Inderal LA (Propranolol) – Oral

Warning:

Do not stop taking Inderal LA without talking to your healthcare provider first. If Inderal LA is stopped suddenly, it may cause chest pain or heart attack in some people.

What Is Inderal LA?

Inderal LA (propranolol) is an orally administered prescription medication categorized as a beta-blocker that is used to treat heart disease, help with anxiety, and prevent migraines in people 18 and older. "LA" refers to long-acting, corresponding to its route of administration as an extended-release (ER) capsule. This means the drug is designed to last longer in the body and require less intensive dosing than a standard-release drug.

Beta-blockers are a group of drugs used to treat cardiovascular diseases.

Inderal LA works by blocking beta-adrenergic receptors (binding sites). Blocking these receptors correlates to relaxed and widened blood vessels, less forceful heart contractions, and a slower heart rate.

The primary ingredient in Inderal LA, propranolol, is a generic product administered via ER capsules, immediate-release (IR) tablets, or as a liquid solution.

Marketed under varying brand names, such as Inderal LA, Innopran XL, or Hemangeol, propranolol is available as a liquid suspension and as an ER capsule.

This article will focus on the oral use of Inderal LA.

Drug Facts

Generic Name: Propranolol

Brand Name(s): Inderal LA, Innopran XL, Hemangeol

Drug Availability: Prescription

Administration Route: Oral

Therapeutic Classification: Cardiovascular agent

Available Generically: Yes

Controlled Substance: N/A

Active Ingredient: Propranolol hydrochloride

Dosage Form(s): Tablet, ER capsule, liquid suspension

What Is Inderal LA Used For?

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Inderal LA for a number of medical conditions, including:

Angina pectoris: In angina pectoris, there are blockages in the arteries of the heart. The low blood flow and oxygen to the heart from these blockages lead to the common symptom of chest pain. Experts recommend beta-blockers for this medical condition.

Atrial fibrillation: Atrial fibrillation is an abnormal heart rhythm. Inderal LA helps control the heart rate in this medical condition.

Essential tremors: People with essential tremors have uncontrollable shaking movements. These tremors are not due to Parkinson's disease, head injury, or other medical conditions. Essential tremors do not happen during rest—but tend to occur with movements. Inderal LA is thought to lessen the severity of tremors by blocking non-heart beta-2 receptors.

Hypertension: Hypertension is also known as high blood pressure. Your blood pressure measurement is considered high when the top number is more than 130 millimeters of mercury and the bottom number is higher than 80 millimeters of mercury.

Although the FDA approved propranolol for high blood pressure, experts no longer consider beta-blockers as the go-to option for this condition.

Hypertrophic subaortic stenosis: Hypertrophic subaortic stenosis is also known as hypertrophic obstructive cardiomyopathy (HCM). People with this medical condition have an abnormally large or thick left ventricle. This can cause blood flow problems.

Migraines: Inderal LA is thought to help migraines by influencing certain blood vessels in the brain. Beta-blockers—like propranolol—are the go-to options for preventing migraines.

Myocardial infarction: A myocardial infarction is also known as a heart attack. Experts recommend beta-blockers after a heart attack.

Pheochromocytoma: Pheochromocytomas are tumors of the adrenal glands, which sit on top of the kidneys. These tumors tend to make too many hormones that can cause various symptoms—including high blood pressure.

The FDA approved Inderal LA to be used with another medication—like phenoxybenzamine, which is an alpha-blocker that blocks alpha receptors.

How to Take Inderal LA

Potential consumers can purchase Inderal LA, or the generic version, propanolol, as an IR tablet, a solution (liquid), or an ER capsule to take orally (by mouth).

Inderal LA usually is taken once a day. Moreover, the ER capsule is usually taken at bedtime and should consistently be taken either always with or always without food each time.

IR propranolol tablets or solution may be taken two, three, or four times a day.

Be sure to take propranolol at around the same time daily. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your healthcare provider to explain any part you do not understand.

Take Inderal LA exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your healthcare provider.

Swallow the tablets/capsules whole; do not split, chew, or crush them.

Storage

Since Inderal LA is a noncontrolled prescription (not regulated by law regarding use and possession), your healthcare provider may provide you with refills for up to one year from the originally written date on the prescription.

If you have never taken Inderal LA before or your dose is changing, however, your healthcare provider might authorize only a few refills at a time until you and your provider find a stable dose to help your medical condition and minimize side effects.

After you bring Inderal LA home from the pharmacy, the medication can be stored at room temperature (around 68 to 77 degrees F).

However, make sure to protect this medication from harsh light. Additionally, do not store in a bathroom or other areas suspectible to high levels of moisture, and be sure to keep out of reach of children and pets.

