible dosage value within a day must never breach 48 mg within 24 hours. In order to ensure added safety, such high dosages are also split into 3 sub-doses of 16 mg each. Distribution of dosages has helped avoid instances of an overdose or an excessive intake. Accidental overdose of this drug can lead to an increased flow of blood into your ear chambers, and can thus trigger sizeable drop in blood pressure level (also known as hypotension), etc.
Low blood pressure is a likely risk triggered by betahistine
As mentioned above, betahistine is administered to manage changes in blood pressure inside your ears. Adequate flow of blood is essential to maintain proper blood pressure levels. However, an increased supply of blood can also lead to a severe drop in blood pressure levels. How to spot a spell of hypotension? The signs are often distinctive by nature. Standard symptoms of low blood pressure include blockage inside the ears, blurring of eyesight, drowsiness, tremors, passing out, involuntary movement of muscles, sweating in an excessive manner, etc.
It is considered safe to inform your treating physician about any prior episodes of hypotension or drop in blood pressure level. In this light, it is a good practice to tell your doctor about the drugs you are taking to reduce blood pressure. Co-administration of antihypertensive drugs along with betahistine can often lead to a severe spell of hypotension or an excessive drop in blood pressure. Hence, your physician must know all the meds that you are currently consuming. As an added precaution, it is strongly recommended to create a list of drugs that you are presently using.
Other medical conditions you need to be cautious of
If you are living with breathing problems like chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases or asthmatic conditions, your medical team may advise not to take betahistine. It is a safer practice to update your medical team about ailments in your medical history or your family’s clinical history; stay cautious of prior spells of breathing problems and discuss about their incidence as well as intensity with your treating physician.
A few users of betahistine may also develop some allergic reactions upon taking this drug. Most allergic reactions are very mild in nature. But, in some remote cases, severe allergies like respiratory conditions including wheezing, shallowness of breath, swelling of oral organs, inflammation of oral parts like tongue, throat or lips, etc. have been observed. In such instances, it is strongly recommended to seek medical help on an emergency basis. If you are a resident of the US, you may call 911 on an urgent mode. On the other hand, if you are living in any of the Canadian provinces, reach out to Health Canada or rush to a poison control center located closer to your residence.
Research done is not conclusive of the safety of betahistine on women who plan to become pregnant or those who are already pregnant. In general, betahistine is given to pregnant women only when there are no other alternatives. Also, women who are breastfeeding need to consult with their treating physician before starting to use betahistine. On this subject, clinical research stands at a limited level and no convulsive evidences are available on safety of this med on women who are nursing a baby.
In sum, betahistine is a prescription medication, widely administered for the treatment of discomforts associated with vertigo. If you are living with low pressure level or episodes of hypotension, you may need to take appropriate precautions before taking this drug. Precautions are mainly required because this drug can lead to a sizable drop in your blood pressure levels. Intake of antihypertensive drugs along with betahistine may cause extremely low levels of blood pressure. Hence, it is considered a good practice to talk to your treating doctor and pharmacist about precautions needed, prior to starting the intake of betahistine.