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Propranolol

Propranolol

Definition

Propranolol is classified as a beta blocker. It is sold in the United States under the brand name Inderal. When combined with the diuretic, hydrochlorothiazide, it is sold under the brand name Inderide. Propranolol also is produced as a generic product by a number of generic manufacturers.

Purpose

Propranolol is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of hypertension (high blood pressure), angina, certain types of cardiac arrhythmias, certain types of cardiac output diseases, a sympathetic nervous system disorder known as pheochromocytoma, hyperthyroid conditions, migraine, heart attack, and tremors of a variety of origins. It is also used on occasion for the treatment of medication-induced movement disorders caused by antipsychotic drugs and certain anxiety states in people suffering from a specific form of social phobia . Beta blockers , such as propanolol, are not useful for people with general social phobia who are anxious in most social situations; instead, propanolol may be useful for people who are anxious about specific performance situations, such as presenting a speech before an audience.

Description

Propranolol falls into the broad pharmacologic category known as beta blockers. Beta blockers block specific sites in the central nervous system known as beta-adrenergic receptor sites. When these sites are blocked, heart rate and blood pressure are reduced and patients become less anxious. Because of this, propranolol is useful in treating chest pain, high blood pressure, and excessive nervousness. Unfortunately, propranolol often makes breathing disorders, such as asthma, worse because it tends to constrict breathing passages and sometimes causes fluid to build up in the lungs if it excessively depresses the heart.

In the treatment of anxiety, propranolol is usually not administered on a chronic basis but, rather, prior to stressful events such as public speaking or acting. In the treatment of certain types of tremors, especially tremors secondary to a drug, and movement disorders secondary to antipsychotic therapy, propranolol is administered throughout the day in divided doses. Propranolol is available in 10-, 20-, 40-, 60-, and 80-mg tablets; in long-acting capsules; and an injectable form containing 1 mg per mL. It is also combined with the diuretic hydrochlorothiazide in tablets and extended-release capsules.

Recommended dosage

For the treatment of performance anxiety or stage fright, a single dose of 1040 mg may be administered 2030 minutes before the event. For the treatment of tremors, especially tremors secondary to lithium, doses range from 20 to 160 mg per day administered in two or three divided doses. For the treatment of movement disorders secondary to antipsychotic drug therapy, doses range from 10 to 30 mg three times daily.

Precautions

Precautions should be taken when administering propranolol in the following situations:

  • liver or renal (kidney) failure
  • prior to screening tests for glaucoma
  • a history of immediate allergic reaction (known as anaphylaxis) to a beta blocker of any kind

Side effects

The following side effects have been observed with propranolol. Most have been mild and transient (temporary) and rarely require the withdrawal of therapy:

  • Cardiovascular: bradycardia, congestive heart failure, hypotension, Raynaud's syndrome.
  • Central nervous system: light-headedness, mental depression, insomnia , vivid dreams, disorientation, memory loss.
  • Gastrointestinal: nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, cramping, diarrhea, constipation, bowel ischemia.
  • Allergic: fever, rash, laryngospasm, thrombocytopenia.
  • Respiratory: bronchospasm.
  • Hematologic: bone marrow suppression, bleeding under the skin.

Interactions

  • When drugs that deplete the body of epinephrine and norepinephrine (such as reserpine and guanethidine) are taken with propranolol, interactions have been reported. Some of these interactions include: fainting, hypotension, dizziness, and slow heart rate.
  • Drugs known as calcium channel blockers may decrease the pumping ability of the heart and lead to the development of cardiac arrhythmias.
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agents (i.e., ibuprofen and naproxen) may blunt the blood pressure-lowering effects of propranolol.
  • Aluminum hydroxide antacids greatly reduce the rate of intestinal absorption of propranolol.
  • Alcohol slows the rate of propranolol absorption.
  • Interactions have also been reported with phenytoin, rifampin, phenobarbital, chlorpromazine , lidocaine, thyroxin, cimetidine, and theophylline.