If you’re going to travel with propranolol, become aware of the regulations of your final destination. In general, consider making a copy of your propranolol prescription.

Also, keep the medication in its original container—with your name on it—from the pharmacy.

Off-Label Uses

Historically, propranolol as an active ingredient has also been used for the following:

Antipsychotic-induced akathisia: Mood medications can potentially cause agitation and restlessness. Although experts state that propranolol is effective for this type of akathisia, more data is necessary.

Performance anxiety: Data from a few studies show that propranolol might lessen performance anxiety.

Postural tachycardia syndrome: In postural tachycardia syndrome, the heart rate rises when moving from lying down to standing up. A few studies suggest that propranolol may help some people with this medical condition. 

Thyrotoxicosis: Thyrotoxicosis can occur because of hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid). People who experience thyrotoxicosis have abnormal labs and physical symptoms due to too much thyroid hormone in the body. Some symptoms include anxiety and feelings of distress. Experts recommend propranolol to treat thyrotoxicosis.

Propranolol is also recommended in people with no symptoms—but are at a higher risk of complications from their overactive thyroid condition.

Lithium-induced tremors: Lithium is a mood-stabilizing medication that is usually used as a treatment option for mental health conditions—like bipolar disorder. Lithium also has a possible side effect of tremors. There is limited data that suggests propranolol might be helpful for people with these tremors.

Variceal hemorrhage prophylaxis: People with cirrhosis (scarring of the liver) tend to have varices (large veins) in the esophagus, which is a tube that carries food and liquids from your mouth to your stomach. Unfortunately, these large veins can rupture and bleed.

Experts recommend nonselective beta-blockers—like propranolol—to prevent this type of bleeding from ever occurring or a future bleed from happening again.

How Long Does Inderal LA Take to Work?

How long Inderal LA takes to work varies by person—but can range from days to weeks.

What Are the Side Effects of Inderal LA?

This is not a complete list of side effects, and others may occur. A healthcare provider can advise you on side effects. If you experience other effects, contact your healthcare provider. You may report side effects to the FDA at fda.gov/medwatch or 800-FDA-1088.

Common Side Effects

Some common side effects of Inderal LA include:

Severe Side Effects

Do not stop taking Inderal LA without talking to your healthcare provider first. If it is stopped suddenly, it may cause chest pain or heart attack in some people.

Get medical help right away if you experience the following serious side effects:

Long-Term Side Effects

Inderal LA can generally be taken for long periods of time without any lasting or harmful side effects.

Report Side Effects

Inderal LA may cause other side effects. Call your healthcare provider if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.

If you experience a serious side effect, you or your healthcare provider may send a report to the FDA's MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting Program or by phone (800-332-1088).

Dosage: How Much Inderal LA Should I Take?

Drug Content Provided and Reviewed by IBM Micromedex®

The dose of this medicine will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label. The following information includes only the average doses of this medicine. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.

The amount of medicine that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. Also, the number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are using the medicine.

