Published On By Rachel Nall

Propranolol For Anxiety

Propranolol is available as a generic drug, and a doctor might prescribe it for patients with migraine or tremors. Sometimes, people with physical symptoms of anxiety, like profuse sweating or shaking, may find relief after taking Propranolol.

The debilitating effects of anxiety could make it difficult for people to function and lead peaceful lives. Propranolol medication could help manage anxiety.

Though Propranolol has found its effectiveness in relieving anxiety symptoms, people with complaints of low blood pressure or impaired heart health might benefit from it.

This article will help you understand the nature of Propranolol, its effect on anxiety, along with some of its potential side effects.

What Is Propranolol?

Propranolol, known as Inderal, was initially developed as a beta-blocker to lower blood pressure and protect the heart.

Beta-blockers help block epinephrine receptors in the heart, preventing a rapid heart rate. The FDA has approved Propranolol for the treatment of angina pectoris, atrial fibrillation, hypertension, migraine headaches, and myocardial infarction.

Propranolol blocks beta receptors responsible for transmitting adrenergic messages in the body. It helps control physical signs of anxiety like rapid heart rate and increased blood pressure.

How Does Propranolol Work for Anxiety?

Propranolol is a beta-blocker that helps reduce the signs of anxiety by blocking the effects of adrenaline, also known as epinephrine.

Adrenaline is a hormone released during the body's fight-or-flight response. It could trigger the physical symptoms of anxiety. It may help block adrenaline, which could reduce anxiety symptoms like rapid heart rate, trembling, and sweating.

Recommended Dosage

The recommended dosage of Propranolol varies depending on the treatment goals and the specific needs of people. Initial propranolol doses range between 10 to 20mg. A doctor may suggest adjustments according to the drug's effectiveness and possible side effects.

Side Effects

  1. Common Side Effects

    Propranolol side effects are mostly mild and temporary. The common side effects of Propranolol include:

    • Headaches: Some people may experience headaches while taking Propranolol. These headaches are usually mild; OTC pain relievers could help manage them.
    • Fatigue: Feeling tired or weak is another common side effect of Propranolol.
    • Extremities: Propranolol may cause cold fingers or toes in some people due to the medication's effect on the blood vessels. Keeping warm and wearing appropriate clothing could help alleviate this symptom.
    • Nausea or vomiting and stomach pain: Propranolol can sometimes cause gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea or vomiting and stomach pain. These symptoms are usually temporary and could be taken care of by taking the medication with food or adjusting the dosage.
  2. Serious Side Effects

    Propranolol dosage may cause liver problems or dysfunction. Warning signs include yellowing of the whites of the eyes, skin, or pale-colored stools and dark urine. However, Propranolol consumption has not been linked explicitly to clinically apparent liver injury.

    Propranolol causes low platelets in the blood, known as thrombocytopenia. It could decrease platelet responsiveness by affecting the platelet membrane. This could manifest as unexplained bruising or nosebleeds lasting more than 10 minutes.

Is Propranolol An Effective Treatment For Anxiety?

Propranolol could be an effective treatment for anxiety disorders like panic disorder, specific phobias, and generalized anxiety disorder.

Anxiety disorders could significantly impact one's daily life, causing sleep disturbances, social challenges, and appetite loss.

Research suggests that Propranolol may also help treat post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It works by targeting the body's fight-or-flight response and blocking beta receptors responsible for transmitting adrenergic messages.

It could alleviate symptoms of anxiety, such as trembling, sweating, and stage fright. Propranolol can also help individuals with anxiety-related insomnia by reducing physical symptoms.

How Long Do The Effects Of Propranolol Last?

The duration of the effects of Propranolol can vary based on individual factors and dosage frequency.

Propranolol starts working within an hour after a dose, with its effects most noticeable between 1 and 4 hours. The period of its impact depends on factors such as liver function, age, and kidney function.

