Why is this medication prescribed?
Propranolol is used to treat high blood pressure. It also is used to prevent angina (chest pain) and heart attacks. It works by relaxing your blood vessels so your heart doesn't have to pump as hard. Propranolol also is used to treat abnormal heart rhythms.
Propranolol is also used to prevent migraine headaches and tremors.
This medication is sometimes prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
How should this medicine be used?
Propranolol comes as a tablet or capsule to take by mouth. It also comes as a solution or concentrate. The extended-release (long-acting) product usually is taken once a day. Immediate-acting propranolol may be taken two, three, or four times a day. The number of doses depends on why it is being taken.
Do not cut, crush, or chew extended-release tablets; swallow them whole. Dilute the concentrated oral liquid with water, juice, or soft drinks, or mix it with applesauce or pudding just before taking it.
Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take propranolol exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
Propranolol helps control your condition but will not cure it. Continue to take propranolol even if you feel well. Do not stop taking propranolol without talking to your doctor.
What special precautions should I follow?
Before taking propranolol,
- tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to propranolol or any other drugs.
- tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications you are taking, especially cimetidine (Tagamet); medications for migraine headaches, asthma, allergies, colds, or pain; other medications for heart disease or high blood pressure; reserpine; and vitamins.
- tell your doctor if you have or have ever had asthma or other lung disease; heart, liver, or kidney disease; diabetes; severe allergies; or thyroid problems.
- tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. If you become pregnant while taking propranolol, call your doctor.
- if you are having surgery, including dental surgery, tell the doctor or dentist that you are taking propranolol.
- you should know that this drug may make you drowsy. Do not drive a car or operate machinery until you know how this drug affects you.
- remember that alcohol can add to the drowsiness caused by this drug.
What special dietary instructions should I follow?
Talk to your doctor before using salt substitutes containing potassium. If your doctor prescribes a low-salt or low-sodium diet, follow these directions carefully.
What should I do if I forget a dose?
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.
What side effects can this medication cause?
Although side effects from propranolol are not common, they can occur. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
- dizziness or lightheadedness
- difficulty sleeping
- excessive tiredness
- upset stomach
If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately:
- difficulty breathing
- sore throat
- unusual bleeding
- swelling of the feet or hands
- unusual weight gain
- chest pain
- slow, irregular heartbeat
What storage conditions are needed for this medicine?
Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom). Throw away any medication that is outdated or no longer needed. Talk to your pharmacist about the proper disposal of your medication.
In case of emergency/overdose
In case of overdose, call your local poison controlcenter at 1-800-222-1222. If the victim has collapsedor is not breathing, call local emergency services at911.
What other information should I know?
Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. Your doctor will need to determine your response to propranolol. Your doctor may ask you to check your pulse (heart rate). Ask your pharmacist or doctor to teach you how to take your pulse. If your pulse is faster or slower than it should be, call your doctor.
Do not let anyone else take your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.