propranolol (generic name)

Beta-blockers reduce the workload on the heart and help it to beat more regularly
(proe PRAN oh lole)
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What is this medicine?

PROPRANOLOL (proe PRAN oh lole) is a beta-blocker. Beta-blockers reduce the workload on the heart and help it to beat more regularly. This medicine is used to treat high blood pressure, heart muscle disease, and prevent chest pain caused by angina. It is also used to prevent migraine headaches. You should not use this medicine to treat a migraine that has already started.

What should I tell my health care provider before I take this medicine?

They need to know if you have any of these conditions:
  • circulation problems, or blood vessel disease
  • diabetes
  • history of heart attack or heart disease, vasospastic angina
  • kidney disease
  • liver disease
  • lung or breathing disease, like asthma or emphysema
  • pheochromocytoma
  • slow heart rate
  • thyroid disease
  • an unusual or allergic reaction to propranolol, other beta-blockers, medicines, foods, dyes, or preservatives
  • pregnant or trying to get pregnant
  • breast-feeding

How should I use this medicine?

Take this medicine by mouth with a glass of water. Follow the directions on the prescription label. Do not crush or chew. Take your doses at regular intervals. Do not take your medicine more often than directed. Do not stop taking except on the advice of your doctor or health care professional.

Talk to your pediatrician regarding the use of this medicine in children. Special care may be needed.

What if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, take only that dose. Do not take double or extra doses.

What may interact with this medicine?

Do not take this medicine with any of the following medications:
  • feverfew
  • phenothiazines like chlorpromazine, mesoridazine, prochlorperazine, thioridazine
  • sotalol

This medicine may also interact with the following medications:

  • aluminum hydroxide gel
  • antipyrine
  • barbiturates like phenobarbital
  • cimetidine
  • ciprofloxacin
  • diazepam
  • fluconazole
  • haloperidol
  • isoniazid
  • medicines for cholesterol like cholestyramine or colestipol
  • medicines to control heart rhythm
  • medicines for high blood pressure
  • medicines for HIV
  • medicines for mental depression
  • medicines for migraine headache like almotriptan, eletriptan, frovatriptan, naratriptan, rizatriptan, sumatriptan, zolmitriptan
  • NSAIDs, medicines for pain and inflammation, like ibuprofen or naproxen
  • phenytoin
  • rifampin
  • teniposide
  • theophylline
  • thyroid medicines
  • tolbutamide
  • warfarin
  • zileuton

What should I watch for while using this medicine?

Visit your doctor or health care professional for regular check ups. Contact your doctor right away if your symptoms worsen. Check your blood pressure and pulse rate regularly. Ask your health care professional what your blood pressure and pulse rate should be, and when you should contact them.

Do not stop taking this medicine suddenly. This could lead to serious heart-related effects.

You may get drowsy or dizzy. Do not drive, use machinery, or do anything that needs mental alertness until you know how this drug affects you. Do not stand or sit up quickly, especially if you are an older patient. This reduces the risk of dizzy or fainting spells. Alcohol can make you more drowsy and dizzy. Avoid alcoholic drinks.

This medicine can affect blood sugar levels. If you have diabetes, check with your doctor or health care professional before you change your diet or the dose of your diabetic medicine.

Do not treat yourself for coughs, colds, or pain while you are taking this medicine without asking your doctor or health care professional for advice. Some ingredients may increase your blood pressure.

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Last Updated: July 24, 2009
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