  • For acute heart attack:
    • For oral dosage form (solution):
      • Adults—180 to 240 milligrams (mg) per day, given in divided doses.
      • Children—Dose is based on body weight and must be determined by your doctor.
    • For oral dosage form (tablets):
      • Adults—At first, 40 milligrams (mg) three times a day. Your doctor may increase your dose as needed.
      • Children—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.
  • For adrenal gland tumor (pheochromocytoma):
    • For oral dosage form (solution):
      • Adults—60 milligrams (mg) per day, given in divided doses for 3 days before having surgery. In patients who cannot have surgery, the usual dose is 30 mg per day, given in divided doses.
      • Children—Dose is based on body weight and must be determined by your doctor.
    • For oral dosage form (tablets):
      • Adults—60 milligrams (mg) per day, given in divided doses for 3 days before having surgery. In patients who cannot have surgery, the usual dose is 30 mg per day, given in divided doses.
      • Children—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.
  • For chest pain (angina):
    • For oral dosage form (long-acting oral capsules):
      • Adults—At first, 80 milligrams (mg) once a day. Your doctor may increase your dose as needed. The dose is usually not more than 320 mg per day.
      • Children—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.
    • For oral dosage form (solution):
      • Adults—80 to 320 milligrams (mg) per day, given in divided doses.
      • Children—Dose is based on body weight and must be determined by your doctor.
    • For oral dosage form (tablets):
      • Adults—80 to 320 milligrams (mg) per day, given in divided doses.
      • Children—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.
  • For high blood pressure (hypertension):
    • For oral dosage form (extended-release capsules):
      • Adults—At first, 80 milligrams (mg) once a day, given at bedtime. Your doctor may increase your dose as needed. However, the dose is usually not more than 120 mg per day.
      • Children—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.
    • For oral dosage form (long-acting oral capsules):
      • Adults—At first, 80 milligrams (mg) once a day. Your doctor may increase your dose as needed.
      • Children—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.
    • For oral dosage form (solution):
      • Adults—At first, 40 milligrams (mg) two times a day. Your doctor may increase your dose as needed.
      • Children—Dose is based on body weight and must be determined by your doctor.
    • For oral dosage form (tablets):
      • Adults—At first, 40 milligrams (mg) two times a day. Your doctor may increase your dose as needed.
      • Children—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.
  • For hypertrophic subaortic stenosis (thickened heart muscle):
    • For oral dosage form (long-acting oral capsules):
      • Adults—80 to 160 milligrams (mg) once a day.
      • Children—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.
    • For oral dosage form (solution):
      • Adults—20 to 40 milligrams (mg) three or four times a day, given before meals and at bedtime.
      • Children—Dose is based on body weight and must be determined by your doctor.
    • For oral dosage form (tablets):
      • Adults—20 to 40 milligrams (mg) three or four times a day, given before meals and at bedtime.
      • Children—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.
  • For irregular heartbeats:
    • For oral dosage form (solution):
      • Adults—10 to 30 milligrams (mg) three or four times a day, given before meals and at bedtime.
      • Children—Dose is based on body weight and must be determined by your doctor.
    • For oral dosage form (tablets):
      • Adults—10 to 30 milligrams (mg) three or four times a day, given before meals and at bedtime.
      • Children—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.
  • For migraine headaches:
    • For oral dosage form (long-acting oral capsules):
      • Adults—At first, 80 milligrams (mg) once a day. Your doctor may increase your dose as needed. The dose is usually not more than 240 mg per day.
      • Children—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.
    • For oral dosage form (solution):
      • Adults—At first, 80 milligrams (mg) per day, given in divided doses. Your doctor may increase your dose as needed.
      • Children—Dose is based on body weight and must be determined by your doctor.
    • For oral dosage form (tablets):
      • Adults—At first, 80 milligrams (mg) per day, given in divided doses. Your doctor may increase your dose as needed.
      • Children—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.
  • For proliferating infantile hemangioma:
    • For oral dosage form (solution):
      • Children 5 weeks to 5 months of age—Dose is based on your child's body weight and must be determined by the doctor. The starting dose is usually 0.6 milligram (mg) (0.15 milliliters [mL]) per kilogram (kg) of your child's body weight 2 times a day, taken at least 9 hours apart. Give the dose during or immediately after a feeding. Do not administer the dose if the infant is vomiting or not eating. After 1 week, the doctor will increase the dose to 1.1 mg (0.3 mL) per kg of body weight two times a day. After 2 weeks, the doctor will increase the dose to 1.7 mg (0.4 mL) per kg of body weight 2 times a day, taken for 6 months.
      • Children under 5 weeks of age—Use is not recommended.
  • For tremors:
    • For oral dosage form (solution):
      • Adults—At first, 40 milligrams (mg) two times a day. Your doctor may increase your dose as needed.
      • Children—Dose is based on body weight and must be determined by your doctor.
    • For oral dosage form (tablets):
      • Adults—At first, 40 milligrams (mg) two times a day. Your doctor may increase your dose as needed.
      • Children—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.

Modifications

Users should be aware of the following before beginning Inderal LA:

People with angina pectoris: If you have angina, don’t suddenly stop taking propranolol. Abruptly discontinuing this medication can worsen angina symptoms or lead to a heart attack. If you and your healthcare provider ever decide to stop propranolol, your provider will slowly lower your dose over a period of a few weeks.

People with overactive thyroid: If you have an overactive thyroid, suddenly discontinuing propranolol can worsen hyperthyroidism symptoms and result in a thyroid storm, which is a medical emergency.

Don’t abruptly stop taking this medication. If you have any questions or concerns, talk with your healthcare provider first.

Pregnant or nursing parents: There are reports of the following when taking Inderal LA during pregnancy:

  • The slow growth of the unborn baby
  • A small placenta that negatively affects the number of nutrients and oxygen delivered to the unborn baby
  • Abnormal development of the unborn baby

If taken while pregnant, Inderal LA may cause the following in a newborn:

Thus, evaluate the potential risk of Inderal LA use during pregnancy with your healthcare provider.

As for nursing parents who are taking Inderal LA, low amounts of the medication can transfer into breast milk. However, the small amount is unlikely to have negative effects on the nursing baby.

