Beta-Blocker FAQ

Who Shouldn’t Use Beta-Blockers?

By April 8, 2019 No Comments

Though beta-blockers are widely considered to be a safe medication commonly prescribed by doctors, they aren’t right for everyone.

When considering a propranolol prescription, it’s important to let your doctor know if you have a history with or are currently experiencing any of the following:

  • Asthma, bronchospasm, or other breathing problems
  • Cardiogenic shock
  • Slower than normal heart rate
  • Raynaud’s syndrome or other peripheral artery diseases
  • Diabetes
  • Abnormal blood pressure levels
  • Asthma
  • Diabetes
  • Bradycardia (lower than normal heart rate)
  • Heart failure
  • Heart block
  • Severe chest pain
  • Hyperactive thyroid
  • Glaucoma
  • Chronic bronchitis or emphysema
  • Breastfeeding
  • Pregnant
  • Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome or other heart arrhythmias

Even with these conditions, it may still be possible for you to take beta-blockers. Your doctor can help decide if Propranolol is right for you.

What Medications Shouldn’t Be Taken with Beta-Blockers?

While propranolol is safe to take with many other medications, there are some it should not be taken with.

Be sure to let your doctor know if you’re currently taking any of the following medications:

  • Blood pressure drugs, such as:
    • Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme (ACE) Inhibitors
    • Other Beta-blockers
    • Alpha-blockers
  • Anesthetics (Drugs that block sensation), such as:
    • Lidocaine
    • Mepivacaine
    • Dobutamine
  • Drugs used to increase heart rate and blood pressure, such as:
    • Epinephrine
    • Isoproterenol
    • Dobutamine
  • Asthma drugs, such as theophylline.
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
  • Blood-thinning drugs, such as warfarin
  • Drugs for stomach ulcers, such as cimetidine
  • Antacids with aluminum hydroxide

If you’re unsure if Propranolol is safe to take with any medications, supplements, or vitamins you’re currently taking, be sure to ask your doctor.

What are the Potential Side Effects of Beta-Blockers?

Most people who take beta-blockers do not experience side effects; however, just as with any other medication, some side effects are possible.

These can include:

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

Be sure to take your propranolol prescription according to your doctor’s instructions to minimize your risk of experiencing any side effects.

If the above or any of the other side effects listed in the manufacturer’s pamphlet happen to you, please stop the medicine and call your doctor.

If you experience any emergency side effects such as an allergic reaction, breathing problems, changes in blood sugar, cold hands or feet, or any other emergency side effects listed in the manufacturer’s packet, call 911 or seek immediate in-person medical help.

Have more questions about beta-blockers and performance anxiety?

Connect with a board-certified doctor now to see if a beta-blocker prescription is right for you.

dr. alex dimitriu

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.

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