Propranolol (10mg & 40mg)

  • Most commonly prescribed for anxiety, angina and heart failure
  • Slows down the rate at which the heart beats
  • Typically gets to work within just a couple of hours

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What are Propranolol tablets?

Propranolol tablets are widely prescribed in the UK to treat a number of heart problems. Most commonly, propranolol can be used to treat high blood pressure, angina, heart failure, anxiety and to prevent a second heart attack in people who have previously had one.

Propranolol tablets are also available under a number of different brand names such as:

  • Angilol
  • Bedranol
  • Beta-prograne
  • Half Beta-prograne

Propranolol is classed as a beta blocker and works by reducing the workload on the heart. It also controls the rate at which the heart beats. As a result of taking propranolol tablets, the stress on the heart is reduced and the rate at which the heart beats is also slowed down. This makes it easier for the blood to pump around your body.

Propranolol tablets are available in a number of different doses. Propranolol 40mg is the strongest dose of propranolol available and is usually the starting dose when treating conditions related to anxiety. The other available dose is propranolol 10mg tablets.

If you are new to beta blockers and would like to understand more about how they work and what conditions they treat, you can take a look at our guide to beta blockers.

What are Propranolol 10mg & 40mg tablets used to treat?

Propranolol is a drug that can be used for a number of treatments, the most common of these being high blood pressure, angina, heart failure, heart attacks, migraines and glaucoma, however it is most effective when treating anxiety.

Propranolol tablets and other beta blockers should not be used as a first line treatment option for uncomplicated hypertension (high blood pressure) due to their inability at reducing the risk of a stroke and coronary artery disease when compared to other alternatives such as Calcium Channel Blockers and Thiazide Diuretics.

This medicine is also available in a variety of strengths: 10 mg, 20 mg, 40 mg and 80 mg. Due to the severity of the conditions that propranolol beta blocker tablets are used for, this medication can only be purchased with a valid UK prescription.

Propranolol 40mg is usually prescribed for a number of conditions when other treatments or the lower dose of Propranolol 10mg have failed to relieve symptoms. 

How does Propranolol work?

Propranolol will not cure underlying anxiety triggers; however, it will help your body cope with some of the physical symptoms of anxiety, particularly an increased heart rate and blood pressure.

Propranolol can help control and regulate the rate at which the heart beats, this also eases the pressure on the heart as it is able to pump blood around the body at a more stable rate. 

Propranolol blocks the body’s natural adrenaline/stress messages that are sent to the heart in times of distress. When those adrenaline and stress messages are received by the heart, it beats faster and harder.

By stopping those messages being received by the heart, propranolol can ensure that the heart is relaxed and beating at a normal rate. An increased heart rate is one of the first signs of an anxiety attack, propranolol helps to reduce this physical symptom.

How to take propranolol tablets

This medication can be taken with or without food as it does not upset your stomach. However, you should try to take it at the same time every day.

The tablets should be swallowed whole with a drink of water. If you have difficulty swallowing tablets, certain brands of Propranolol have a score line which lets you break them in half. Read the information leaflet that will come with your medicine to make sure you can do this with your tablets.

Propranolol dose

The dose of propranolol you are prescribed will depend heavily on your condition.

Below are the typical starting doses for some common conditions thta propranolol treats.

Condition

Propranolol dose

Hypertension 80mg twice daily increase weekly to 160-320mg daily
Angina 40mg 2-3 times daily
Anxiety 40mg once daily
Migraine prophylaxis 80-240mg daily
Arrhythmias (Irregular heartbeat) 10-40mg 3-4 times daily
Source NICE

Who can take Propranolol tablets?

Propranolol may not be suitable treatment for everyone, depending on your condition. Additionally, it is possible that certain propranolol doses may not be suitable to treat your condition. For example, your doctor may choose to prescribe Propranolol 40mg tablets instead of the lower dose of 10mg, particularly if your condition requires a higher dose. Likewise, if your condition does not require a stronger dose, you may be prescribed Propranolol 10mg tablets.

This medication can be taken by both adults and children, although it may not be suitable for everyone to use.

Propranolol has not been officially approved in treating high blood pressure in children who are under the age of 12.

