What is Propranolol?
Propranolol is a non-selective beta blocker that lowers blood pressure, slows down the heart rate and reduces the heart’s need for oxygen. This allows the heart to pump with less effort, which reduces the chance of serious cardiovascular disorders such as myocardial infarction (heart attack) or stroke.
What is Propranolol used for?
This medicine is prescribed to treat high blood pressure (hypertension) and various cardiac conditions, such as:
- Angina pectoris (chest pain);
- Cardiac arrhythmia, such as palpitations or irregular heartbeat;
- Myocardial infarction (to prevent future heart attacks).
Propranolol is also used in the treatment of, for example, migraine, essential tremor (tremor without underlying cause) and anxiety (pre-exam nerves or stage fright).
How to use Propranolol
Propranolol tablets should be taken at the same time each day with water and can be taken with or without food. Propranolol is also available as SR tablets (sustained release) and as oral solution. Use the provided dosing syringe to measure your oral solution dose. To prevent cardiac complaints, treatment with this medicine should be stopped gradually, following the instructions given by your doctor.
Propranolol is available in various strengths. The doctor will determine the strength and dosage depending on your health condition. The general recommended dose in adults is:
- For high blood pressure: 40 mg, two to three times a day;
- For cardiac arrhythmia: 10 - 40 mg, two to three times a day;
- For angina pectoris: 40 mg, two to three times a day.
For other conditions and use in children the appropriate dosage regimen is determined by a doctor. Always follow the prescribed dosage and read the package leaflet closely before use.
Side effects that are known to be associated with this medicine include:
- Dizziness, fatigue;
- Difficulty falling asleep or other sleep disturbances;
- Gastrointestinal symptoms;
- Cold hands and feet.
Most side effects are only temporary. See the package leaflet for a complete list of possible side effects.
When not to use Propranolol
Propranolol is not suitable for everyone and should not be used in:
- people who are hypersensitive to propranolol or any other ingredient in this medicine;
- people who are fasting for an extended period of time;
- people with certain heart conditions, lung disorders (asthma), metabolic acidosis (increased acidity in the blood) or other serious illnesses.
Propranolol interacts with other medicines, including blood sugar reducing medication, migraine medication and certain anti-inflammatories. Therefore, it is important to tell the doctor what medicines you are currently taking. See the package leaflet for a complete list of contraindications, interactions and warnings.
Propranolol should not be used without consulting a doctor first if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. This medicine should be gradually discontinued in the last months of pregnancy to prevent health problems for the unborn child.
This medicine may affect your ability to react. Stay out of traffic if you feel drowsy, sleepy or dizzy.
Drinking alcohol intensifies side effects such as dizziness. You should therefore limit or avoid drinking alcohol altogether while taking this medicine.