Propranolol belongs to the group of drugs known as beta-adrenergic blocking agents and is employed to treat hypertension (high blood pressure); irregular heart rhythms; angina (heart pain); and also a number of neurologic conditions. Other drugs belonging to this class include atenolol (Tenormin), metoprolol (Lopressor), and timolol (Blocadren).
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The nerve cells in our brain produce and release certain chemicals called neurotransmitters that are used by them to send signals to one another. The neurotransmitter released by one nerve cell binds itself to the receptors located on new nerve cells and encourages modifications inside the cells containing the receptor. The sympathetic nervous system, which is an element of our autonomic nervous system (ANS), also called involuntary nervous system, employs one such neurotransmitter known as norepinephrine, which attaches itself to the receptors located on other different nerve cells. The beta-adrenergic blocking agent propanolol slows down the exploits of our sympathetic nervous system by way of obstructing the beta receptors found on the nerves belonging to the sympathetic or autonomic nervous system. As inducing the sympathetic or autonomic nervous system augments the pace of heartbeat, when the activities of these nerves are obstructed by propranolol, it results in slowing down the pace of heartbeat. Therefore, this medication helps in effective treatment of irregularly fast heart rhythms.
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In addition, this medicine also helps to reduce the potency with which the muscles of our heart contract and, in this way, helps to decrease the blood pressure. As propranolol less the heartbeat rate and the force exerted in contracting heart muscles, this medication also minimizes the heart muscles' requisite for oxygen. It may be noted that angina pectoris (heart pain) takes place when the heart muscles' demand for oxygen surpasses the existing supply of oxygen; propranolol also helps to treat this condition by means of lessening the requirement for oxygen. In November 1967, propranolol was approved for sale as well as use in the United States by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Irrespective of what condition you may want to take propranolol, always consult your physician and tell him/ her a few things about your health and medical history before starting therapy with this medicament. Most importantly, you should tell them if you have allergies to propranolol or any different medication.
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Talk to your physician and also your pharmacist regarding the entire prescription as well as over-the-counter drugs that you may be taking from before, particularly cimetidine (brand name Tagamet); any drugs for treating headaches, colds, allergies, asthma or pain; any additional medicament for treating aliments associated with the heart or hypertension; vitamins; and reserpine.
Before starting therapy with propranolol, you should also let your physician know your complete medical condition, especially whether or not you have or had any ailments related to the heart, the liver and kidneys; asthma or other lung disorders; severe allergies; problems concerning the thyroid gland or diabetes.
Prior to using propranolol, women should tell their physician whether or not they are pregnant or intending to conceive in the near future. Women who have given birth recently should tell their physician whether or not they have been breast feeding. Provided any woman learns that she has conceived while using propranolol, they ought to call their physician immediately and seek his/ her guidance in this condition.
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Before undergoing any type of operation, even a dental process, you need to let your physician, medical staff and/ or dentists know that you are already using the beta-adrenergic blocking agent propranolol.
Propranolol is likely to cause drowsiness and, hence, it is not advisable that you undertake any activity requiring alertness, such as working with machines or drive, till the time you are convinced about the effect of this medication on you and when you can execute such tasks with safety.
A beta-adrenergic blocking agent, propranolol is used for treating angina pectoris (heart pain); minor to restrained hypertension; cardiac arrhythmias (abnormally rapid heartbeat); heart attack; cardiomyopathy (debility of the muscles of the heart); tremors and pheochromocytoma. In addition, propranolol is also employed for putting off the occurrence of migraine headaches.
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Propranolol is sold in three different forms - tablet, capsule as well as a concentrate, and all these are taken by mouth. The extended-release (also known as long-acting) form of propranolol is generally taken only once daily, while the immediate-acting version of the medication can be taken anything between once and thrice every day. It is important that you strictly follow the instructions mentioned on the prescription label of the product and also use this medication at the specific time(s) each day. Seek the help of your physician or pharmacist if you are unable to understand any particular instruction on the prescription label or have any specific queries regarding the use of this medication. You must only take this medication as you have been directed by your physician. Never take propranolol in excess or low dosage or more frequently than what your physician has recommended.
Never ever cut, pound or chew the extended release propranolol tablets, but gulp them down with water or any fruit juice as a whole. The concentrate form of propranolol may be diluted by adding water, fruit juice or even soft drinks or blended with pudding or applesauce prior to taking the medication.
Propranolol works by obstructing the impulses sent by the nerves to different body areas, which are responsible for several actions of the medication. For instance, propranolol inhibits the pace at which the heart beats as well as the strength with which the muscles of the heart contract, resulting in the lowering of blood pressure. In addition, propranolol also reduces the heart muscles' requirement for oxygen, thereby putting off the occurrence of angina pectoris; and also works to make the heartbeat stable.
Do not discontinue propranolol abruptly and without checking with your physician, particularly if you have coronary artery disease. Always try to reduce the dose of this medication slowly during two to three weeks prior to discontinuing it. In addition, when you want to stop taking propranolol seek the advice and help of your physician in advance.
Store propranolol in a cool and arid place, which is free from direct light as well as heat. It is also important to store all medicaments beyond the sight as well accessibility of children. In case you are using the liquid form of propranolol (brand name Syprol), you ought not to use this solution if you have opened the bottle containing it over three months back.