Propranolol: Uses, Side Effects, and Possible Interactions

Propranolol is a medication that belongs to the class of drugs called beta blockers. It’s taken by patients to treat irregular heartbeats, hypertension, tremors, and some other health conditions. This medicine is often prescribed after a heart attack to improve a patient’s chance of survival.

Sometimes, Propranolol is used to prevent chest pain and migraines. Lowering blood pressure and preventing angina can improve the ability to exercise, too. This medication works by blocking the action of specific natural chemicals in the human body that affect blood vessels and the heart. This is how it reduces blood pressure, heart rate, and strain on the heart.

Guidelines for Using Propranolol Safely

It’s necessary to take this medicine orally, 2-4 times a day according to the recommendations of your physician. Use Propranolol before food and at your bedtime if you take it 4 times a day. The right dosage is prescribed based on your individual response and overall health condition. You need to take this medication at the same time on a daily basis to get the most benefit from it.

Propranolol helps patients prevent migraines and chest pain, but it’s not intended to be used to treat them when they occur. You should use other drugs to relieve sudden attacks. When taking specific meds to lower cholesterol levels, take this medicine 1 hour before or 4 hours after their use. To treat hypertension, it takes about 2 weeks to get the full benefit of this treatment. Inform your physician if your condition worsens.

Unwanted Side Effects

In some cases, the intake of Propranolol may cause specific side effects, but most of them are rare and mild. For example, you may experience the following mild symptoms as the body adjusts to its active ingredients:

  • Lightheadedness;
  • Dizziness;
  • Unusual tiredness;
  • Stomach pain;
  • Vomiting and nausea;
  • Vision changes;
  • Unusual dreams;
  • Difficulty sleeping.

However, if any of the above-mentioned side effects worsen or persist, you need to inform your doctor at once. Propranolol may reduce the blood flow to your feet and hands, thus, causing them to feel cold. Regular smoking may worsen this effect so that you need to avoid this habit and dress warmly. Severe adverse reactions are very rare, and they include the following:

  • Blue toes and fingers;
  • Tingling or numbness of legs and arms;
  • Unusual mood or mental changes, including depression;
  • Worsening or new signs of heart failure;
  • Sudden or unusual weight gain;
  • Swelling feet and ankles;
  • Shortness of breath;
  • Fainting;
  • Persistent sore throat and fever;
  • Easy bleeding or bruising;
  • Swollen or aching joints;
  • Signs of new infections;
  • Increased urination and thirst;
  • Reduced sexual ability;
  • Very slow heartbeat.

If any of them occur, it’s necessary to inform your doctor about them immediately and seek medical attention. Serious allergic reactions are rare when taking Propranolol, but you need to go to the hospital if you’re experiencing such symptoms as itching, swelling, rash, difficulty breathing, severe dizziness, etc.

Important Precautions

Before you start taking this medication, tell your physician about any possible allergies, especially to beta blockers. Doctors need to know your medical history in detail, especially if you have these conditions:

  • Heart failure;
  • Overactive thyroid;
  • Breathing issues, including emphysema, bronchitis, or asthma;
  • Kidney or liver diseases;
  • Heart rhythm problems, such as atrioventricular block and sinus bradycardia;
  • Pheochromocytoma;
  • Blood circulation problems;
  • Mood or mental disorders, including depression;
  • Serious allergic reactions;
  • Myasthenia gravis.

Before undergoing any surgery, tell doctors about the intake of Propranolol. If you have diabetes, this medication may mask pounding or fast heartbeat caused by hypoglycemia. Its use may make it more difficult to control blood sugar levels so that you need to check them on a regular basis. Report any symptoms of high blood sugar to your physician because your treatment can be adjusted.

The use of Propranolol can make you feel dizzy. If you combine it with alcohol, this effect will be increased so that you need to limit the consumption of alcoholic beverages. It’s not advisable to drive or perform other activities that require your full alertness. To lower possible risk of lightheadedness and dizziness, get up from any lying or sitting position slowly.

Pregnant women should take Propranolol only when it’s clearly needed. That’s because infants exposed to it during pregnancy are at risk of having low blood sugar, low birth weight, and slow heartbeat or breathing. This medication passes into breast milk.

Possible Drug Interactions

Drug interactions are dangerous because they may change the way Propranolol works and increase the risk of possible adverse reactions. Avoid these pharmaceutical products to prevent them:

  • Aluminum hydroxide;
  • Alpha blockers;
  • Chlorpromazine;
  • Anticholinergics, such as scopolamine and atropine;
  • Drugs that treat hypertension, including hydralazine and clonidine;
  • Such heart medications as digoxin, quinidine, and propafenone;
  • Thyroid hormones;
  • Warfarin;
  • Epinephrine;
  • Drugs that affect liver enzymes;
  • HIV protease inhibitors, like ritonavir and rifabutin;
  • Cimetidine;
  • SSRI antidepressants, including paroxetine and fluoxetine;
  • St. John’s wort;
  • Haloperidol and theophylline.

Keep a full list of all the other medications that you’re taking, including non-prescription and prescription drugs, vitamins and minerals. It’s not allowed to stop or start their intake without consulting your physician. Propranolol may also interfere with some lab tests and cause their false results.

Online Shopping Tips

You can get Propranolol online and end up with great savings. Online shopping comes with a number of benefits, including convenience and confidentiality. Make sure you choose a reputable online pharmacy.