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How to use Inderal

Brand Name(s): Inderal

Generic Name Propranolol

What are propranolol tablets or extended-release capsules?

PROPRANOLOL (Inderal®) belongs to a group of medicines called beta-blockers. Beta-blockers reduce the workload on the heart and help it to beat more regularly. Propranolol controls, but does not cure, high blood pressure (hypertension). High blood pressure may not make you feel sick, but it can lead to serious heart problems. Propranolol has a number of other uses; for some of these the sustained-release capsules are not suitable. Propranolol steadies irregular heart rhythms (arrhythmias) and relieves chest pain (angina), and it may be helpful after a heart attack. Propranolol can help prevent migraine headaches; relieve serious tremors (uncontrollable shaking); and help certain problems related to the thyroid gland and adrenal gland. Generic propranolol tablets and extended-release capsules are available.

What should my health care professional know before I take propranolol?

They need to know if you have any of these conditions:

  • asthma, bronchitis or bronchospasm
  • circulation problems, or blood vessel disease (such as Raynaud's disease)
  • depression
  • diabetes
  • emphysema, or other lung disease
  • history of heart attack or heart disease, vasospastic angina
  • liver disease
  • low blood pressure
  • muscle weakness or disease
  • pheochromocytoma
  • psoriasis
  • thyroid disease
  • an unusual or allergic reaction to propranolol, other beta-blockers, medicines, foods, dyes, or preservatives
  • pregnant or trying to get pregnant
  • breast-feeding

How should I take this medicine?

Take propranolol tablets or extended-release capsules by mouth. Follow the directions on the prescription label. Swallow the tablets or capsules with a drink of water; do not crush or chew the capsules. Take your doses at regular intervals. Do not take your medicine more often than directed. Do not stop taking except on your prescriber's advice.

What if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose (less than 4 hours for regular tablets, or less than 8 hours for extended-release capsules), take only that dose. Do not take double or extra doses.

What drug(s) may interact with propranolol?

  • antiinflammatory drugs (NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen)
  • atropine
  • barbiturate medicines for inducing sleep or treating seizures (convulsions)
  • cimetidine
  • cocaine
  • ergotamine
  • hawthorn
  • levodopa
  • medicines for colds and breathing difficulties
  • medicines for diabetes
  • medicines for high blood pressure
  • medicines for mental depression
  • medicines for mental problems and psychotic disturbances
  • medicines to control heart rhythm
  • rifampin
  • theophylline
  • tubocurarine
  • water pills

Tell your prescriber or health care professional about all other medicines you are taking, including nonprescription medicines, nutritional supplements, or herbal products. Also tell your prescriber or health care professional if you are a frequent user of drinks with caffeine or alcohol, if you smoke, or if you use illegal drugs. These may affect the way your medicine works. Check with your health care professional before stopping or starting any of your medicines.

What side effects may I notice from taking propranolol?

Side effects that you should report to your prescriber or health care professional as soon as possible:

  • changes in blood sugar
  • cold hands or feet
  • difficulty breathing, wheezing
  • difficulty sleeping, nightmares
  • dizziness or fainting spells
  • hallucinations (seeing and hearing things that are not really there)
  • muscle cramps or weakness
  • skin rash, itching, dry peeling skin
  • slow heart rate (less than 50 beats per minute)
  • swelling of the legs and ankles
  • vomiting

Side effects that usually do not require medical attention (report to your prescriber or health care professional if they continue or are bothersome):

  • dark coloration of skin
  • diarrhea
  • dry sore eyes
  • hair loss
  • nausea
  • sexual difficulties (impotence or decreased sexual urges)
  • weakness or tiredness

What should I watch for while taking propranolol?

Check your heart rate and blood pressure regularly while you are taking propranolol. Ask your prescriber or health care professional what your heart rate and blood pressure should be, and when you should contact him or her.

Do not stop taking this medicine suddenly. This could lead to serious heart-related effects.

You may get drowsy or dizzy. Do not drive, use machinery, or do anything that requires mental alertness until you know how propranolol affects you. To reduce the risk of dizzy or fainting spells, do not sit or stand up quickly. Alcohol can make you more drowsy, and increase flushing and rapid heartbeats. Therefore, it is best to avoid alcoholic drinks.

Propranolol can affect blood sugar levels. If you have diabetes, check with your prescriber or health care professional before you change your diet or the dose of your diabetic medicine.

If you are going to have surgery, tell your prescriber or health care professional that you are taking propranolol.

Where can I keep my medicine?

Keep out of the reach of children in a container that small children cannot open.

Store at room temperature approximately 25 °C (77 °F). Protect from light and moisture. Throw away any unused medicine after the expiration date.


(Note: The above information is not intended to replace the advice of your physician, pharmacist, or other healthcare professional. It is not meant to indicate that the use of the product is safe, appropriate, or effective for you.)

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