See also Alcohol and related disorders; Anxiety and related disorders

Resources

BOOKS

Medical Economics Staff. Physicians' Desk Reference. 56th edition, Montvale, N.J., 2002.

Springhouse Publishers Staff. Nursing 2002 Drug Handbook. Springhouse, PA: Lippincott, Williams and Wilkins, 2001.

Thomas, Clayton, MD, editor. Taber's Cyclopedic Medical Dictionary. 19th edition; Philadelphia: F. A. Davis Publishers, 2001.

Ralph Myerson, M.D.

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propranolol

propranolol (proh-pran-ŏ-lol) n. a drug (see beta blocker) administered by mouth or injection to treat abnormal heart rhythm, angina, and high blood pressure. It is also used to relieve the symptoms of thyrotoxicosis and anxiety associated with palpitation or tremor and to prevent migraine headaches. Trade name: Inderal.

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Propranolol

Propranolol

Definition

Purpose

Description

Recommended dosage

Precautions

Side effects

Interactions

Resources

Definition

Propranolol is classified as a beta blocker. It is sold in the United States under the brand name Ind-eral. When combined with the diuretic, hydrochloro-thiazide, it is sold under the brand name Inderide. Propranolol also is produced as a generic product by a number of generic manufacturers.

Purpose

Propranolol is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of hypertension (high blood pressure), angina, certain types of cardiac arrhythmias, certain types of cardiac output diseases, a sympathetic nervous system disorder known as pheochromocytoma, hyperthyroid conditions, migraine, heart attack, and tremors of a variety of origins. It is also used on occasion for the treatment of medication-induced movement disorders caused by antipsychotic drugs and certain anxiety states in people suffering from a specific form of social phobia. Beta blockers, such as propanolol, are not useful for people with general social phobia who are anxious in most social situations; instead, propanolol may be useful for people who are anxious about specific performance situations, such as presenting a speech before an audience.

Description

Propranolol falls into the broad pharmacologic category known as beta blockers. Beta blockers block specific sites in the central nervous system

known as beta-adrenergic receptor sites. When these sites are blocked, heart rate and blood pressure are reduced and patients become less anxious. Because of this, propranolol is useful in treating chest pain, high blood pressure, and excessive nervousness. Unfortunately, propranolol often makes breathing disorders, such as asthma, worse because it tends to constrict breathing passages and sometimes causes fluid to build up in the lungs if it excessively depresses the heart.

In the treatment of anxiety, propranolol is usually not administered on a chronic basis but, rather, prior to stressful events such as public speaking or acting. In the treatment of certain types of tremors, especially tremors secondary to a drug, and movement disorders secondary to antipsychotic therapy, propranolol is administered throughout the day in divided doses. Propranolol is available in 10-, 20-, 40-, 60-, and 80-mg tablets; in 60-, 80-, 120-; 160-mg long-acting capsules; and an injectable form containing 1 mg per mL. It is also combined with the diuretic hydrochlorothiazide in tablets and extended-release capsules.

Recommended dosage

For the treatment of performance anxiety or stage fright, a single dose of 10–40 mg may be administered 20-30 minutes before the event. For the treatment of tremors, especially tremors secondary to lithium, doses range from 20 to 160 mg per day administered in two or three divided doses. For the treatment of movement disorders secondary to antipsychotic drug therapy, doses range from 10 to 30 mg three times daily.

Precautions

Precautions should be taken when administering propranolol in the following situations:

  • liver or renal (kidney) failure
  • prior to screening tests for glaucoma
  • a history of immediate allergic reaction (known as anaphylaxis) to a beta blocker of any kind

In addition, a person taking propranolol should never suddenly stop taking the drug because of the risk of chest pain or heart attack in some people who do so.

Side effects

The following side effects have been observed with propranolol. Most have been mild and transient and rarely require the withdrawal of therapy:

KEY TERMS

Beta blocker —Drugs that block beta-adrenergic receptors on neurons in the central nervous system. When these sites are blocked, heart rate, blood pressure, and anxiety levels decrease.

