View Full Version : Increased heart rate

12-01-14, 08:56 PM

I took Adderall throughout most of college. Any time I went to the physician my heart rate and BP were normal.

I went off it and eventually tried other meds when I was studying for the LSAT to get into law school (they didn't have Adderall in the country I was living in and I wanted to try a med-free life for a bit.)

When I started law school, I was taking Concerta but it really just wasn't working as well as Adderall used to so I gradually went back to the Adderall 20 mg XR and 10 mg IR in the late afternoon (my dose from college). After ~1 year on that dose many people including a psychologist, recommended I increase my dose. I see a physician for the Adderall and she increased it to 30 mg XR and 10 mg IR in November. She monitors my heart rate and BP regularly. It was always normal (~70 bpm) but since August (before she increased my Adderall dose), it was higher ~90 bpm. She wasn't concerned, and I think it was down to 70s or 80s when she took it later on but I don't remember. Today it was 115 when I first got up the stairs and had the nurse take it and then down to ~90 after I sat down in the doctor's office.

I went back later today to have it taken and it was 105 and my bp was slightly elevated but I think I was really nervous because I kept thinking about how my heart could have issues. :( She renewed my prescription for hte month and we will monitor it and see if I have to switch meds. I realllllly don't want to because I'm about to take the bar in February and I have tried many ADHD meds in my day and Adderall appears to work the best. I am receiving positive feedback on the changes in my behavior since I increased my dose, too and am finding it WAY easier to focus in class. :/

The only thing different lifestyle-wise is the fact that I stopped exercising at the beginning of the summer (didn't see the doc all summer). I have been under a lot of stress this semester because I procrastinated everything until the end of my law school career so I had to work on weekends a lot.

Anyone else had similar experiences? Is it possible that exercise and/or more time on the dose increase will reverse these side effects? It just seems odd because I never had trouble before. I used to run ~10 miles a week and am now going to get back into it hoping to fix this problem/relieve my stress before next month.

Oh btw- I am 27 years old and fairly sedentary at the moment. Should eat healthier. Average-range BMI. I just ran ~3 miles on the treadmill with ease and it's pretty easy for me to get back in shape even if I go months w/o exercising... I could run for hours but I stop myself because I have things to do... haha.

12-02-14, 01:40 AM
I have the same problem with most if not all stimulants. I was on Ritalin for years and didn't have this problem and then one day, after taking a long break from Ritalin I started getting rapid heartbeat issues.

I've noticed that stress, dehydration or anxiety make my heart beat a lot faster on stimulants than it does when I'm off stimulants. Sometimes my heart starts beating rapidly on stimulants for no reason, even when I'm very calm. I've noticed tat staying properly hydrated tends to help reduce the frequency of these tachycardia episodes (but don't drink too much). I also get nervous at the doctors office (white coat syndrome) because I'm afraid I could have heart issues (just like you ;) ) and it tends to increase my pulse and bp when I'm on stimulants. Having episodes of rapid heartbeat on meds can definitely make you more anxious about doctors, vitals and heart related stuff (from experience). But then the anxiety can actually make your symptoms worse (it's a vicious cycle).

You may also want to get your thyroid and heart checked, just to make sure your problem is not caused by some medical issue. You may want to visit a cardiologist and get a full heart workup.

Also have you tried Focalin or Dexedrine? These medications are less likely to give you immediate side effects like rapid heartbeat.

12-02-14, 01:17 PM
I take a beta-blocker for my slightly elevated bp and pulse. I'm having issues with those even if I'm not medicated (because of stress mostly), but it's worse on medication. On days when I'm not taking my Concerta, I might do without my beta-blocker, but on Concerta, the beta-blocker is a must. It's very important to maintain a healthy lifestyle, to eat right and to exercise, but, if you feel your heart rate is up, don't go exercising in that moment, because the pulse and the pb will definitely increase for a while. I think you should talk to your doctor again and see if the heart issues are caused by Adderall alone (you can try stopping it for a while). If Adderall is causing the elevated pulse/bp then you have several options: 1. you try another medication, you lower your dosage or you could consider medication to for bp/high pulse. If Adderall is not the cause, then you should definitely go see a cardiologist, get a sound-scan, an EKG and consider taking heart-medication. Some people, like myself, just have a tendency for "cardiac hyperactivity" even though they are otherwise healthy. I wouldn't recommend ignoring high bp and/or pulse because it might increase the risk for a heart-attack over the years.

