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This medication is a beta blocker used to treat high blood pressure, irregular heartbeats, shaking (tremors), and other conditions. It is used after a heart attack to improve the chance of survival. It is also used to prevent migraine headaches and chest pain (angina). Lowering high blood pressure helps prevent strokes, heart attacks, and kidney problems. Preventing chest pain can help improve your ability to exercise.
This drug works by blocking the action of certain natural chemicals in your body (such as epinephrine) that affect the heart and blood vessels. This effect reduces heart rate, blood pressure, and strain on the heart.
See also Warning section.
Take this medication by mouth, usually 2 to 4 times daily or as directed by your doctor. Take this medication before meals (and at bedtime if taking 4 times daily). Measure the liquid medication with a medication-measuring spoon or device. Do not use a household spoon because you may not get the correct dose.
The dosage is based on your medical condition and response to treatment.
Use this medication regularly to get the most benefit from it. To help you remember, take it at the same times each day. It is important to continue taking this medication even if you feel well.
This medication is used to help prevent chest pain or migraines. It should not be used to treat chest pain or migraines when they occur. Use other medications (e.g., nitroglycerin tablets placed under the tongue for chest pain, sumatriptan for migraines) to relieve sudden attacks as directed by your doctor. Consult your doctor or pharmacist for details.
If you also take certain drugs to lower your cholesterol (bile acid-binding resins such as cholestyramine or colestipol), take propranolol at least 1 hour before or at least 4 hours after these medications.
For the treatment of high blood pressure, it may take 1 to 2 weeks before you get the full benefit of this drug.
Tell your doctor if your condition worsens (e.g., your routine blood pressure readings increase, your chest pain or migraines occur more often).
See also Warning and Precautions sections.
Dizziness, lightheadedness, or tiredness may occur as your body adjusts to the medication. Nausea/vomiting, stomach pain, vision changes, trouble sleeping, and unusual dreams may also occur. If any of these effects persist or worsen, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly.
This drug may reduce blood flow to your hands and feet, causing them to feel cold. Smoking may worsen this effect. Dress warmly and avoid tobacco use.
Tell your doctor right away if any of these unlikely but serious side effects occur: shortness of breath, blue fingers/toes, swelling ankles/feet, mental/mood changes (e.g., depression), numbness/tingling of arms/legs, very slow heartbeat, fainting, decreased sexual ability, unexplained/sudden weight gain, increased thirst/urination.
Tell your doctor right away if any of these rare but very serious side effects occur: easy bruising/bleeding, signs of infection (e.g., fever, persistent sore throat), aching/swollen joints.
A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, seek immediate medical attention if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.
Before taking propranolol, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or if you have had a serious reaction to other beta blockers (e.g., metoprolol); or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.
Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: breathing problems (e.g., asthma, bronchitis, emphysema), heart failure, certain types of heart rhythm problems (sinus bradycardia, Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome, second- or third-degree atrioventricular block), overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism), kidney disease, liver disease, blood circulation problems (e.g., Raynaud's disease), a certain type of tumor (pheochromocytoma), mental/mood disorders (e.g., depression), certain muscle/nerve disease (myasthenia gravis), severe allergic reactions.
Before having surgery, tell your doctor or dentist that you are taking this medication.
If you have diabetes, this product may mask the fast/pounding heartbeat you would usually feel when your blood sugar falls too low (hypoglycemia). Other symptoms of low blood sugar, such as dizziness and sweating, are unaffected by this drug. This product may also make it harder to control your blood sugar. Check your blood sugar regularly as directed and share the results with your doctor. Tell your doctor right away if you have symptoms of high blood sugar such as increased thirst/urination. Your doctor may need to adjust your diabetes medication, exercise program, or diet.
This drug may make you dizzy. Do not drive, use machinery, or do any activity that requires alertness until you are sure you can perform such activities safely. Limit alcoholic beverages.
To reduce the risk of dizziness and lightheadedness, get up slowly when rising from a sitting or lying position.
Liquid forms of this medication may contain alcohol. Caution is advised if you have alcohol dependence or liver disease. Ask your doctor or pharmacist about using this product safely.
During pregnancy, this medication should be used only when clearly needed. Infants exposed to this medication during pregnancy may have low birth weight, low blood sugar, or slow breathing/heartbeat. Discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor.
This drug passes into breast milk. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.
Store at room temperature away from light and moisture. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep all medications away from children and pets.
See also How to Use section.
Some products that may interact with this drug include: alpha blockers (e.g., prazosin), aluminum hydroxide, anticholinergics (e.g., atropine, scopolamine), chlorpromazine, drugs affecting liver enzymes that remove propranolol from your body (such as cimetidine, St. John's wort, certain SSRI antidepressants including fluoxetine/paroxetine/fluvoxamine, HIV protease inhibitors including ritonavir, rifamycins including rifabutin), other drugs to treat high blood pressure (e.g., clonidine, hydralazine, methyldopa, reserpine), epinephrine, fingolimod, haloperidol, other heart medications (e.g., digoxin, disopyramide, propafenone, quinidine), mefloquine, rizatriptan, theophylline, thioridazine, thyroid hormones (e.g., levothyroxine), warfarin.
Some products have ingredients that could raise your heart rate or blood pressure. Tell your pharmacist what products you are using, and ask how to use them safely (especially cough-and-cold products, diet aids, or NSAIDs such as ibuprofen/naproxen).
This medication may interfere with certain laboratory tests (including glaucoma screening test, cardiovascular stress testing using arbutamine), possibly causing false test results. Make sure laboratory personnel and all your doctors know you use this drug.
If someone has overdosed and has serious symptoms such as passing out or trouble breathing, call 911. Otherwise, call a poison control center right away. US residents can call their local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. Canada residents can call a provincial poison control center. Symptoms of overdose may include: very slow heartbeat, severe dizziness, fainting.
If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If it is near the time of the next dose, skip the missed dose and resume your usual dosing schedule. Do not double the dose to catch up.
Do not share this medication with others.
Lifestyle changes such as stress reduction programs, exercise, and dietary changes may increase the effectiveness of this medicine. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about lifestyle changes that might benefit you.
Have your blood pressure and pulse (heart rate) checked regularly while taking this medication. Learn how to monitor your own blood pressure and pulse at home, and share the results with your doctor.