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Propranolol (Generic Inderal)
What Is Propranolol?
Propranolol is an oral medication that targets the heart and improves blood flow while reducing the stress put on the cardiac muscle. It can treat an extensive range of cardiovascular conditions, such as high blood pressure, angina, irregular heart rhythms, and more.
You can find Propranolol in multiple forms though it is traditionally prescribed as an oral tablet. It is a beta-blocker drug, meaning it has a direct influence on hormones in your body.
How Does Propranolol Work?
Propranolol is classified as a beta-blocker. Beta-blockers work by blocking the effects of certain stress hormones in the body, specifically by binding to beta-adrenergic receptors.
The primary stress hormones, adrenaline (epinephrine) and noradrenaline (norepinephrine), typically bind to these receptors, eliciting responses that increase heart rate and force the heart to work harder to circulate blood throughout the body.
When propranolol binds to these receptors, it inhibits the action of adrenaline and noradrenaline. As a result, it helps the body maintain a more stable state, characterized by a reduced heart rate and a decreased force of cardiac contractions. This effect can lead to a decrease in blood pressure and can be beneficial in conditions where reduced cardiac demand is desired.
What Is Propranolol Used For?
Doctors have been prescribing Propranolol for a host of heart-related conditions. It is widely considered one of the best high blood pressure drugs out there, but it can also be used to treat the following problems:
- Heart arrhythmia
Propranolol can improve heart health and stop this muscle from overworking. Therefore, it has other use cases and is largely used to prevent serious cardiovascular conditions such as:
- Heart attack
- Heart disease
As well as preventing heart attack or stroke, Propranolol is often prescribed for individuals who have recently experienced either. It helps the heart become more relaxed and improves circulation, which encourages better recovery after these incidents.
Propranolol may be used to treat other conditions as well that are not listed here. Some examples include migraine prophylaxis, hyperthyroidism, portal hypertension, and performance anxiety, among others.
What Are the Side Effects of Propranolol?
The side effects of Propranolol vary from person to person and range from mild to severe. It’s unlikely you’ll experience severe side effects as the most common ones are nothing to be too concerned about.
Some commonly reported side effects include:
- Mild fatigue
- Stomach cramps
- Difficulty sleeping
- Cold/flu-like symptoms
If you experience these side effects, they are likely to occur when you initially start taking Propranolol. As your body gets used to the effect this drug has on your system, these side effects will abate. There is no need to worry – only contact your doctor if they get considerably worse.
On the contrary, other side effects do require instant attention from medical professionals. They are less common and include:
- Extremely slow heartbeats
- Constant lightheadedness
- Difficulty breathing
- A wheezing sensation in your chest
- Blurred vision
- Rapid weight gain
- Ankle swelling
- Shortness of breath
- Chronic headaches
- Chronic sweating
- Coldness in your extremities
To reiterate, these side effects are not common and most people will not experience them. If you do, make a note of them and inform your doctor immediately.
Note that the list of side effects given here is not exhaustive. Talk to your doctor if you have any concerns about Propranolol or the side effects associated with it.
How to Take Propranolol?
Propranolol is taken as an oral tablet, though the exact dosage depends on a range of factors. Your doctor will prescribe a dose based on your age, the medical condition being treated, and the severity of your condition. It’s common to receive a lower dosage at first and then see an increase if your body reacts positively.
Your oral tablets will contain a specific dose and you will be told how often to take them. Propranolol should be swallowed whole with water – it is not a tablet you should crush up or dissolve. If you struggle to swallow oral tablets, tell your doctor and they can provide an alternative solution.
The general guidance for taking Propranolol states that you should aim to take it at the same time every day. This is the best way to increase efficacy while reducing the chances of side effects. Your doctor may suggest the best times to take your medication based on your lifestyle, but it is usually up to you to pick a schedule.
Take Propranolol until directed to stop by your doctor. It is not advised to immediately stop taking this drug as it can lead to side effects. Your dose will usually be lowered until you no longer need to take it anymore.
