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What are the Common Propranolol Side Effects?

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  • Written By: Meshell Powell
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 31 October 2016
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Propranolol is a prescription medication that is used to treat conditions such as tremors, high blood pressure, and other heart-related medical conditions. Some of the more common propranolol side effects include abdominal cramps and other digestive disturbances, insomnia, and depression. In many cases, these side effects are mild, although some patients are forced to go off the medication due to negative side effects. Severe heart and lung problems are potential side effects of propranolol, and any bothersome symptoms should be reported to a doctor right away.

Digestive disorders are common propranolol side effects. These side effects may include nausea, vomiting, or constipation. Mild to moderate abdominal cramping is also frequently reported. If these symptoms are severe or if they do not go away, a doctor should be notified. In some cases, additional medications can be prescribed to combat these symptoms so the patient can remain on the medication.

Fever, insomnia, or impotence may also be side effects of propranolol. Some patients may also experience memory loss, a sore throat, or cold hands and feet. These symptoms should be reported to a doctor, although they are usually mild and may go away as the patient adjusts to the medication. Depression is among the more serious potential propranolol side effects. It is especially important to notify the doctor immediately of any depressive or suicidal thoughts or feelings.

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While propranolol is typically used for heart-related problems, it is important to note that these conditions can sometimes be made worse by the use of this medication. Dizziness or lightheadedness could indicate low blood pressure and is one of the possible propranolol side effects. This medication can also cause the heart to beat dangerously slowly. It is important to be monitored by a doctor frequently while taking this medication. Patients experiencing any degree of heart failure should be especially cautious, as this medication has been shown to worsen the condition in several patients.

Respiratory problems may also develop as the result of using propranolol. Wheezing and shortness of breath are the most common respiratory-related propranolol side effects. Patients who have existing respiratory issues should use extreme caution when using this medication. Certain medical conditions, such as emphysema, asthma, and chronic bronchitis, can actually be made worse. Severe allergic reactions are rare, but symptoms such as chest pain, trouble breathing, and swelling of the face, tongue, or throat should be treated as a medical emergency.

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