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Propranolol vs. Hydroxyzine—What’s the Difference?

Propranolol vs. Hydroxyzine—What’s the Difference?

In the hustle and bustle of our modern lives, a good night’s sleep often feels like an elusive dream. The relentless tick-tock of the clock, the ceaseless thoughts racing through our minds, and the unyielding grip of anxiety can turn the peaceful realm of slumber into an unattainable goal. It’s a story familiar to many—a tale of restless nights, weary eyes, and the unquenchable longing for respite.

If sleeplessness becomes a chronic issue, your doctor may recommend a sleep medication to help you get the rest you need. Propranolol and hydroxyzine are two common medications that can help with sleep issues. In this article, we’ll explore propranolol vs. hydroxyzine, comparing their unique properties, applications, and potential side effects to shed light on which one might be more suitable for improving your sleep quality.

How Does Propranolol Work?

Propranolol is a type of medication known as a beta-blocker. Beta-blockers work by blocking beta receptors, which are found throughout the body and respond to hormones like adrenaline. When adrenaline binds to beta receptors, it causes effects like increased heart rate, elevated blood pressure, and increased blood sugar levels, which enhance wakefulness. By blocking beta receptors, propranolol prevents this outcome and produces a calming effect, helping you fall asleep.

Because of its calming properties, propranolol is often used to treat conditions that involve a fast or irregular heartbeat, like atrial fibrillation, high blood pressure, heart palpitations, and anxiety. Propranolol also helps reduce tremors for people with conditions like essential tremor and Parkinson’s disease.

Who Can Use Propranolol?

Your doctor may prescribe propranolol to treat various medical conditions. Its primary uses include:

Medical Condition



Propranolol is often prescribed to lower blood pressure in patients with hypertension, helping reduce the risk of heart-related problems and stroke


Angina is chest pain or discomfort caused by reduced blood flow to the heart muscle. Propranolol alleviates angina symptoms and prevents further attacks


Propranolol is sometimes prescribed as a preventive treatment for migraines, helping reduce the frequency and severity of migraine attacks

Essential tremor

Propranolol is used to manage essential tremor, a neurological disorder characterized by uncontrollable shaking of the hands, head, or other body parts

Anxiety and panic disorder

Propranolol can be prescribed to those dealing with anxiety disorders, particularly for performance anxiety (stage fright) or social anxiety

Although propranolol isn’t primarily used to treat sleep issues, its calming and heart rate-reducing effects can lead to drowsiness, helping you fall asleep faster.

How To Take Propranolol

Propranolol is available in various forms, so you can choose one according to your medical needs. These include intravenous solution, oral capsule, oral solution, and oral tablets. The tablets are available in a range of doses, including:

  1. 10 mg
  2. 20 mg
  3. 40 mg
  4. 60 mg
  5. 80 mg

Your doctor will determine the right dose for you based on your specific medical condition and individual factors. No matter your dose, doctors usually recommend taking propranolol before meals and at bedtime. This dosing schedule helps ensure that your body effectively absorbs and distributes the medication while minimizing potential side effects related to food intake.

Side Effects of Propranolol

Source: Kampus Production

Common side effects of propranolol may include:

  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Reduced exercise tolerance
  • Gastrointestinal issues
  • Depression
  • Nausea
  • Hallucinations
  • Allergic reactions

Most side effects are mild and decrease over time, but be sure to report any severe or concerning symptoms to your healthcare provider right away.

How Does Hydroxyzine Work?

Hydroxyzine is an antihistamine medication that primarily works by blocking the effects of histamine in the brain. Histamine is a natural substance produced by the body in response to various triggers, such as allergies or stress. It plays an important role in several bodily functions, including regulating wakefulness, alertness, and your body’s response to allergens.

Hydroxyzine’s mechanism of action involves binding to and blocking histamine receptors in the brain, specifically the H1 receptors. By doing so, it inhibits the wakeful effects of histamine, making it a valuable tool for helping you treat insomnia or regulate sleep.

Source: Polina Kovaleva

Who Can Use Hydroxyzine?

Hydroxyzine is a prescription medication used to relieve symptoms of anxiety and tension. It can be used as needed or on a regular basis by adults and children to treat:

  • Anxiety and anxiety disorders
  • Insomnia
  • Allergy and itching
  • Dermatological conditions
  • Help individuals relax before medical procedures

How To Use Hydroxyzine

Hydroxyzine is available in various forms to suit different medical needs, including intramuscular solutions, oral capsules, oral syrup, and oral tablets. The tablets come in several strengths, including:

  1. 10 mg
  2. 25 mg
  3. 50 mg
  4. 100 mg

Your choice of dosage and formulation will depend on your specific medical condition and your doctor’s recommendations. While hydroxyzine is an effective treatment for anxiety, allergies, and sleep disturbances, you shouldn’t use it long-term to avoid the risk of reduced effectiveness over time.

If you’re using hydroxyzine to aid sleep, it’s advisable to take it when you’re preparing for bedtime because it takes effect within 15–30 minutes—right when you’re ready to sleep. Once you take it, you should plan to sleep for at least seven hours.