Propranolol has a half-life of about 4 hours, meaning it takes approximately 4 hours to eliminate half of the medication from the body. This indicates that the effects of Propranolol start to fade after this time.

Depending on the person's needs, a doctor may recommend taking immediate-acting propranolol tablets three or four times daily to maintain its effects. This frequent dosing might help ensure a consistent level of the medication in the body, prolonging its effectiveness.

When To Take Propranolol For Anxiety?

Propranolol extended-release capsule simplifies the medication routine and maintains a steady level of the medication throughout the day. Following the recommended dosage and taking the capsule simultaneously each day is essential.

On the other hand, if the goal is to treat anxiety signs as they occur or before specific events, take Propranolol on an as-needed basis. In these cases, the doctor prescribes a slow-release propranolol tablet.

It is important to take the tablet as directed by the doctor, typically about one hour before the anticipated anxiety-inducing event.

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Who Can Take Propranolol?

Propranolol is generally safe for most adults and children aged 12 and over. Still, there are specific demographics for whom it may not be suitable.

Below are some factors to consider:

  1. Allergic reactions: Some people may experience an allergic reaction after taking Propranolol.
  2. Low blood pressure or slow heart rate: Propranolol could further lower blood pressure or slow down the heart rate, so it may not be appropriate for people who already have low blood pressure or a slow heart rate.
  3. Heart failure severity: If your heart failure is worsening, Propranolol may prove counterintuitive. It is essential to discuss this with your doctor to determine the best course of treatment.
  4. Other medical conditions: Propranolol may not be suitable for people with the following medical conditions: depression, diabetes, liver or kidney problems, severe blood circulation problems in the limbs (such as Raynaud's phenomenon), metabolic acidosis, lung disease, or asthma.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Can Propranolol Be Used for Conditions Other Than Anxiety?
    Propranolol could be used to treat heart problems, high blood pressure, migraines, and hyperthyroidism.
  2. Does Propranolol Have Any Interactions With Other Medications?
    Yes, propranolol medication might interact with certain antihistamines, migraine medications, and antidepressants. To avoid potential interactions and ensure safe and effective treatment, it is essential to inform your doctor about all medications you take, including herbal remedies and supplements.
  3. Are There Any Specific Precautions or Considerations for Pregnant Women Taking Propranolol?
    Propranolol dosage might be related to the reduced growth of the baby. However, it is unclear if this happens because of Propranolol or other factors. The doctor may recommend extra scans and monitoring.
  4. What Are the Potential Long-Term Effects of Taking Propranolol?
    Long-term propranolol dosage may cause diarrhea, stomach pain, hallucination, coldness in extremities, and dizziness. These effects may vary depending on the person and their health condition. It is essential to consult with a health expert to discuss any potential risks or concerns.
  5. Can Propranolol Be Used as a Standalone Treatment for Anxiety?
    Propranolol finds its usage in conjunction with other therapies, like propranolol/hydralazine or propranolol/hydrochlorothiazide treatment for anxiety. Though it could help alleviate physical symptoms, it doesn't address the underlying causes of anxiety. A doctor can determine the most appropriate treatment plan for each individual.


Propranolol could be an effective and safe treatment for anxiety, particularly in managing physical symptoms associated with anxiety disorders. It may be a valuable alternative to habit-forming drugs for anxiety treatment, with a low risk of habit-formation.

Propranolol may help treat different anxiety disorders, like post-traumatic stress disorder and panic disorder.

You can implement some measures to reduce the symptoms of anxiety, such as avoiding caffeine and alcohol and resorting to relaxation techniques like breathing exercises. You can also resort to stress-reducing therapies like aromatherapy, which may help in managing your anxiety issues and keep you calm while improving your mental and emotional health.

  • The information in this article is for informational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice.
  • It is not recommended to disregard/delay seeking professional medical advice or treatment because of what you read or accessed through this review.
  • The results may vary from individual to individual.
  • Consult your doctor for any underlying medical conditions or if you are on any prescribed medicines before following health tips or instructions.

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