Information about Propranolol

Propranolol Uses

Propranolol is used in the treatment of Pheochromocytoma, Hypertension (high blood pressure), Prevention of migraine, Anxiety, Arrhythmia, heart attack, Angina (heart-related chest pain) and Tremors.

How Propranolol works

Propranolol contains Propranolol, a beta blocker. It works by affecting the body’s response to nerve impulses, especially in the heart. It slows down your heart rate and makes it easier for the heart to pump blood around the body. This prevents arrhythmia, stabilizes blood pressure and prevents a heart attack. It also widens the blood vessels in the body for better blood flow, thereby preventing angina as well as migraine. The exact mechanism by which it prevents tremors is not known, but experts believe that Propranolol helps block the nerve impulses to the muscles responsible for tremors. Propranolol helps block the effects of the chemical messengers namely, adrenaline and noradrenaline, that are produced by the brain and are responsible for increasing your heart rate which makes you feel anxious. This way it helps with anxiety. While treating pheochromocytoma, Propranolol may be given to block the action of high-adrenaline hormones, to lower the risk of developing dangerously high blood pressure during surgery for removing the tumor.

Common side effects of Propranolol

Slow heart rate, Nightmares, Cold extremities, Fatigue, Sleep disturbance
Written By
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MD (Pharmacology), MBBS
Last updated
29 Oct 2022 | 02:45 PM (UTC)

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Expert advice for Propranolol

  • It is not the first-choice treatment for high blood pressure according to the latest guidelines.
  • It may hide the symptoms of low blood sugar if you have diabetes. Monitor blood sugar levels regularly.
  • To lower the chance of feeling dizzy or passing out, rise slowly if you have been sitting or lying down.
  • Use caution while driving or doing anything that requires concentration as Propranolol can cause dizziness and sleepiness.
  • Inform your doctor if you notice increased swelling around your legs or ankles, sudden weight gain or sudden shortness of breath as these may be symptoms of heart failure.
  • Do not stop taking the medication suddenly without talking to your doctor.

Frequently asked questions for Propranolol


Q. My doctor has prescribed Propranolol even though my blood pressure is within normal limits. Is it because of the chest pain that I complained of?

Yes, it is possible that your doctor prescribed Propranolol for chest pain (angina). Propranolol is a beta-blocker that is used to lower high blood pressure, prevent angina, treat or prevent heart attacks or reduce your risk of heart problems following a heart attack. Propranolol is also used to treat irregularities in the heartbeat, including those caused by anxiety, essential tremor (shaking of the head, chin and hands). It also prevents migraine headaches, overactive thyroid (thyrotoxicosis and hyperthyroidism), and bleeding in the food pipe caused by high blood pressure.

Q. When can I expect relief in my symptoms after starting Propranolol for high blood pressure?

Propranolol usually starts working within a few hours of taking it. However, it may take up to a week to see the full benefits of the symptoms of high blood pressure or heart conditions. You may not notice any difference, but that does not mean it is not working. However, keep taking this medicine as prescribed by your doctor because you will still be getting its full benefits.

Q. Can Propranolol be used in asthmatics?

No, Propranolol cannot be used in asthmatics. This is because using Propranolol in asthma patients can cause breathing problems, which may trigger an asthma attack. Always inform your doctor if you have or ever had asthma or any episodes of difficulty breathing, before starting treatment with Propranolol.

Q. What if I forget to take a dose of Propranolol?

If you forget a dose of Propranolol, take it as soon as you remember. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and take the next scheduled dose at the prescribed time. Do not double the dose to make up for the missed one as this may increase the chances of developing side effects.

Q. Can I stop taking Propranolol as my chest pain is under control?

No, you should not stop taking Propranolol suddenly because that may worsen your angina or may cause a heart attack. Tell your doctor and if there is a need to stop Propranolol, your doctor will reduce your dose gradually over a period of a few weeks.

Q. Does Propranolol relieve anxiety?

Yes, Propranolol helps relieve the symptoms of anxiety such as irritability, restlessness, excessive worry, lack of concentration, racing or unwanted thoughts, fatigue, insomnia (lack of sleep), palpitations (irregular heart rate), or trembling. The dose and duration of taking Propranolol will be suggested by your doctor, depending on whether your symptoms are a recurring problem or occur only in stressful conditions. However, Propranolol is usually given for the short-term treatment of anxiety. If you have any doubts, consult your doctor.

Q. What other lifestyle changes should I make while taking Propranolol?

Lifestyle changes play a major role in keeping you healthy if you are taking Propranolol. Avoid taking excess salt in your diet and find ways to reduce or manage stress in your life. Practice yoga or meditation or take up a hobby. Ensure that you have a sound sleep every night as this also helps to reduce stress levels and helps to keep your blood pressure normal. Stop smoking and alcohol consumption as this helps in lowering your blood pressure and preventing heart problems. Exercise regularly and take a balanced diet that includes whole grains, fresh fruits, vegetables, and fat-free products. Consult your doctor if you need any further guidance to get the maximum benefit of Propranolol and to keep yourself healthy.

Q. Is Propranolol effective?

Propranolol is effective if used in the dose and duration advised by your doctor. Do not stop taking it even if you see improvement in your condition. If you stop using Propranolol too early, the symptoms may return or worsen.

Q. What if I take an overdose of Propranolol?

If you take an overdose of Propranolol you may experience symptoms such as slow heartbeat, trembling, difficulty breathing, or dizziness. However, the response of taking too much of Propranolol varies from person to person. It would be best to consult a doctor if you think you have taken more than what you are prescribed.

Q. Is Propranolol safe?

Propranolol is safe if used in the dose and duration advised by your doctor. Take it exactly as directed and do not skip any dose. Follow your doctor's instructions carefully and let your doctor know if any of the side effects bother you.

Q. I have been on Indomethacin for several months. Will it be a problem if I start taking Propranolol along with it?

Yes, Indomethacin may interfere with the working of Propranolol and make it less effective. As a result, your blood pressure may increase. Speak to your doctor who will prescribe you a different medicine to control blood pressure.


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