To ensure this medicine is safe for you, please make sure you tell your doctor if any of the below apply to you:

  • You have low blood pressure or a slow heart rate
  • You have lung disease
  • You have asthma
  • You have heart failure that is worsening with time
  • You have too much acid in your blood (metabolic acidosis)
  • You have had an allergic reaction to Propranolol or any other medicine in the past
  • You have severe blood circulation problems in your limbs; physical symptoms may include tingling in your fingers and toes, or your fingers and toes turn blue or pale

Propranolol contains lactose, so if you have been told by your doctor that you have an intolerance to certain sugars, you should contact your doctor before taking Propranolol.

This is not an exhaustive list, you can find more information on who can take propranolol in our guide to propranolol.

Can you take Propranolol tablets for anxiety?

Yes, propranolol is highly effective at treating the symptoms of anxiety. The typical starting dose for treating anxiety is propranolol 40mg, however this depends on the severity of your condition and what previous treatments have been used.

A study into the efficacy of propranolol for anxiety disorders in 2016 provided insufficient evidence into the effectiveness of propranolol for treating anxiety disorders. Nonetheless, propranolol is still considered a safe, and widely prescribed treatment for anxiety.

Can you buy Propranolol tablets online in the UK?

Yes, you can buy propranolol 40mg and 10mg tablets online from most online pharmacies. If you are looking to buy propranolol online, you will be required to complete an online consultation which will be reviewed by a doctor or pharmacist to ensure you are receiving the most suitable treatment for your condition.

When purchasing medicine online, it is essential that you do so from a fully regulated online pharmacy. To learn more about our company, medical professionals and licenses we hold, visit our about us page.

Can you buy Propranolol 40mg and 10mg tablets over the counter in the UK?

No, propranolol 40mg and 10mg tablets are prescription only medicines, meaning that they need to be prescribed by a doctor or pharmacist.

Usually, prescription medicines have a lower dose alternative that is available over the counter, however this is not the case for propranolol, it is prescription only.

Propranolol Indications and Dose

Always take Propranolol exactly as instructed by your doctor. Read the patient information leaflet thoroughly before taking a new medicine. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you are unsure of how to take it.

All our doctors and pharmacists follow the NICE guidelines when prescribing Propranolol.

Doses for adults and children over the age of 12 are as follows:

What if I take more than I am supposed to?

Taking too much Propranolol can cause breathing difficulties and slow down your heart rate. It may also result in trembling and/or dizziness.

If you take more of this medicine than you were instructed to, call a doctor or go to A&E straight away. If you are instructed to go to hospital, do not drive yourself there; either get someone else to take you, or call an ambulance.

What if I forget to take it?

If you accidentally miss a dose of Propranolol, take it as soon as you remember, as long as it is not almost time for your next dose. If it is nearly time for your next dose, skip the dose you missed and continue taking this medicine as usual.

Never double dose a medication to try and make up for missing a previous dose.

To get into the routine of taking Propranolol, it is best if you take it at the same time every day. Some people find it useful to set an alarm to remind them.

Propranolol FAQ's

Can I take Propranolol for situational anxiety?

Yes, Propranolol is also a common and highly effective medicine that is used to treat the symptoms of situational anxiety due to its ability to control the rate at which the heart beats. A common symptom of anxiety is an increased heart rate and due to the way that propranolol reduces the heart rate, this makes it an effective treatment for anxiety.

Is Propranolol 40mg mg good for anxiety?

Propranolol 40 mg can be used to treat anxiety in patients suffering from this condition and provides effective relief against the most common anxiety side effect, which is an increased heart rate. It can also help to relieve the physical symptoms of anxiety, such as sweating and shaking.

How long does propranolol take to work?

Propranolol is a very fast acting medication, typically getting to work within just a few hours after consumption. Depending on the condition, propranolol may take up to a week before you feel its full effects. Propranolol typically works faster when treating primary conditions such as high blood pressure, and slower when treating secondary conditions such as migraines.

What is the dose for a migraine?

The typical propranolol dosage for migraines is 10 mg – 40 mg to be taken 2-3 times daily. This dosage and frequency will provide effective treatment against the symptoms of painful migraines. Propranolol tablets, when treating migraines, should only be taken when other more common and conventional headache medication has been taken and failed to relieve the pain.

