- High Blood Pressure Slideshow Pictures
- Take the Salt Quiz!
- Lowering Blood Pressure Exercise Tips Pictures
- What is propranolol, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?
- What brand names are available for propranolol?
- Is propranolol available as a generic drug?
- Do I need a prescription for propranolol?
- What are the side effects of propranolol?
- What is the dosage for propranolol?
- Which drugs or supplements interact with propranolol?
- Is propranolol safe to take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?
- What else should I know about propranolol?
What is propranolol, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?
Propranolol is a beta-adrenergic blocking agent that is used for treating high blood pressure, heart pain (angina), abnormal rhythms of the heart, and some neurologic conditions. Examples of other beta-adrenergic blockers include metoprolol (Lopressor), atenolol (Tenormin), and timolol (Blocadren).
Neurotransmitters are chemicals that are produced and released by nerves in order to communicate with each other. The released neurotransmitters attach to receptors on other cells and induce changes within the receptor-containing cells. Norepinephrine is a neurotransmitter that is used by the sympathetic nervous system, a portion of the involuntary nervous system. Nerves of the sympathetic nervous system release norepinephrine that binds to beta receptors on other cells. Propranolol inhibits the sympathetic nervous system by blocking the beta receptors on the nerves of the sympathetic system. Since stimulation of the sympathetic nervous system is responsible for increasing the rate with which the heart beats, by blocking the action of these nerves propranolol reduces the heart rate and is useful in treating abnormally rapid heart rhythms.
Propranolol also reduces the force of contraction of heart muscle and thereby lowers blood pressure. By reducing the heart rate and the force of muscle contraction, propranolol reduces the need for oxygen by heart muscle. Since heart pain (angina pectoris) occurs when oxygen demand of the heart muscle exceeds the supply of oxygen, propranolol, by reducing the demand for oxygen, is helpful in treating heart pain. The FDA approved propranolol in November 1967.
What brand names are available for propranolol?
Hemangeol, Inderal, Inderal XL, Inderal LA, Innopran XL
What are the side effects of propranolol?
Common side effects are:
- abdominal cramps,
- memory loss,
- slow heart rate,
- low blood pressure,
- cold extremities,
- sore throat, and
- shortness of breath or wheezing.
Propranolol can aggravate breathing difficulties in patients with asthma, chronic bronchitis, or emphysema. In patients with existing slow heart rates (bradycardias) and heart blocks (defects in the electrical conduction of the heart), propranolol can cause dangerously slow heart rates, and even shock. Propranolol reduces the force of heart muscle contraction and can aggravate symptoms of heart failure.
In patients with coronary artery disease, abruptly stopping propranolol can suddenly worsen angina, and occasionally precipitate heart attacks. If it is necessary to discontinue propranolol, its dosage should be reduced gradually over several weeks.
Quick GuideHow to Lower Blood Pressure: Exercise Tips
What is the dosage for propranolol?
The recommended dose for hypertension using short acting formulations is 80-240 mg twice daily. The maximum dose is 640 mg daily.
The usual dose using long acting formulations is 80-160 mg daily.
The recommended dose for chest pain is 80-320 mg daily using short acting formulations and 80-160 mg daily using long acting formulations.
The usual dose for treatment of abnormal heart rhythms is 10-30 mg 3-4 times daily of short acting formulations.
The recommended dose for preventing migraines is 80-240 mg daily.
Which drugs or supplements interact with propranolol?
Calcium channel blockers and digoxin (Lanoxin) can lower of blood pressure and heart rate to dangerous levels when administered together with propranolol. Propranolol can mask the early warning symptoms of low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) and should be used with caution in patients receiving treatment for diabetes. Propranolol reduces the metabolism of thioridazine (Mellaril), increasing the concentration of thioridazine in the body and potentially causing abnormal heart beats.
Is propranolol safe to take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?
Safe use during pregnancy has not been established. Growth retardation and congenital abnormalities have been reported in infants whose mothers received propranolol during pregnancy. Infants whose mothers received propranolol during labor have exhibited slow heart rate, hypoglycemia, and/or respiratory depression.
Propranolol is secreted into breast milk. Is should be avoided or used with caution in nursing women.
What else should I know about propranolol?
What preparations of propranolol are available?
Tablets: 10, 20, 40, 60, and 80 mg. Capsules: 60, 80, 120, and 160 mg. Oral Solution: 20 mg/5 ml, Injection: 1 mg/ml
STORAGE: Tablets and capsules should be stored at room temperature, 15 to 30 C (59 to 86 F), in a tightly closed container.
Propranolol (Inderal, Inderal LA, Innopran XL) is a medication prescribed for the treatment of high blood pressure, angina, certain heart rhythm disorders, migraine headache prevention, and certain types of tremors. Side effects, drug interactions, warnings and precautions, and pregnancy safety information should be reviewed prior to taking any medication.
