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What Are the Side Effects of Propranolol?

What Are the Side Effects of Propranolol?

Propranolol, a type of beta-blocker, is generally considered to be a safe medication.

However, beta-blockers can cause some side effects, including:

  • Slower heart rate
  • Diarrhea
  • Dry eyes
  • Hair loss
  • Nausea
  • Weakness or tiredness

If you experience any of these or any of the other side effects listed on the manufacturer’s pamphlet included with your prescription, please stop taking the medication and contact your doctor.

Though rare, propranolol can also cause more serious and potentially life-threatening side effects, including:

  • Allergic reactions (skin rash; itching; hives; swelling of your face, lips or tongue)
  • Breathing problems
  • Changes in blood sugar
  • Cold hands or feet
  • Nightmares or trouble sleeping
  • Dry, peeling skin
  • Hallucinations
  • Muscle cramps or weakness
  • Slow heart rate
  • Swelling of your legs or ankles
  • Sudden weight gain
  • Vomiting
  • Dizziness, light-headedness, or loss of consciousness

If you experience any of these, call 911 or seek immediate help in person.

How Should Propranolol Be Used for Performance Anxiety?

Our doctors recommend taking one 10mg tablet one hour beforehand.

When used for performance anxiety, beta-blockers should be taken on an as-needed basis. Our doctors do not advise taking them on a daily basis.

Taking propranolol every day can increase your likelihood of experiencing side effects and should never be done unless under the direction of your doctor.  

Be sure to read fully through your treatment plan that includes your doctor’s recommendations, instructions, as well as the benefits and any potential risks that have been specifically tailored to your needs.

Start an online visit with one of Kick’s licensed doctors to learn if a propranolol prescription is right for you.

Reviewed by Dr. Alex Dimitriu

Dr. Alex Dimitriu is a Stanford-trained physician with dual board certification in psychiatry and sleep medicine. The included content is not intended to replace medical advice. Always be sure to discuss any prescription medications with your doctor.