How can I buy Propranolol online in the UK?

Propranolol is a prescription only drug and can only be purchased if you have a prescription. You can purchase various strengths of propranolol online at Medicine Direct. If you do not have a prescription, you will be required to answer a few short questions relating to your condition so our medical professionals can ensure you are receiving the most suitable treatment option.

Is it possible to overdose on Propranolol?

Taking too much of this medicine can slow down your heart rate and cause breathing difficulties. You should go to A&E or call your doctor straight away if you accidentally take too much Propranolol. To avoid overdosing on this medicine, try to take it at the same time every day. This will also help to make sure you do not forget to take it.

Can you drink alcohol while taking beta blockers?

If you drink alcohol while taking this medicine, it can increase the blood pressure-lowering effect. This might make you feel light-headed or dizzy. You should stop drinking alcohol for the first few days of taking this medicine, or if your doctor increases your dose. If you find that alcohol makes you dizzy, you should stop drinking alcohol.

What are the side effects of Propranolol?

Propranolol's main side effects are dizziness, sleeping difficulties, nightmares, feeling tired, cold hands and feet. Please, refer to the Side Effects tab on this page for a list of reactions you may suffer while using this medicine. Always read the patient information leaflet, which will accompany your medicine, for a comprehensive list of adverse effects.

Does Propranolol cause weight gain?

Some people who use Propranolol have said that they have put on weight during treatment, particularly in the first few months. However, this is not believed to be a common side effect of taking this medication, and there is not enough information available to explain why some people experience weight gain.

Propranolol Side Effects

Common side effects

Like any medicine, Propranolol may cause side effects, although they will not affect everyone who uses it.

Propranolol side effects will normally improve as you keep taking the medicine and your body gets used to it.

The below side effects are common and will affect around 1 in every 100 people who use this medicine. They will usually pass quickly, but you should speak to your doctor or pharmacist if any of them last for longer than a few days or concern you:

  • You have nightmares or difficulty sleeping
  • You feel tired, dizzy or light-headed (these could be signs of a slow heart rate)
  • You feel sick
  • You have cold fingers or toes (this could be a sign that the blood supply to your hands and feet has been affected)

For more detailed information on Propranolol side effects, please read our detailed medical guide.

The more common adverse effects of Propranolol can be found on the main product page.

Less common reactions to this medicine may include vomiting, diarrhoea and nausea.

It is very important to inform your doctor if you experience any of the following side effects:

  • You have dry eyes and/or visual disturbances
  • You notice increased bruising, nosebleeds, a sore throat, or infections (your doctor may wish to give you a blood test)
  • Raynaud's syndrome
  • You have shortness of breath with a cough that gets worse with exercise, swollen ankles/legs, chest pain, or irregular heartbeat (these are symptoms of heart problems)
  • Your heart failure gets worse, you have a heart block, low blood pressure, you faint when you stand up, you feel dizzy, worsening of intermittent claudication
  • You have yellowing of the skin or the whites of your eyes turn yellow (these could be symptoms of a liver problem)
  • You have shortness of breath, wheezing and tightening of your chest (these can be signs of lung problems)
  • You have breathing difficulties (this is most likely to affect people who suffer from asthma)
  • Hair loss, dry/flaky skin, worsening of psoriasis
  • Hallucinations, confusion or changes in your mood
  • Pins and needles
  • Memory loss
  • You develop myasthenia gravis, or your case gets worse (physical symptoms include muscle weakness, difficulty chewing or swallowing and slurred speech)

It is unknown how likely you are to experience any of the following side effects, but you should speak to your doctor immediately if:

  • You get joint pain
  • You have changes in your blood sugar levels
  • You have signs of hyperthyroidism, which may be hidden
  • You notice a change in your potency or your sex drive
  • You notice worsening of pre-existing depression, angina or headaches
  • You have dry mouth, constipation, or conjunctivitis
  • You suffer fits (seizures), which are linked to low blood sugar levels
  • You have changes in your blood fats, which can lead to changes in the kidneys' function

Serious allergic reaction

Although it only happens in rare cases, it is possible to suffer a serious allergic reaction while taking Propranolol.

