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Propranolol is classed as a beta-blocker, used in the treatment of situational anxiety and to help prevent migraines. It works by slowing down your heart rate and relaxing blood vessels to decrease blood pressure.

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What is propranolol?

Propranolol, also known by the branded version Bedranol SR, is a beta-blocker used to treat a range of different medical conditions. It works by stopping messages received to your heart from nerves by blocking beta-adrenergic receptors where the heart receives these messages. This results in your heart beating slower also with less force. This helps to prevent fast heart rhythms (arrhythmias) and reduces the pressure of blood within your blood vessels. If you have angina, propranolol can help reduce chest pain due to your heart using less energy.

Propranolol is available through UK Meds for situational anxiety and to help prevent migraines.

Before taking propranolol

Propranolol is not suitable for everyone, especially individuals with heart conditions, and it is important you consult your doctor if any of the following applies to you:

  • If you have a slow/irregular heartbeat.
  • If you are planning on becoming pregnant, pregnant or are breast-feeding
  • If you have any kind of breathing disorder or asthma.
  • If you have psoriasis (skin condition)
  • If you are taking any other medication as this may cause interactions, including herbal and complementary medicines.
  • Check your tablets are a circular, film-coated and pink.

You can find more information regarding precautions in the patient information leaflet.

How do I take propranolol?

You should always take propranolol as directed by your doctor. Start by reading the patient information leaflet included by the manufacturer inside the packaging. This will give you all the information you need and the potential side-effects you may encounter.

  • Take your dose with a glass of water before meals.
  • Do not stop taking propranolol unless advised otherwise by your doctor.
  • Do not crush
  • If you have taken a higher dose than prescribed, you should contact your doctor immediately. An overdose can result in symptoms such as confusion, body spasms, sickness, dizziness, so it is imperative you seek medical help.
  • If you forget to take your dose, you should take it as soon as you remember to, if it is almost time for your next dose, then you should miss the dose.
  • You may experience side-effects if you suddenly stop taking propranolol such as shaking, sweating, irregular heart beat and more. As propranolol treatment can potentially be long-term, you should reduce your dose over time to reduce the chances of serious withdrawal symptoms. You should discuss this with your doctor.

Avoid alcohol whilst taking propranolol as alcohol will also affect the blood pressure, consult your doctor if you feel this will be an issue during treatment.

Should you buy any other medication, you should check with a pharmacist before taking both as there may be potential interactions and side-effects. This includes some cough, cold and flu remedies).

Side effects and precautions

Taking propranolol can result in side-effects, which is the case with most medications. Not everybody gets them but it’s important to be aware before continuing with treatment. The side effects may improve over time as your body will adjust to the medicine. If side-effects persist and are invasive, speak with your doctor.

Common side effects of propranolol include:

  • Irregular/slow heartbeat
  • Nightmares
  • Tiredness – do not drive or operate machines if this occurs.

If any of the following symptoms occur, stop taking propranolol immediately and contact your doctor:

  • Signs of allergic reaction (difficulty breathing, itching, swollen lips, throat, face or tongue)
  • Indications of an intolerance to propranolol (light-headedness, fainting, blurred vision or dizziness)

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