Inderal (propranolol) belongs to a group of drugs called beta-blockers that block Beta-adrenergic receptors present in the heart, liver, pancreas, blood vessels, and the bronchial tree. This blockade of receptors can bring about changes in their function. The use of Inderal has been advised in conditions related to the heart and is limited for individuals experiencing asthma and diabetes.
Although not classified as an anxiolytic (antianxiety and antipanic), this drug is sometimes used “off label” as an anxiolytic to treat anxiety and panic. It is also prescribed, in some cases, to treat tremors and anxiety related to Parkinsonism, migraines, and various heart conditions such as arrhythmia and angina.
This medication acts on Beta-1 and Beta-2 receptors in the heart and the bronchial tree. Apart from this, Inderal’s inhibitory activity on the norepinephrine transporter (causing an increase in the release of norepinephrine in synapses) causes stimulation of Alpha-1 adrenoreceptors. This results in a decreased heart rate, which contributes to its anxiolytic effects.
This medication interacts with the following:
Antihypertensive drugs (blood pressure drugs): This medication can cause hypotension and can lead to fatigue and lethargy if combined with blood pressure medication.
Diltiazem, Verapamil, Cimetidine, and Hydralazine: These drugs cause a decrease in the breakdown of Inderal, leading to an increase in its concentration.
Pain medications: Pain medications may cause a decrease in the antihypertensive effect of this drug.
Other interactions: Care must be taken if the patient is suffering from a long-term kidney or liver disease, asthma, bronchitis, emphysema, heart failure, or diabetes.
The adverse effects of this medication are common among beta-blockers. The hypotensive (blood pressure) effects are the most common. It can also cause lethargy and fatigue. Due to the decrease in heart rate, the blood flow to the extremities is decreased, sometimes causing cold hands and feet.
Some rare adverse effects include vivid dreams, dry eyes, and visual disturbances.
In case of serious side effects from this medication, a doctor should be consulted immediately. Serious side effects may include the following:
Less serious side effects may include the following:
You should not stop taking Inderal abruptly; you must taper off of this medication slowly over time. Abruptly stopping this medication can cause chest pains, heart beat irregularities, and heart attack. You can reduce the symptoms you feel during withdrawal by developing a safe plan to discontinue this drug with your health care provider.
Page content reviewed by James Pendleton, ND
Last Update: 04-28-2015
Articles about Inderal (Propranolol)