Stop taking the medicine and either call 999 or go to A&E straight away if you exhibit any of the following symptoms. You may need immediate treatment in hospital if:

  • You develop a skin rash that is red, itchy, swollen, blistered or peeling skin
  • You have tightness in your chest or throat
  • You are finding it difficult to breathe or speak
  • Your face, throat, mouth, lips, or tongue starts swelling
  • You are wheezing

The above lists may not be exhaustive. Always refer to the patient information leaflet, which will come with your medication, before you start to take it.

If you have any questions or concerns at all, please do not hesitate to discuss them with your doctor or pharmacist.

If you experience any side effect not contained in the above list, or the patient information leaflet, you can report this to the MHRA using their Yellow Card Safety Scheme.

Propranolol Warnings and drug interactions

Propranolol can interact with other medicines, which may increase your risk of side effects, or may cause one or both medicines to be less effective.

Before taking a new medication, it is very important that you tell your doctor if you are currently taking any other medicines. This includes both prescription and non-prescription medication, herbal remedies, vitamins and supplements.

In particular, your doctor must be made aware if you are currently taking or have recently taken any of the following:

  • Any medicines for heart diseases, such as verapamil, diltiazem, nifedipine, nisoldipine, nicardipine, isradipine, lacidipine and dihydropyridine
  • Any medicines to help an irregular heartbeat, including disopyramide, quinidine, flecainide, amiodarone, propafenone
  • The migraine treatments ergotamine derivates or rizatriptan
  • Adrenaline
  • Any medicines used to treat diabetes, such as insulin
  • Any non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as naproxen or ibuprofen (these may increase your blood pressure)
  • The blood thinning medicine warfarin
  • Rifampicin, which is used in the treatment of infections
  • Theophylline
  • Barbiturates (for treating insomnia)
  • Smoking tobacco
  • Any medicines to treat high blood pressure or difficulty with urinating, such as prazosin
  • Diuretics (medication for getting rid of excess fluid in the body)
  • Any treatment for asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD)
  • Medicines used as treatment for nose or sinus congestion, as well as other cold remedies
  • Medicines specifically to treat high blood pressure

Please, make sure you read the patient information leaflet for a comprehensive list of medicines Propranolol may interact with. If you have any questions or concerns at all, we strongly advise you to discuss these with your doctor before you start a new course of medication.

For more information on Propranolol Drug Interactions

Driving and operating machinery

As side effects associated with Propranolol include dizziness, visual disturbances and tiredness, you are advised to not drive, ride a bike or operate machinery if you experience any of these reactions.

Do not stop taking this medicine without speaking to your doctor first, but contact your doctor if any of these problems do not go away. Your doctor may need to run some tests to determine the cause.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding

Propranolol is not believed to be dangerous to take when you are pregnant, although there is not enough research out there to prove this.

Speak to your doctor about the possible risks associated with this medicine if you are currently pregnant, think you might be pregnant, or are trying to get pregnant. There may be alternative medicines available which are more suitable for you.

It is also normally safe to take this medicine if you are breastfeeding. Small amounts of Propranolol will get into your breast milk, but not enough to affect your baby.

Tell your doctor if you are breastfeeding before you start to use this medicine, particularly if your baby has any health problems or was born premature.

Read more information on Propranolol, pregnancy and breastfeeding. 

Propranolol Ingredients

The active ingredient contained in this medicine is propranolol hydrochloride.

The inactive ingredients also contained in the medicine are: lactose, magnesium stearate, maize starch, stearic acid, hypromellose (E464).

Inform your doctor if you have an allergy to any of the ingredients listed here. Read the patient information leaflet thoroughly before taking any new medicine, for a list of the ingredients.

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Written byHussain Abdeh MPharm: 2211840

Published on: 12/10/2020

Updated on: 27/05/2021

This content has been written by our Superintendent Pharmacist Hussain Abdeh and has been medically reviewed by our Pharmacist Sonia Khan

Hussain Abdeh Superintendent Pharmacist at Medicine Direct

Hussain Abdeh
MPharm: 2211840

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