Propranolol is a beta blocker medication marketed under the brand names Inderal and others. It is used to treat high blood pressure, irregular heart rates, thyrotoxicosis, capillary hemangiomas, performance anxiety, and essential tremors, as well as to prevent migraine headaches and further heart problems in people with angina or who have had a previous heart attack. It can be administered orally or intravenously. The oral formulation is available in both short-acting and long-acting forms. Propranolol enters the bloodstream after 30 minutes and has the most significant effect between 60 and 90 minutes when taken orally.
Nausea, abdominal pain, and constipation are common side effects. It should not be used in people with a slow heart rate and most people with heart failure. Stopping the medication abruptly in people with coronary artery disease may worsen symptoms. It may aggravate asthma symptoms. People with liver or kidney problems should exercise caution. If taken during pregnancy, propranolol may be harmful to the baby. It is safe to use while breastfeeding, but the baby should be monitored for side effects. It is a non-selective beta blocker that inhibits -adrenergic receptors.
Propranolol was approved for medical use in 1964 after being patented in 1962.
It is included on the WHO’s List of Essential Medicines.
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