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What is Propranolol?
Propranolol is a beta-blocker drug that affects the heart and circulation (blood flow through arteries and veins). It is prescribed primarily for the treatment hypertension (high blood pressure), angina (chest pain), heart rhythm disorders, and other heart or circulatory conditions. It is also used after a heart attack to increase the chances of survival and may be used in other conditions not listed here. Propranolol is sold under various trade names, a couple of which are Inderal and Cipral, Ciplar (made by Cipla).
Important Information about Propranolol
Do not take Propranolol (Inderal, Cipral) if you have a known allergy to it, or if you have asthma, bronchitis, emphysema, severe liver disease, or a serious heart conditions such as a heart block, sick sinus syndrome, or AV block (unless you have a pacemaker). If you are scheduled for a surgery, inform your surgeon well in advance that you are using Propranolol. You may be required to suspend taking this medicine for a short time. Also do not stop taking Propranolol without your doctor’s advice. If you stop taking this medicine suddenly, your condition will deteriorate for the worse. Do not consume alcohol (even products or other drugs containing alcohol) within 2 hours before or after taking an extended release Propranolol. Alcohol can cause Propranolol to be released too quickly into the body which is not the aim of an extended release medicine. If you are being treated for high blood pressure, continue taking Propranolol even if you don’t have any symptoms. High blood pressure doesn’t have any outwardly signs. You may have to take this medicine for the rest of your life. Propranolol is an FDA pregnancy category C drug. It is not known whether this medicine can harm an unborn baby if taken during pregnancy. It is also not known whether Propranolol can pass into breast milk and harm a nursing baby. Consult your doctor before taking Propranolol if any of these cases apply to you.
Before taking Propranolol
Before taking Propranolol (Inderal, Cipral), take care of all precautions mentioned above. Discuss them with your doctor and clear all doubts which you may have about this drug. To ensure that this drug is safe for you, inform your doctor before taking Propranolol if you have any of the following conditions: diabetes (taking Propranolol can make it difficult for you to judge when you have low blood sugar), angina, low blood pressure, kidney or liver disease, a thyroid disorder, pheochromocytoma (tumor of the adrenal gland), circulation problems (such as Raynaud’s syndrome), or a history of allergies.
How should I take Propranolol?
Take Propranolol strictly according to your doctor’s direction or according to the instructions on the medication label. Do not alter the dosage unless your doctor advises you to do so. Also, do not take this medication after the prescribed period is over. All medications come with a patient leaflet. Refer the instructions in them for detailed information on that particular medication. Propranolol works best when taken with food. Always store this medicine in a cool and dry place. Propranolol can impact your pupils during a cataract surgery. Let your eye surgeon know in advance that you are using this medicine. Follow your doctor’s advice carefully. Propranolol is a part of a full line of treatment for blood pressure which includes diet restrictions, exercises, and other medicines. Follow a proper regimen of these as directed by your doctor to keep your blood pressure in control.
What if I miss a dose?
If you miss a dose of Propranolol, take it as soon as you remember. Don’t take the missed dose if the time to take the next dose is almost up. Taking multiple doses near to each other can lead to excess medication in your body which can be harmful.
What if I overdose?
In case of an overdose of Propranolol, get emergency medical attention or call the Doctor immediately. Overdose may result in uneven heartbeat, breathlessness, bluish colored fingernails, dizziness, weakness, seizure, or fainting.
Things and Activities to avoid while taking Propranolol
Propranolol may impact your thinking capability and reflexes. Take extra care while driving or other such activities that require a high level of mental awareness and alertness. Do not consume alcohol (even products or other drugs containing alcohol) within 2 hours before or after taking an extended release Propranolol. Alcohol can cause Propranolol to be released too quickly into the body which is not the aim of an extended release medicine. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for any other restrictions while using this medicine. Avoid getting up quickly from a lying or sitting position otherwise you may feel dizzy.
Propranolol Side Effects
Some common side effects of Propranolol are dizziness, drowsiness, light headedness, diarrhea, or fatigue. However, if any of these side effects persist or deteriorate, or if you get serious side effects or allergic reactions like rash, itching, swelling of face, tongue, or throat, or breathing trouble, unusual fatigue, sudden or unexplained weight gain, severe dizziness, severe stomach or abdominal pain, dark urine, yellowing of eyes and skin, persistent nausea or vomiting, seek medical attention immediately. Propranolol may reduce blood supply to your hand and feet which may make them to feel cold. Smoking may deteriorate this effect. Dress warmly and avoid tobacco use. The side effects mentioned above are not the only ones that you may experience or witness due to Propranolol. If you get any serious side effects due to this medication, contact your doctor right away.
Propranolol Dosing Information
Propranolol dosage may depend on a range of factors like age, sex, drug allergies, or seriousness of the condition among several other factors. Your dosage will be determined by your doctor after examining you properly. Remember to follow your doctor’s advice properly for best results.
Interaction with other drugs
Other drugs can interact with Propranolol. Some of them include allergy drugs, cimetidine, clonidine, digitalis, dobutamine, haloperidol, isoproterenol, blood thinner such as warfarin, doxazosin, prazosin, terazosin, amiadarone, propafenone, quinidine, fluconazole, insulin or oral diabetes medicines, antidepressants, other heart or blood pressure medicine, HIV medicines, MAO inhibitors, anti emetics, or narcotic pain killers. However, these are not the only drugs that can interact with Propranolol. Inform your doctor in advance if you use any other medicines or related products. Never start a new medicine without proper medical advice.