Propranolol is one of beta blocker medications used in the treatment of high blood pressure. It can be administered on its own or combined with some other drugs and besides treating hypertension, it can also be used in patients suffering from angina pectoris, coronary artery disease and rapid heart rate. Other indications for the use of beta blockers (including propranolol) are thyrotoxicosis and migraine headaches.
How do Beta Blockers Work?
In general, beta blockers work by blocking beta adrenergic receptors in the body. This way, beta blockers are able to control the rate of heart beats, reduce the demand for oxygen in the heart and provoke many other therapeutic effects in the body.
Since beta blockers and propranolol are used to treat many different conditions there will inevitably be some unwanted effects on the human body. These side effects are not rare and because of them exact dose of this medication must be carefully prescribed by your doctor. People suffering from asthma, diabetes of pheochromocytoma are more likely to experience side effects of this drug and therefore such patients must be even more careful. The same caution stands for pregnant women who need to use propranolol.
Most patients do not have any severe problems after taking propranolol and they usually report mild problems such as constipation or diarrhea or nausea and abdominal cramps. Some complain about propranolol-related numbness and tingling in the arms and legs, breathing problems, wheezing, fever, insomnia or even fever. Low blood pressure and slow heart rate are also frequently reported mild side effects which accompany the use of propranolol.
Certain side effects of this drug are more serious and people who take this drug could also experience weight gain, depression, anxiety or even hair loss. These side effects may have certain psychological effects on patients and cause further damage. As mentioned, use of propranolol has been associated with sudden and unnatural weight gain in some patients. Other people prescribed with this drug, may experience depression, hallucinations, loss of memory or vivid dreams because of lack of sleep after using propranolol. Insomnia, extreme tiredness and slow heart beat are also found to be responsible for anxiety in some propranolol patients. Hair loss is another of propranolol side effects frequently reported among patients. Direct injection of propranolol is found to be a potential cause of cardiac arrest.
Because of these adverse effects, patients prescribed with propranolol must be very careful and follow their doctor’s prescription to the letter.