12-02-14, 09:22 PM
Thanks! She tested me for hyperthyroid and anemia. Not sure what the results were yet, but I doubt I have either of these. Been monitoring my pulse since going to the gym yesterday with an app and it was higher yesterday ~90s post-gym but has been in the upper 70s all day even after taking my meds and drinking a little coffee. Going to keep up the exercise routine and lower my stress and coffee intake (easier said than done during law school finals + bar studying).

I REALLY hope this works bc I do not have time to experiment with diff meds before hte bar. I just failed my professional responsibility test that I need to pass before I can be certified to practice. In part this was because I was not granted extra time and was taking a lower dose of Adderall then and was extremely distracted during the test. Thinking about heart issues and switching meds is making me anxious!!! :mad:

12-03-14, 04:03 AM
You should give up all caffeine while on stimulants, especially if you have a rapid heartbeat or high bp!

12-03-14, 04:59 AM
I agree with Corina, cut the caffeine! It's probably causing you more problems than you realize.

12-03-14, 05:32 AM
nerves and caffiene ( as mentioned ) can play havoc with HR ... this can be alarming to docs particularly if they both coincide... duly ... as ongoing stress and caffiene etc. etc. can be quite harmful... ( as the other lovely guys have mentioned )

if these were the only players... and you gradually incorporate healthier diet / mindfullness - destressing tools... this would quickly reside and do your health justice long term...

assuming this is the only contributor here... docs might run a few tests then see how you go with the above anyways should nothing leap out.

hope things turn out ok for you

12-03-14, 05:48 AM
I take a beta-blocker for my slightly elevated bp and pulse.

Beta-blockers are the drugs of choice for sinus tachycardia and elevated BP.

However, in some patients, these drugs can cause depression, and/or depressive like symptoms.

I simply felt compelled to let you know this, and I sincerely hope you can
get these reactions under control. Thank You.

12-03-14, 12:03 PM
Beta-blockers are the drugs of choice for sinus tachycardia and elevated BP.

However, in some patients, these drugs can cause depression, and/or depressive like symptoms.

I simply felt compelled to let you know this, and I sincerely hope you can
get these reactions under control. Thank You.

Thank you! I really didn't know this!

12-04-14, 12:40 AM
Yeah, I kind of didn't even think of caffeine, as dumb as that sounds. I didn't get into it with my doctor bc she always says "don't drink coffee" and I nod silently but drink coffee bc I've been doing this for many years.

I began drinking a little less since the dr. increased my dose, but my old habits were deeply instilled. I am used to drinking a few large "cups" a day, on average. Some days, more. Now that I think of it, my caffeine intake the night before the doctor's visit was probably fairly high. I guess I'm just used to my medication not fully working so I overcompensated w/caffeine.

Today, I just drank ~ 1 cup and exercised again when meds wore off. I've been paying close attention to max HR recommended for my age, etc to not overdo it. I definitely have noticed my heart rate spike when I think of something stressful so I've been trying to focus my mind on not internalizing the stress or getting worried for no reason.

I tried mindfulness meditation before bed... but I feel this is hard with ADHD/ADD? Do you get better at it? I find my mind going all over the place. It's hard haha.

12-04-14, 01:57 AM
Every time I tried mindfulness or meditation it drove me crazy within seconds and I gave up very quickly. I find these things boring and impossible to do (clearing my head and sitting there without moving - NOT POSSIBLE and feels like torture). But maybe I haven't tried heard enough. Also, everybody's different. Don't give up!! Maybe if you keep trying eventually you'll be able to do it!

12-05-14, 01:47 PM
Okay! I will keep at it. Also, nobody warned me about caffeine withdrawal... Haha. Even though my heart rate s a lot better I started getting the chills and now feel TERRIBLE. Going to have to be more gradual about this.. whoops.

01-23-15, 03:05 AM
Just in case it's useful for anyone else with this issue- it was all the caffeine. Realized that Starbucks has a crazy amount of caffeine (over twice the norm)!!!! Now my heart rate is totally fine. :) ~70-80.

01-28-15, 08:03 PM
it could be the brand of the generic. I took an Actavis brand of the IR adderall and I have had no effect on my heartbeat at all. Some only slightly elevate it and others flat out make me feel panicky of any drug but I take Actavis, 30 mg IR 3 times a day and I do very well on it myself.