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Propranolol (Inderal): 10 Answers Inc. Side Effects, Withdrawal, and Dosage

Answers to the most common questions about propranolol

Propranolol is a beta-blocker used to treat high blood pressure and other heart-related conditions sold under the brand name Inderal. It is usually taken orally but can be administered via injection as well. It is available in both short and fast-acting forms.

The content on this page is provided for informational purposes only. If you have any questions or concerns about your treatment, you should talk to your doctor, pharmacist, or healthcare professional. This is particularly important if you are taking multiple medications or have any existing medical conditions.

  1. How does propranolol work?
  2. How long do the effects of propranolol last?
  3. How long does propranolol take to work?
  4. How do you wean off the propranolol and avoid withdrawal symptoms?
  5. What are the side effects of propranolol?
  6. How much does propranolol cost?
  7. How much does propranolol lower blood pressure?
  8. What is the right propranolol dosage for me?
  9. What are the signs of a propranolol overdose?
  10. Does propranolol cause weight gain?

1. How does propranolol work?

Propranolol works much in the same way as other drugs belonging to the beta-blocker class. Propranolol works to reduce the workload on the heart, in turn helping to treat chest pain, migraines, blood pressure, and other related issues. Despite the documented effectiveness of the drug, it’s still unclear exactly how it works in treating these conditions. One important note is that propranolol is a non-selective beta-blocker, which means that it affects all areas of the body, rather than isolating itself to one region.

2. How long do the effects of propranolol last?

The length of time that the effects of propranolol last can vary greatly depending on several factors. Generally, you can expect the strongest effects to be present for between 2 and 4 hours. It will take up to a couple of days before the drug has exited your system entirely. However, if you’re experiencing any side effects they may last up to a week before going away completely.

3. How long does propranolol take to work?

Effects of propranolol may be felt within as little as 30 minutes. However, maximum effectiveness usually isn’t reached until you’ve taken the medication consistently for about a week. You may also not feel any difference after taking propranolol, depending on the condition you are using it to treat. That doesn’t mean it isn’t working, and you must continue to take it consistently unless your doctor says otherwise.

4. How do you wean off the propranolol and avoid withdrawal symptoms?

You must not stop taking propranolol abruptly. If you do, it can lead to chest pain, rise in blood pressure, and in severe cases heart attack. If you plan to stop taking propranolol you should speak with your doctor and develop a plan for weaning off over a period of time.

5. What are the side effects of propranolol?

Propranolol can potentially cause side effects ranging from mild to severe. The list below includes some of the most common side effects but is not a complete list. Mild side effects may go away after a few days or weeks of consistent medication-taking, but if they persist or worsen, you should speak with your doctor.

Common side effects:

  • Dry eyes
  • Fatigue
  • Diarrhea
  • Hair loss
  • Slowed heart rate
  • Changes in sex drive

Severe side effects:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Hallucinations
  • Circulation problems
  • Sudden weight gain
  • Swollen ankles

In some rare cases, patients can experience allergic reactions. Seek emergency medical care if you experience any of the following symptoms after taking propranolol.

  • Skin rash
  • Wheezing
  • Tightness in the throat or chest
  • Difficulty talking or breathing
  • Swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat

6. How much does propranolol cost?

The cost of propranolol may vary greatly depending on your location and insurance. The cash price for propranolol is around $12USD for 11 oral capsules. The amount you can expect to spend each month will then vary based on your dosage, but many patients take propranolol 1-3 times per day.

7. How much does propranolol lower blood pressure?

The exact amount that propranolol lowers your blood pressure will depend on various factors such as your health and dosage. Studies have shown that propranolol can substantially lower blood pressure when administered in doses up to 80 mg/day.

8. What is the right propranolol dosage for me?

The proper dosage of propranolol will vary between patients and based on the condition being treated. You must always follow your doctor’s instructions or the directions on the label. The following information is standard doses for various conditions and is for purely informational purposes. For high blood pressure, the starting dose is 40mg, taken orally every 12 hours initially, with an increase every 3-7 days. This is followed by a maintenance dose of 80-240mg taken every 8-12 hours. The daily dose should not exceed 640mg. For chest pain, the typical dosage is 80-320mg divided every 6-12 hours. No matter what condition you’re treating, don’t take propranolol without first speaking with your doctor about proper dosing.

9. What are the signs of a propranolol overdose?

A propranolol overdose can be deadly, so it’s crucial that if you believe you’re having one you seek emergency medical treatment. The primary symptoms are extreme drowsiness, confusion, and dizziness. Larger overdoses can cause hallucinations, seizures, and even a coma.

10. Does propranolol cause weight gain?

Unfortunately, weight gain is a common side effect of propranolol and beta-blockers in general. On average, patients gain 1.2kg or 2.6lbs during treatment. The good news is weight gain usually only occurs for the first month or two of treatment and then usually stops. If you gain weight rapidly you should speak with your doctor as it may mean fluid is building up in the chest, abdomen, or legs.


The content on this page is provided for informational purposes only. If you have any questions or concerns about your treatment, you should talk to your doctor, pharmacist, or healthcare professional. This is particularly important if you are taking multiple medications or have any existing medical conditions.

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