In fact, studies show no Inderal LA-related side effects in nursing babies.

Missed Dose

If you forget to take your dose, take it as soon as you remember.

If it’s close to your next scheduled dose, however, just wait to take the following dose at your next scheduled dosing time. Don’t try to double up and take more than one dose to make up for the missed dose.

If you missed too many doses in a row, you might experience worsening symptoms of your medical condition. Try to find ways to remember to take propranolol every day.

Overdose: What Happens If I Take Too Much Inderal LA?

If you accidentally take too many Inderal LA capsules, you may experience a drastically slow heartbeat. If you believe you have potentially overdosed, seek immediate medical attention.

What Happens If I Overdose on Propranolol?

If you think you or someone else may have overdosed on Inderal LA, call a healthcare provider or the Poison Control Center. (800-222-1222).

If someone collapses or isn’t breathing after taking Inderal LA, call 911.

Precautions

Drug Content Provided and Reviewed by IBM Micromedex®

It is very important that your doctor check your progress at regular visits to make sure this medicine is working properly. Blood tests may be needed to check for unwanted effects. .

Hemangeol® may increase the risk of heart or blood vessel problems (eg, bradycardia, hypotension). Check with your doctor right away if your child has blurred vision, chest pain or discomfort, confusion, lightheadedness, dizziness, or fainting, slow or uneven heartbeat, sweating, trouble breathing, or unusual tiredness or weakness.

This medicine may cause serious allergic reactions, including anaphylaxis, which can be life-threatening and require immediate medical attention. Call your doctor right away if you have a rash, itching, hoarseness, trouble breathing, trouble swallowing, or any swelling of your hands, face, or mouth while you are using this medicine.

Serious skin reactions can occur with this medicine. Check with your doctor right away if you have blistering, peeling, or loose skin, red skin lesions, severe acne or skin rash, sores or ulcers on the skin, or fever or chills while you are using this medicine.

Propranolol may cause heart failure in some patients. Check with your doctor right away if you are having chest pain or discomfort, dilated neck veins, extreme fatigue, irregular breathing, an irregular heartbeat, swelling of the face, fingers, feet, or lower legs, or weight gain.

This medicine may cause changes in your blood sugar levels. Also, this medicine may cover up signs of low blood sugar, including rapid pulse rate. Check with your doctor if you have these problems or if you notice a change in the results of your blood or urine sugar tests. Call your doctor right away if you have anxiety, blurred vision, chills, cold sweats, coma, confusion, cool, pale skin, depression, dizziness, fast heartbeat, headache, increased hunger, nausea, nervousness, nightmares, seizures, shakiness, slurred speech, or unusual tiredness or weakness.

Make sure any doctor or dentist who treats you knows that you are using this medicine. Do not stop taking this medicine before surgery without your doctor's approval.

This medicine may cause some people to become less alert than they are normally. If this side effect occurs, do not drive, use machines, or do anything else that could be dangerous if you are not alert while taking propranolol.

Do not interrupt or suddenly stop taking this medicine without first checking with your doctor. Your doctor may want you to gradually reduce the amount you are taking before stopping it completely. Some conditions may become worse when the medicine is stopped suddenly, which can be dangerous.

Propranolol will add to the effects of alcohol and other central nervous system (CNS) depressants. CNS depressants are medicines that slow down the nervous system and may cause drowsiness. Some examples of CNS depressants are antihistamines or medicine for hay fever, allergies, or colds, sedatives, tranquilizers, or sleeping medicine, prescription pain medicine or narcotics, barbiturates or medicine for seizures, muscle relaxants, or anesthetics, including some dental anesthetics. Check with your doctor before taking any of these medicines while you are using this medicine.

This medicine may increase risk of stroke in PHACE syndrome patients with severe blood vessel problems in the brain. Talk to your child's doctor about this risk.

Make sure any doctor or dentist who treats you knows that you are using this medicine. This medicine may affect the results of certain medical tests.

Some men who use this medicine may cause erectile dysfunction. Check with your doctor right away if you have decreased interest in sexual intercourse, inability to have or keep an erection, or loss in sexual ability, drive, or performance. If you have questions about this, talk to your doctor.

Do not take other medicines unless they have been discussed with your doctor. This includes prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicines and herbal or vitamin supplements.

What Are Reasons I Shouldn't Take Inderal LA?