Brachycardia —Slow heartbeat, defined as a rate of less than 60 beats per minute.

Diuretic —An agent that increases the amount of urine; often used to decrease fluid retention in bodily tissues.

Epinephrine (adrenaline) —The principal blood-pressure–raising hormone and a relaxant of the bronchial and intestinal smooth muscles; prescribed to (among other things) stimulate the heart and as a muscle relaxant in bronchial asthma.

Glaucoma —A group of eye diseases characterized by increased pressure within the eye significant enough to damage eye tissue and structures. If untreated, glaucoma results in blindness.

Hypotension —Low blood pressure.

Ischemia —Localized anemia of tissues due to obstructed inflow of blood.

Laryngospasm —Spasms that close the vocal apparatus of the larynx (the organ of voice production).

Norepinephrine (noradrenaline) —A hormone with similar stimulatory effects to epinephrine but, in contrast to epinephrine, has little effect on cardiac (heart) output and in relaxing smooth muscles.

Raynaud’s syndrome —A disorder of the circulatory or vascular system characterized by abnormally cold hands and feet because of constricted blood vessels in these areas.

Thrombocytopenia —A condition involving abnormally low numbers of platelets (blood-clotting agents) in the blood; usually associated with hem-orrhaging (bleeding).

  • Cardiovascular: bradycardia, congestive heart failure, hypotension, Raynaud’s syndrome.
  • Central nervous system: light-headedness, mental depression, insomnia, vivid dreams, disorientation, memory loss.
  • Gastrointestinal: nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, cramping, diarrhea, constipation, bowel ischemia.
  • Allergic: fever, rash, laryngospasm, thrombocytopenia.
  • Respiratory: bronchospasm.
  • Hematologic: bone marrow suppression, bleeding under the skin.

Interactions

  • Interactions with drugs that deplete the body of epi-nephrine and norepinephrine have been reported with concomitant propranolol. This group includes reserpine and guanethidine. Fainting, hypotension, dizziness, and slow heart rate have occurred under these circumstances.
  • Drugs known as calcium channel blockers may decrease the pumping ability of the heart and lead to the development of cardiac arrhythmias.
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agents (i.e., ibupro-fen and naproxen) may blunt the blood pressure-lowering effects of propranolol.
  • Aluminum hydroxide antacids greatly reduce the rate of intestinal absorption of propranolol.
  • Alcohol slows the rate of propranolol absorption.
  • Interactions have also been reported with phenytoin, rifampin, phenobarbital, chlorpromazine, lidocaine, thyroxin, cimetidine, and theophylline.

See alsoAlcohol and related disorders; Anxiety and related disorders.

Resources

BOOKS

Medical Economics Staff. Physicians’ Desk Reference, 56th ed. Montvale, N.J., 2002.

Springhouse Publishers Staff. Nursing 2002 Drug Handbook. Springhouse, PA: Lippincott, Williams and Wilkins, 2001.

Thomas, Clayton, MD, ed. Taber’s Cyclopedic Medical Dictionary, 19th ed. Philadelphia: F. A. Davis Publishers, 2001.

WEB SITES

National Library of Medicine. National Institutes of Health. “Beta-Adrenergic Blocking Agents (Systemic).” http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/uspdi/202087.html

National Library of Medicine. National Institutes of Health. “DailyMed: Inderal Drug Information.” http://dailymednlm.nih.gov/dailymed/fdaDrugXsl.cfm?id=2548&type=display

Ralph Myerson, MD
Emily Jane Willingham, PhD

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"Propranolol." The Gale Encyclopedia of Mental Health. . Encyclopedia.com. 21 Sep. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Propranolol." The Gale Encyclopedia of Mental Health. . Encyclopedia.com. (September 21, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/medicine/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/propranolol

"Propranolol." The Gale Encyclopedia of Mental Health. . Retrieved September 21, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/medicine/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/propranolol

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.