Side Effects of Hydroxyzine

Like many medications, hydroxyzine can cause side effects in some people. It’s essential to be aware of the side effects and consult a healthcare provider if you experience any of them. Common side effects of hydroxyzine may include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Dry mouth
  • Constipation
  • Blurred vision
  • Headache
  • Skin rashes

Taking hydroxyzine with other drugs that have sedative effects can intensify drowsiness and central nervous system depression, so you should consult your healthcare provider before combining hydroxyzine with medications that may increase sleepiness. These include:

  • Sleeping pills
  • Narcotic pain relievers
  • Muscle relaxants
  • Medications used for treating anxiety, depression, or seizures

Your doctor can assess potential interactions, adjust dosages, or recommend alternative treatments to ensure optimal results and your safety. Never mix medications without proper medical guidance, as interactions can lead to adverse effects or reduced effectiveness of the drugs involved.

Propranolol vs. Hydroxyzine—Key Facts

Here’s a table summarizing key facts about propranolol and hydroxyzine:




Drug class



Primary use

Hypertension, anxiety, migraines

Anxiety, allergies, insomnia

Mechanism of action

Blocks beta-adrenergic receptors

Blocks histamine H1 receptors in the brain

Sedative effects


Moderate to strong

Common side effects

Fatigue, dizziness, cold extremities, reduced exercise tolerance

Drowsiness, dry mouth, dizziness, blurred vision

Brand names


Hemangeol, Inderal LA, Inderal XL, InnoPran XL

Dosage types

Oral tablets, capsules, intravenous solution, oral solution

Oral tablets, capsules, oral syrup, intramuscular solution

Dosage range

10 mg to 80 mg (varies by formulation)

10 mg, 25 mg, 50 mg, 100 mg (tablets)

Interaction caution

Caution with certain heart and blood pressure medications

Caution when combining with other sedatives or CNS depressants

FDA classification

Not a controlled drug

Not a controlled drug




Hydroxyzine vs. Propranolol—Which One Should You Use?

If you’re having sleeping problems, it’s important to approach your treatment with a comprehensive perspective. Before turning to medication, consider cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I), a highly effective non-pharmacological approach for improving sleep. 

However, if CBT-I doesn’t provide the relief you desire, you may explore medication options. In that case, your choice between hydroxyzine and propranolol will depend on your specific needs.

If anxiety is a significant factor contributing to your sleep difficulties, hydroxyzine’s anxiolytic and sedative effects might make this medication more suitable for you. Propranolol may be a better choice if your sleep issues are linked to symptoms like rapid heart rate, panic disorder, or essential tremor.

Source: Miriam Alonso

Ultimately, you should make your decision in consultation with your doctor, who can assess your circumstances and guide you toward the most effective treatment option for your sleep concerns.

If you’re looking for an innovative and holistic approach that combines professional guidance with technology to improve sleep, consider Kick—a comprehensive solution that gives you the expertise of healthcare professionals for a more personalized and effective approach to sleep management.

Kick—Expert-Driven Treatment for Your Sleep Needs

In the United States, the shortage of psychiatrists and sleep doctors can pose a significant challenge if you’re looking for specialized care for sleep-related issues. Recognizing this issue, Kick has taken an innovative approach to bridge the gap and provide accessible and expert-driven solutions. Our program is designed to be swift and hassle-free, eliminating the need for frequent doctor visits. Instead, you can expect a streamlined process that promptly addresses your sleep concerns.

We recognize that one size doesn’t fit all when it comes to sleep medication. Kick provides you with not one but two trial medications carefully prescribed based on your specific case, ensuring that your treatment is tailored to your needs. Your entire journey with Kick is under the watchful eye of our sleep experts—if your initial treatment doesn’t yield the desired results, we’re ready to make prompt adjustments. You’ll also have access to Kick’s experts for valuable tips and guidance on healthy sleep practices, ensuring a holistic approach to improving your sleep quality.

Kick’s convenient delivery system ensures that you have easy access to your prescribed medications—you can pick them up at your local pharmacy or have them delivered right to your doorstep. If our program isn’t the right fit for you, rest assured that your consultations won’t be billed as part of our Doctor Guarantee. With outstanding Trustpilot reviews, Kick has established a well-documented history of consistently exceptional performance.

Source: Andrea Piacquadio

Start Celebrating Your Mornings With Kick

Your nights don’t have to be a nightmare anymore—with Kick’s straightforward registration process, you can get personalized sleep help in no time. Here’s how to get started:

  1. Start your sleep visit by going to Kick’s signup page
  2. Fill out a form that gathers your medical history and relevant information about your condition
  3. Choose whether you want the mail-order option or to pick up your medication from a local pharmacy
  4. Provide shipping and payment information

Within 24 hours, our doctors will review your information and decide on the best treatment option for you. If they require more information, our team will contact you via a secure message, allowing you to provide additional details directly through the Kick platform.

Ready to take control of your sleep and well-being? Join Kick today and experience personalized, expert-guided sleep solutions.

 Featured image source: Andrea Piacquadio