In 2015 my mother (who is now 93) was put on three blood pressure meds: Atenolol, Losartan, and Amlodipine. (At least that is what the doctors told me they were.) I've watched a gradual decline in her short term memory. It reached the point where a few weeks ago, I could tell her a dozen times what day is (in quick succession), and she would not remember the day. Of late, she has also been sleeping an inordinate amount of time - like 20 hours a day. Her longer term memory was great, and showed no decline. I started asking her doctors if one of her meds could be causing that. They pooh poohed the idea.
Her primary care physician, diagnosed "early Alzheimer's." I suspected the atenolol, and learned online that it CAN cause memory issues. Her BP was already on the low side (105 /45), so I called her cardiologist's office. He was out. I asked the PA if I could stop the 50mG dose. She said I should first try cutting the dose in half. The results were impressive. MUCH improved memory, alertness, etc., and the BP was still quite low. So I waited a few days and then took the remaining 25 mg away from her. I was amazed. Excellent memory, alertness, etc. BP was 122/61 and heart rate 100 BPM. I was concerned to see that the heart rate went up 15 bpm, but my sister thought it was probably ok.
Thursday night my mother collapsed on the stairwell. I called 9/11 and they took her to the emergency room where they announced that my mother had had a heart attack. They said her heart had gone into arrhythmia -as high as 156 BPM and very erratic. They had to use the paddles on her twice to get her rhythm restored. She was transferred to a regional hospital in the hopes that they could install stents to open up her coronary arteries. But they determined that she has too much calcium buildup for stents and her kidney problems and age would make open heart surgery too dangerous. They now intend to release her to me, and use meds (including another beta blocker) to keep her going. The prognosis is not good. Word is she has about a 50% chance of living another six months.
Did I cause the arrhythmia and heart attack by pulling her off the Atenolol? If they had told me it was necessary for her heart rhythm, I would never have done it.