Avoid taking it if you have any of the following:

  • Bronchial asthma: In people with asthma, taking propranolol can worsen this medical condition and cause an asthma attack.
  • Cardiogenic shock: There are different types of shock, which are all medical emergencies. In cardiogenic shock, your heart isn’t pumping enough to meet your body’s demands.
  • Heart block greater than first-degree block: There are electric signals in the heart to help control your heartbeat. Your heart cannot beat appropriately if these signals are blocked. There are three different types of heart block, with the second-degree and third-degree being more serious.
  • Severe allergic reaction: If you’re allergic to propranolol or any of its components, avoid propranolol.
  • Sinus bradycardia: If you have bradycardia, your heart rate is already very low. Taking propranolol can further slow down your heart.
  • Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome (WPW): People with WPW have an extra electrical pathway that can cause abnormal heart rate and rhythm.

What Other Medications Interact With Inderal LA?

Potential users should be cautious when considering taking the following medications alongside Inderal LA or any drugs that contain propranolol:

  • Alcohol: Mixing alcohol and propranolol may lead to higher amounts of propranolol in the body. High amounts of propranolol raise the risk of side effects.
  • Alpha-blockers: Combining an alpha-blocker medication—like Minipress (prazosin)—with propranolol can raise the likelihood of low blood pressure when moving from laying down to a standing posture.
  • CYP1A2, CYP2C19, CYP2D6-inhibiting medications: Cytochrome P450 is a family of proteins in the liver that break down medications. CYP1A2, CYP2C19, and CYP2D6 are responsible for breaking down propranolol. If you take a medication that prevents these proteins from working as well, then there is a higher chance of side effects due to high amounts of propranolol in the body.
  • Digoxin: Digoxin is a heart medication that can lower your heart rate. Combining digoxin with propranolol will further slow down your heart rate.
  • Diltiazem or verapamil calcium channel blockers: Diltiazem and verapamil are also heart-related medications. Combining one of these medications with propranolol can lead to drastically low heart rate, low blood pressure, and weak heart contractions.
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs): NSAIDs—like Motrin or Advil (ibuprofen)—can lower the effectiveness of propranolol.
  • Propafenone: Propafenone is a heart-related medication that raises the amounts of propranolol in the body. There is a higher risk of side effects when combining propafenone and propranolol.
  • Quinidine: Taking quinidine—another heart-related medication—and propranolol together raises the risk of heart block and dangerously low blood pressure.

There are other possible drug interactions. For more information or answers to your questions about these drug interactions, talk with your healthcare provider.

What Medications Are Similar?

There are many available medications in the beta-blocker medication class.

Out of all the beta-blockers, however, Corgard (nadolol) is probably one of the most similar medications to Inderal LA because they are nonselective beta-blockers. This means that they bind to beta receptors other than the ones in the heart.

Additionally, the FDA has approved both Inderal LA and nadolol for the treatment of high blood pressure and angina. Compared to nadolol, however, the FDA approved Inderal LA for substantially more medical conditions.

Because nadolol and Inderal LA are both defined as beta-blockers, they aren’t typically taken together. If you have any questions, discuss them with your healthcare provider.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Will the side effects associated with Inderal LA ever go away?

    In general, many people experience no side effects with beta-blockers. For some people who do experience side effects, the side effects are mild and go away with time.

    However, if your side effects bother you or don’t go away within a few days, inform your healthcare provider.

  • Why is my heart rate not as high when I exercise?

    Inderal LA lowers your resting heart rate. The medication also affects your heart during exercise.

    Therefore, you will need to adjust your target heart rate and exercise goals.

  • Do I have to take Inderal lA for life?

    For most FDA-approved uses, the medication will typically be taken for long periods of time. If you would like to stop, talk with your healthcare provider.

    Never abruptly stop this medication before having a conversation with your healthcare provider.

How Can I Stay Healthy While Taking Inderal LA?

In general, it’s important to consistently take Inderal LA and other medications for your condition—in addition to making the following lifestyle changes:

As previously mentioned, Inderal LA is used for various medical conditions. Many of these conditions can understandably take a toll on your emotions. 

Take the first step to feeling better by sharing your medical condition with your loved ones.

As they become more aware, they can provide you with necessary support and encouragement—like eating a healthier diet, helping with driving responsibilities during your migraines, and more.

A mental health professional may also help by showing different coping strategies to change the way you feel, act, and think about your medical condition.

Additionally, for angina, migraines, and essential tremors, keeping a journal can help you know the potential triggers for your medical conditions.

Medical Disclaimer

Verywell Health's drug information is meant for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from a healthcare provider. Consult your healthcare provider before taking any new medication(s). IBM Watson Micromedex provides some of the drug content, as indicated on the page.

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By Ross Phan, PharmD, BCACP, BCGP, BCPS
Ross is a writer for Verywell with years of experience practicing pharmacy in various settings. She is also a board-certified clinical pharmacist and the founder of Off Script Consults.