Propranolol Side Effects

by on July 22, 2012


The most common side effects of Propranolol (Inderal)  are constipation, mild pain, lightheadedness, swelling, stomach upset or cramps, sleep problems, vomiting, weakness, dizziness, drowsiness, fatigue, and swelling or redness at the injection site. Common side effects usually do not require medical attention however, if any persist or become bothersome contact your doctor to discuss different solutions.

Common Propranolol Side Effects

The most common side effects of Propranolol (Inderal) may include any of the following:

  • Constipation
  • Fatigue
  • Mild pain
  • Lightheadedness
  • Swelling
  • Stomach upset or cramps
  • Sleep problems
  • Vomiting
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Swelling or redness at the injection site

Other side effects which are less common include the following:

  • Diarrhea
  • Decreased libido
  • Difficulty having an orgasm
  • Nausea

The side effects listed above usually do not require medical attention as they will commonly diminish when your body adjusts to the medication. Your doctor may also be able to advise you of ways to reduce or prevent these common side effects from occurring. However, if any persist or become bothersome you should notify your doctor to discuss alternative solutions.

Serious Propranolol Side Effects

An allergic reaction can occur when taking propranolol. If you experience any of the following side effects indicating an allergic reaction get emergency medical help immediately.

  • Hives
  • Swelling of the lips, face, throat, or tongue
  • Difficulty breathing

Many other side effects can occur that are not indicative of an allergic reaction but are still very serious. If you experience any of the following severe side effects, get emergency medical help right away.

  • Swelling of ankles or feet
  • Shortness of breath
  • Feeling faint or lightheaded
  • Increased or decreased heartbeats
  • Depression
  • Confusion
  • Hallucinations
  • Cold feeling in hands or feet
  • Jaundice of the eyes or skin
  • Loss of appetite
  • Dark urine
  • Clay colored stools
  • Upper stomach pain
  • Itching
  • Severe skin reaction including fever, sore throat, swelling of tongue or face, burning of the eyes, skin pain, purple or red skin rash on face and upper body, and peeling or blistering of the skin.

Side Effects in Children

When prescribing this drug to children, it is important for them to be carefully monitored for any evidence of side effects. Special precautions may need to be taken if the child suffers from diabetes, kidney or liver disease, asthma, low blood pressure or depression, because this drug may interact with other medications that they may be using for these conditions.

Side effects reported in children are the same as those experienced by adults. If the child experiences any allergic reactions, such as difficulty in breathing or swelling of the tongue, face, neck or mouth, they need to be taken to a doctor immediately.

Lifestyle Choices

Propranolol is used for a variety of heart conditions and high blood pressure. It is important that this medication be used in conjunction with an overall healthy lifestyle in order to treat the root causes of existing medical conditions. Inderal must be used with a healthy lifestyle in order to get maximum benefits from it; when using this medication it is important to monitor diet, weight control, and exercise.

Propranolol should never be stopped because an individual is feeling better; frequently symptoms of high blood pressure and other heart conditions do not have noticeable symptoms and abruptly stopping this medication could cause harm. You should never skip doses as this medication may require a gradual decrease in dosage to safely stop taking it. Alcohol should be avoided while taking propranolol as consumption of it can increase the levels of the medication in your blood stream.

Pre-existing Conditions

You should not use propranolol if you have a slow heart rate, asthma, or serious heart conditions called Sick Sinus Syndrome and AV Block; the presence of a pace maker may allow Inderal to be used in these conditions. It is important to notify all medical professionals that you take this medication, including surgeons. If you have any of the following medical conditions talk to your doctor before taking this medication to ensure you can take it safely; bronchitis, emphysema, or other breathing disorders, muscle disorders, low blood pressure, diabetes, depression, congestive heart failure, pheochromocytoma, thyroid disorder, liver or kidney disease, or circulation problems.

If you are pregnant or may become pregnant you will need to talk to your doctor before taking propranolol. This drug has been placed in category C by the FDA, which means that it is unknown if the drug will harm a fetus. If you are breastfeeding you should also talk to your doctor as propranolol can pass through the breast milk and cause potential harm to a newborn infant.

Other Medications

It is important to inform your doctor of all over the counter, prescription, and herbal medications that you take prior to starting a new one. Many drugs can interact with propranolol. Notify your doctor if you take any of the following medications as they could cause a dangerous interaction if taken with propranolol.

  • Antidepressants such as amitriptyline, clomipramine, desipramine, and imipramine.
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen, naproxen, celecoxib, diclofenac, indomethacin, meloxicam.
  • Amiodarone, propafenone, or quinidine.
  • ACE inhibitors such as benazepril, fosinopril, enalapril, lisinopril quinapril, ramipril, perindopril, trandolapril or captopril
  • Heart or blood pressure medications such as amlodipine, diltiazem, nifedipine, reserpine, verapamil.
  • MAO inhibitors such as furazolidone, isocarboxazid, phenelzine, rasagiline, selegiline, or tranylcypromine.
  • Isoproterenol
  • Dobutamine
  • Haloperidol
  • Digitalis
  • Clonidine

Propranolol is a beta blocker used to treat numerous medical conditions. Certain medical conditions may require special tests or dosage adjustments before taking propranolol; talk to your doctor to ensure you can safely take it. Inform your doctor of all medications that you are taking before starting propranolol. If you experience a serious side effect or a common one becomes bothersome, contact your doctor to discuss alternative solutions.