Multimedia: Slideshows, Images & Quizzes
Atrial Fibrillation (A-Fib) Quiz: Test Your Medical IQ
Learn the causes, symptoms, and treatments of the common heart abnormality known as atrial fibrillation (A-fib)....
Heart Disease Quiz: Test Your Medical IQ
Take our Heart Disease Quiz to get answers and facts about high cholesterol, atherosclerosis prevention, and the causes,...
Thyroid Quiz: Test Your Medical IQ
Your unexplained change in weight could indicate a thyroid condition. Take the Thyroid Quiz to learn about common symptoms and...
Picture of Hypertension
High blood pressure, defined as a repeatedly elevated blood pressure exceeding 140 over 90 mmHg -- a systolic pressure above 140...
Heart Disease: Causes of a Heart Attack
Learn about heart disease and heart attack symptoms and signs of a heart attack in men and women. Read about heart disease...
Migraine or Headache? Migraine Symptoms, Triggers, Treatment
What does a migraine feel like? Discover the difference between headaches and migraines. Learn to spot migraine symptoms early,...
Hyperthyroidism Symptoms and Treatment
What is hyperthyroidism? Hyperthyroidism occurs when an overactive thyroid gland produces an excessive amount of thyroid...
Heart Disease: Symptoms, Signs, and Causes
What is heart disease (coronary artery disease)? Learn about the causes of heart disease. Symptoms of heart disease include chest...
What's Your Biggest Fear? Phobias
Learn about phobias such as agoraphobia, claustrophobia, arachnophobia, zoophobia, and more. Discover some of the symptoms and...
Related Disease Conditions
There are several types of thyroid disorders including hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, goiters, thyroid nodules, and thyroid...
Migraine headache is a type of headache associated with a sensitivity to light, smells, or sounds, eye pain, severe pounding on...
Tremor is the involuntary movements of one or more parts of the body. Causes of tremor include neurological disorders,...
Hyperthyroidism (Symptoms, Causes, Treatment Medication, Diet)
Hyperthyroidism is an excess of thyroid hormone due to an overactive thyroid gland. Symptoms can include increased heart rate,...
High Blood Pressure (Hypertension) Signs, Causes, Diet, and Treatment
High blood pressure (hypertension) is a disease in which pressure within the arteries of the body is elevated. About 75 million...
Dizziness is a symptom that often applies to a variety of sensations including lightheadedness and vertigo. Causes of dizziness...
Fainting, also referred to as blacking out, syncope, or temporary loss of consciousness has many causes. Often a person will have...
Heart disease (coronary artery disease) occurs when plaque builds up in the coronary arteries, the vessels that supply blood to...
Raynaud's phenomenon is characterized by a pale-blue-red sequence of color changes of the digits, most commonly after exposure to...
Angina (Symptoms, Causes, Types, Diagnosis, and Treatment)
Angina is chest pain due to inadequate blood supply to the heart. Angina symptoms may include chest tightness, burning,...
High Blood Pressure Treatment (Natural Home Remedies, Diet, Medications)
High blood pressure (hypertension) means high pressure (tension) in the arteries. Treatment for high blood pressure include...
A heart attack happens when a blood clot completely obstructs a coronary artery supplying blood to the heart muscle. A heart...
Chest pain is a common complaint by a patient in the ER. Causes of chest pain include broken or bruised ribs, pleurisy,...
Palpitations (Causes and Symptoms)
Palpitations are uncomfortable sensations of the heart beating hard, rapidly, or irregularly. Some types of palpitations are...
Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome (CVS)
Cyclic vomiting syndrome is a condition in which affected individuals have severe nausea and vomiting that come in cycles....
Mitral Valve Prolapse (Syndrome, Symptoms, Causes, Treatment, Surgery)
Mitral valve prolapse (MVP), also called "click murmur syndrome" and "Barlow's syndrome," is the most common type of heart valve...
Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (Symptoms, Repair, Surgery, Survival Rate)
Abdominal aortic aneurysm is a ballooning or widening of the main artery (the aorta) as it courses down through the abdomen. Most...
Panic attacks are sudden feelings of terror that strike without warning. These episodes can occur at any time, even during sleep....
Abnormal Heart Rhythms (Heart Rhythm Disorders)
Heart rhythm disorders vary from minor palpitations, premature atrial contractions (PACs), premature ventricular contractions...
Atrial Fibrillation (AFib) Symptoms, ECG, and Treatment Medications
Atrial fibrillation (AF or AFib) is an abnormality in the heart rhythm which involves irregular and often rapid beating of the...
Posttraumatic Stress Disorder
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a psychiatric condition, can develop after any catastrophic life event. Symptoms include...
Febrile seizures, or convulsions caused by fever, can be frightening in small children or infants. However, in general, febrile...
Cocaine and Crack Abuse
Cocaine is an addictive stimulant that is smoked, snorted, and injected. Crack is cocaine that comes in a rock crystal that is...
Agoraphobia is a fear of being outside or of being in a situation from which escape would be impossible. Symptoms include...
Phobias are unrelenting fears of activities (social phobias), situations (agoraphobia), and specific items (arachnophobia). There...
Heart Attack Treatment
A heart attack involves damage or death of part of the heart muscle due to a blood clot. The aim of heart attack treatment is to...
Atrial Fibrillation (AFib) Treatment Drugs
Atrial fibrillation (also called Afib or Afib) is heart rhythm disorder that causes irregular, and often, a rapid heartbeat. The...
Primary Biliary Cirrhosis Treatment (PBC)
Primary biliary sclerosis (PBC) is thought to be an autoimmune disorder that involves the deterioration of the liver's small bile...
Treatment & Diagnosis
- Heart Disease FAQs
- Thyroid FAQs
- Atrial Fibrillation A-Fib FAQs
- Medication Disposal
- Dangers of Mixing Medications
- How To Reduce Your Medication Costs
- Pharmacy Visit, How To Get The Most Out of Your Visit
- Indications for Drugs: Approved vs. Non-approved
- Drugs: Buying Prescription Drugs Online Safely
- Drugs: The Most Common Medication Errors
- What Is the Difference Between ACE Inhibitors and A Beta Blockers?
- Thyroid Storm
- Generic Drugs, Are They as Good as Brand-Names?
Medications & Supplements
- High Blood Pressure Drugs (Hypertension)
- Beta Blockers (Drug Class, List of Brand and Generic Names)
- Drugs: Questions to Ask Your Doctor or Pharmacist about Your Drugs
- metoprolol (Lopressor, Toprol XL)
- Drug Interactions
- atenolol, Tenormin
- Beta Blocker Side Effects (Adverse Effects)
- bisoprolol, Zebeta
- nadolol (Corgard)
- timolol (Blocadren and Timolide 10-25 have been discontinued)
Prevention & Wellness
- Many Migraine Sufferers Given Unecessary Opioids, Study Finds
- Beta Blockers May Not Be Best Heart Drugs for Dementia Patients
- For Uncontrolled Tremor, Ultrasound Instead of Brain Surgery?
- Do Angioplasty Patients Really Need Beta-Blocker Drugs?
- Asthma Appears to Double Chronic Migraine Risk
- Some Blood Pressure Drugs May Be Risky for Certain Surgery Patients
- Blood Pressure Drugs Linked to Longer Ovarian Cancer Survival
- Heart Drug Clears Up 'Strawberry' Birthmarks
- High Blood Pressure May Up Psoriasis Risk for Women
- Common Blood Pressure Drugs May Not Cut Colon Cancer Risk
- Migraine Guidelines Focus on Prevention
- Prescription Meds Can Put on Unwanted Pounds
- Exercise May Help Treat POTS Heart Condition
Heart Health Resources
Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
Top propranolol Related Articles
Atrial Fibrillation QuizLearn the causes, symptoms, and treatments of the common heart abnormality known as atrial fibrillation (A-fib).
Dizziness (Dizzy)Dizziness is a symptom that often applies to a variety of sensations including lightheadedness and vertigo. Causes of dizziness include:
- low blood pressure,
- heart problems,
- dehydration, and
- other medical conditions.
FaintingFainting, also referred to as blacking out, syncope, or temporary loss of consciousness has many causes. Often a person will have signs or symptoms prior to the fainting episode. Diagnosis and treatment depends upon the cause of the fainting or syncope episode.
Heart Disease (Coronary Artery Disease)
Heart disease (coronary artery disease) occurs when plaque builds up in the coronary arteries, the vessels that supply blood to the heart. Heart disease can lead to heart attack. Risk factors for heart disease include:
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Family history
Angina, shortness of breath, and sweating are just a few symptoms that may indicate a heart attack. Treatment of heart disease involves control of heart disease risk factors through lifestyle changes, medications, and/or stenting or bypass surgery. Heart disease can be prevented by controlling heart disease risk factors.
CAD SlideshowWhat is heart disease (coronary artery disease)? Learn about the causes of heart disease. Symptoms of heart disease include chest pain and shortness of breath. Explore heart disease diagnosis, treatment, and prevention.
Heart Disease SlideshowLearn about heart disease and heart attack symptoms and signs of a heart attack in men and women. Read about heart disease diagnostic tests, treatments, and prevention strategies.
Heart Disease QuizTake our Heart Disease Quiz to get answers and facts about high cholesterol, atherosclerosis prevention, and the causes, symptoms, treatments, testing, and procedures for medically broken hearts.
High Blood Pressure Hypertension
High blood pressure (hypertension) is a disease in which pressure within the arteries of the body is elevated. About 75 million people in the US have hypertension (1 in 3 adults), and only half of them are able to manage it. Many people do not know that they have high blood pressure because it often has no has no warning signs or symptoms.
Systolic and diastolic are the two readings in which blood pressure is measured. The American College of Cardiology released new guidelines for high blood pressure in 2017. The guidelines now state that blood normal blood pressure is 120/80 mmHg. If either one of those numbers is higher, you have high blood pressure.
The American Academy of Cardiology defines high blood pressure slightly differently. The AAC considers 130/80 mm Hg. or greater (either number) stage 1 hypertension. Stage 2 hypertension is considered 140/90 mm Hg. or greater.
If you have high blood pressure you are at risk of developing life threatening diseases like stroke and heart attack.
REFERENCE: CDC. High Blood Pressure. Updated: Nov 13, 2017.
Hypertension PictureHigh blood pressure, defined as a repeatedly elevated blood pressure exceeding 140 over 90 mmHg -- a systolic pressure above 140 with a diastolic pressure above 90. See a picture of Hypertension and learn more about the health topic.
Hyperthyroidism is an excess of thyroid hormone due to an overactive thyroid gland. Symptoms can include increased heart rate, weight loss, heart palpitations, frequent bowel movements, depression, fatigue, fine or brittle hair, sleep problems, thinning skin, and irregular vaginal bleeding.
Graves' disease is the most common cause of hyperthyroidism. Many other health problems or taking excess thyroid hormone medication can cause an overactive thyroid gland. Treatment for the condition is with medication, radioactive iodine, thyroid surgery (rarely), or reducing the dose of thyroid hormone. No diet has been shown to treat hyperthyroidism or its symptoms and signs.
Hyperthyroidism SlidesWhat is hyperthyroidism? Hyperthyroidism occurs when an overactive thyroid gland produces an excessive amount of thyroid hormones. Learn hyperthyroidism causes, symptoms, and treatment.
MigraineMigraine headache is a type of headache associated with a sensitivity to light, smells, or sounds, eye pain, severe pounding on one side of the head, and sometimes nausea and vomiting. The exact cause of migraine headaches is not known.
Triggers for migraine headaches include certain foods, stress, hormonal changes, strong stimuli (loud noises), and oversleeping.
Treatment guidelines for migraines include medicine, pain management, diet changes, avoiding foods that trigger migraines, staying hydrated, getting adequate sleep, and exercising regularly. Prevention of migraine triggers include getting regular exercise, drinking water daily, reducing stress, and avoiding trigger foods.
Migraines SlideshowWhat does a migraine feel like? Discover the difference between headaches and migraines. Learn to spot migraine symptoms early, how to identify your triggers, and get more information on migraine medications and treatments.
ParathyroidectomyParathyroidectomy is the removal of one or more of the parathyroid glands to treat hyperparathyroidism. Risks of parathyroidectomy include:
- paralysis of the vocal cords,
- difficulty swallowing thin liquids,
- difficulty breathing,
- and drug reactions.
- damage to the recurrent laryngeal nerve,
- bleeding or hematoma,
- problems maintaining calcium levels in the blood,
- need for further and more aggressive surgery,
- need for a limited or total thyroidectomy,
- prolonged pain,
- impaired healing,
- and recurrence of the tumor.
Raynaud's PhenomenonRaynaud's phenomenon is characterized by a pale-blue-red sequence of color changes of the digits, most commonly after exposure to cold. Occurring as a result of spasm of blood vessels, the cause is unknown. Symptoms of Raynaud's phenomenon depend on the severity, frequency, and duration of the blood vessel spasm. Treatments include protection of the digits, medications, and avoiding emotional stresses, smoking, cold temperature, and tools that vibrate the hands.
Thyroid DisordersThere are several types of thyroid disorders including hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, goiters, thyroid nodules, and thyroid cancer. Symptoms vary by condition. Diagnosis is made with blood tests, scans, ultrasound, or biopsy. Treatments depend on the disorder and can include medication or surgery.
Take the Thyroid QuizYour unexplained change in weight could indicate a thyroid condition. Take the Thyroid Quiz to learn about common symptoms and treatments of overactive and underactive thyroid disorders.
TremorTremor is the involuntary movements of one or more parts of the body. Causes of tremor include neurological disorders, neurodegenerative diseases, drugs, mercury poisoning, overactive thyroid and liver failure. There are several types of tremor. Treatment depends upon the type of tremor and availability of medications for the condition.