Propranolol treats high blood pressure and other heart conditions. Do not stop taking this medication without talking to your doctor first.

Propranolol Overview

Reviewed: September 26, 2013

Propranolol is a prescription medication used to treat high blood pressure, irregular heart rhythms, angina (chest pain), pheochromocytoma, and certain types of tremor. It is also used to prevent migraine headaches and to improve survival after a heart attack.

Propranolol belongs to a group of drugs called beta blockers. It works to decrease blood pressure, heart rate, and the workload of the heart by blocking beta receptors. The exact way it works for migraine prevention and tremor is unknown.

This medication comes in tablet form and in an extended-release capsule. The regular tablet may be taken 2 to 4 times daily. The extended-release capsule is usually taken once daily. Propranolol can be taken with or without food.

Common side effects include nausea, tiredness, and dizziness or lightheadedness. Do not drive or operate heavy machinery until you know how it affects you.

*Brand name Inderal tablets are no longer available. Generic versions are made available by several manufacturers.

Propranolol Genetic Information

CYP2D6 is a protein in your body that is involved in the elimination of propranolol and other drugs from your body. Some patients have less of this protein in their bodies, affecting how much of the drug gets eliminated. Levels of CYP2D6 can vary greatly between individuals, and those having less of this protein are known as "poor metabolizers." 

CYP2D6 testing is done to determine whether you are a poor metabolizer. If you are a poor metabolizer, the levels of propranolol in your blood can become too high. As a result you may be at an increased risk of having more side effects from propranolol. 

Your doctor may adjust your dose of propranolol if you are a poor metabolizer.

Patient Ratings for Propranolol

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What are you taking Propranolol for?

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  • Other
  • Angina Pectoris
  • Esophageal And Gastric Varices
  • Essential Tremor
  • Hypertension
  • Myocardial Infarction
  • Panic Disorder
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  • Tachycardia, Supraventricular
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  • Ventricular Fibrillation

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Uses of Propranolol

Propranolol is a prescription medication used to treat:

  • high blood pressure
  • angina (chest pain)
  • tremors
  • irregular heart rhythms
  • hypertrophic subaortic stenosis
  • pheochromocytoma (tumor on a small gland near the kidneys)

It is also used to prevent heart attack and improve survival after a heart attack, and to reduce the frequency of migraine headaches.

This medication may be prescribed for other uses. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.


Propranolol Brand Names

Propranolol may be found in some form under the following brand names:

Propranolol Drug Class

Propranolol is part of the drug class:

Side Effects of Propranolol

Common side effects include:

  • slow heart rate
  • lightheadedness
  • difficulty sleeping
  • tiredness
  • nausea
  • vomiting

This is not a complete list of propranolol side effects. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.