In this session, we will be discussing the consumer medication information for propranolol, trade name InderalTM.
What it’s for & How to take
Propranolol relaxes your blood vessels while also decreasing how fast your heart beats. This medication is used to treat high blood pressure, chest pain, heart rhythm problems and is also used to improve survival after a heart attack.
Alternatively, propranolol is also used to treat shaking and tremors. This medication is also taken to prevent migraine headaches.
If you are using propranolol to treat something not listed here, talk about this with your doctor.
Propranolol is in a category of medications called beta-blockers.
If high blood pressure is not treated, your blood vessels will harden, and this will eventually lead to a heart attack or a stroke. High blood pressure may also cause vision problems, kidney failure and eventually heart failure.
Propranolol is usually taken 2-4 times daily. You may take this medication with or without food. Take propranolol at the same time each day with a full glass of water.
If you forget to take a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If it is near the time of your next dose, skip it and continue with your normal dose time. Do not take a double dose to make up the missed dose.
Keep using this medication, even if you don’t feel sick. You may need to treat your high blood pressure for many years.
Your blood pressure should be checked often to make sure the medication is working correctly.
Most Important Warnings
- Do not stop taking this medication abruptly. Some conditions may become worse if this medication is stopped too quickly. Your doctor may have you decrease the dose over 1-2 weeks. Limit physical activity while decreasing the dose of this medication to decrease the strain on your heart.
Other Warnings & Cautions
- Propranolol should not be used if you have a slow heart rate or if you have asthma. This medication may make these conditions worse.
- Do not use propranolol to treat a sudden attack of chest pain or a sudden migraine headache. Talk with your doctor about which medication to use to treat sudden chest pain or a sudden migraine headache.
- Diabetics be aware, propranolol may make it more difficult to control your blood sugar levels. Pay attention to the signs of high blood sugar such as increased thirst & urination, or signs of low blood sugar such as increased dizziness and sweating.
- Blood pressure medication may make you feel light-headed, dizzy, drowsy or blur your vision. Take it slow when you go from a sitting to standing position. Balance yourself to make sure you are stable before taking a step.
- Do not drive or do any activity that requires focus and attention until you are sure you can do them safely. Limit alcoholic beverages while taking propranolol.
- The elderly may be more sensitive to the side effects of this medication, especially the drowsiness and dizziness.
- Let your pharmacist or doctor know if you are pregnant or breastfeeding before taking this medication.
Interactions & Side Effects
- Tell your pharmacist or doctor all your medication allergies so they may determine if propranolol is safe for you to take.
- Avoid dangerous drug interactions. Tell your pharmacist or doctor all the other medication you are taking, including over the counter supplements, even if you don’t take them very often.
- Ask your doctor if this medication is safe to take with your current health conditions. Tell your doctor if you have any liver or kidney disease, asthma, diabetes, heart problems, thyroid disease or any mental or mood disorders.
- While taking this medication, you may feel some drowsiness, diarrhea and possibly a slow heartbeat. You may notice your hands and feet feel a little cold. If these or any other unwanted side effects persist, contact your doctor or pharmacist to talk about it with them.
- Call your doctor right away if you feel any severe dizziness or fainting, very slow heartbeat, swelling in your feet or ankles, shortness of breath, or a blue color in your fingers or toes.
- Call emergency 911 if you have any symptoms of a heart attack such as chest and left arm pain, shortness of breath and sweating or if you have symptoms of a stroke such as weakness on one side of your body, slurred speech, sudden vision changes, and confusion.
If you have any questions about what you have heard, contact your pharmacist or doctor. This session does not include all the potential interactions or side effects that this medication may cause. Ask your pharmacist how your medication should be stored and how you should dispose of it when you are done taking it. Do not share your medication with anyone, ever. Remember, this is not meant to replace your counseling session with your pharmacist. In case of overdose, call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222.