Keep in mind that Propranolol – and other beta-blockers – are not cures for hypertension. You should make lifestyle changes while taking this medication to see long-term health improvements and a reduction in blood pressure.
Always consult with your physician or other qualified health providers about medical concerns. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking it based on what you read on this website.
If you are experiencing high fever (>103F/39.4C), shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, chest pain, heart palpitations, abnormal bruising, abnormal bleeding, extreme fatigue, dizziness, new weakness or paralysis, difficulty with speech, confusion, extreme pain in any body part, or inability to remain hydrated or keep down fluids or feel you may have any other life-threatening condition, please go to the emergency department or call 911 immediately.
Frequently asked questions
Who Should Not Take Propranolol?
You should not take Propranolol if:
- If you have a breathing disorder such as asthma or bronchitis.
- If you have e history of slow heartbeat.
- If you have congestive heart failure.
- If you are suffering from sick sinus syndrome.
- If you have a liver or kidney disease.
- If you have an alergic reaction to propranolol.
- If you are pregnant or breastfeeding
The list above is not exhaustive and its important to discus any potential risks with your doctor before taking Propranolol.
What Is the Most Common Side Effect of Propranolol?
The exact side effects of Propranolol can vary from person to person, but the most common side effect of Propranolol is fatigue and tiredness.
Other common side effects associated with Propranolol include dizziness, nausea, stomach cramps, runny or stuffed nose, diarrhea and constipation.
Those are just some of the more common side effects associated with Propranolol, but there are many other potential side effects that could occur.
It’s important to tell your doctor if you experience any side effects while taking Propranolol as they may need to make changes to your dosage or switch you to a different medication.
What to Avoid While Taking Propranolol?
When taking Propranolol avoid the following:
- Taking it along side other beta-blockers, ACE ihibitors or calcium channel blockers. Doing so can lower your heart rate to an unsafe level and could even trigger a heart attack.
- Taking NSAIDs. Nonseroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen or naproxen can reduce the effectiveness of Propranolol.
- Alcohol – drinking while taking propranolol may increase your risk of side effects.
Those are just some of the things to avoid when taking Propranolol. Talk to a doctor for more information about potential interaction between other drugs and Propranolol.
How Long Does It Take for Propranolol to Work?
Propranolol typically starts to work in a few hours but it can take up to a couple of weeks before reaching the full effects.
It’s important to take Propranolol as prescribed and not stop taking it if you don’t see immediate results as it could take some time for your body to get used to the medication.
Can You Buy Propranolol Over-The-Counter (OTC)?
No, Propranolol is not available over-the-counter (OTC). It is a prescription medication that must be prescribed by a doctor.
Can You Get Propranolol Online?
Yes, you can get an online prescription for Propranolol from DrHouse. DrHouse offers a convenient and fast on-demand telehealth service, which allows you to start a consultation with a qualified doctor online and get the prescription you need without ever having to leave your home.
How Do I Get an Online Prescription for Propranolol?
Getting an online prescription is simple and fast with DrHouse. All you have to do is:
- Sign up
- Download our telehealth app
- Fill in your personal information
- Answer a few questions about your medical history
- Start an on-demand virtual visit with one of our healthcare providers
Once you have started the virtual visit, your provider will determine whether you are a good candidate for Propranolol. If they deem it to be an appropriate treatment option for you, they will issue an online prescription which can then be filled at any pharmacy of your choice.
Can I Get a Refill for Propranolol From DrHouse?
Yes, you can get a refill for Propranolol from DrHouse. To refill your Propranolol prescription, start an on-demand virtual visit with one of our healthcare providers. During the visit, they will assess your condition and determine if a refill is required.
If they deem it to be an appropriate treatment option for you, they will issue an online prescription which can then be filled at any pharmacy of your choice.
What Are Some Other Beta Blockers Available?
In addition to Propranolol, there are other beta blockers available that may be more suitable for certain individuals. Some of these include: