What Is Propranolol Hydrochloride?

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  • Written By: Christina Whyte
  • Edited By: Allegra J. Lingo
  • Last Modified Date: 07 April 2020
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Propranolol hydrochloride is usually used in the treatment of high blood pressure, but is also sometimes used to treat chest pain, an irregular heartbeat, migraine headaches, and other cardiovascular problems. It is a type of medication called a beta blocker, which slows down the heartbeat and reduces blood pressure. While it can be a useful and effective medication, there are some side effects that may occur and precautions that must be taken while using it.

Many people experience no side effects or only mild, transient side effects. The most common side effects of propranolol hydrochloride are gastrointestinal problems such as diarrhea, constipation or nausea, lightheadedness or dizziness, drowsiness, or trouble sleeping. These side effects usually go away after a short while once the body adjusts to the medication. Any persistent or concerning side effects should be reported to the patient's doctor, and side effects may vary widely.

Some serious side effects of propranolol hydrochloride are possible, including worsening of angina or heart attack, severe allergic reaction, and serious skin reactions. If experiencing symptoms such as chest pain, trouble breathing, swelling, disorientation, hallucinations, severe mood changes, or any unexplained skin reactions such as blistering, hives, or bruising, patients should seek immediate medical attention. Any other severe or rapidly worsening side effects should also be reported immediately.


It is very important not to stop taking propranolol hydrochloride suddenly or without doctor permission and supervision. Sudden discontinuation may cause angina or a heart attack, so patients should be slowly weaned off of the medication if cessation is appropriate. Patients should also ensure that they keep all follow-up appointments with their doctors. Beta blockers do not cure high blood pressure, so many patients must continue taking this medication for a long time or the rest of their lives, even if they feel fine.

A large number of medications may interact with propranolol hydrochloride, so it is important the the prescribing doctor knows about all medications taken, including vitamins, over the counter medicines, and herbal or dietary supplements. People who have a history of cardiovascular, liver, or kidney problems, asthma, diabetes, or problems with blood sugar levels or thyroid levels should discuss this with the doctor, because propranolol hydrochloride may be inappropriate for them or they may require closer supervision while using it. Women who are pregnant, may become pregnant, or are nursing a baby should discuss this with their doctors, since it is unknown if this medication could harm a nursing or unborn baby.


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Post 3

I'm taking propranolol for high blood pressure but it has also helped my migraines. I used to get a migraine every other day. I'm not sure if it was related to my blood pressure or not. But ever since I got diagnosed with high BP and started taking this medication, my migraines have just disappeared.

I just wish propranolol had less side effects. It makes me very tired and sometimes I have upset stomach. My doctor said that my body will adjust with time and the side effects will lessen, so we'll see.

Post 2

@fify-- Yes, I'm on propranolol for anxiety. It's an off-label use of the drug. Propranolol works on the same receptors that cause feelings of anxiety. It's usually prescribed for social anxiety, to take before a stressful event.

I take propranolol when I have to give a public presentation. Normally, I will start shaking and sweating and will turn completely red before a presentation. But when I take propranolol, this doesn't happen. I feel absolutely fine.

Post 1

Has anyone been prescribed propranolol for anxiety?

My doctor just prescribed it for my anxiety but I'm surprised to know that it's a blood pressure medication.

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