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Propranolol (Inderal, etc.): Headache and Migraine Drug Profiles


Updated: June 2, 2006

propranolol, Inderal

propranolol (Inderal®, etc.)

Type of medication: Rx, beta blocker, antihypertensive. Approved by the FDA for Migraine prevention.

How supplied: tablets, capsules, oral solution.

Important warning: Do not stop taking propranolol without talking to your doctor first. If propranolol is stopped suddenly, it may cause chest pain or heart attack in some people.


  • If you are having surgery or dental surgery, be sure to tell your doctor that you're taking propranolol.
  • May cause drowsiness. Do not drive or operate machinery while taking this medication.
  • Be aware that alcohol can increase the potential of propranolol to cause drowsiness..

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding:

  • FDA pregnancy category C. This means it is not known whether propranolol will harm an unborn baby. Do not take this medication without first talking to your doctor if you are pregnant or could become pregnant during treatment.
  • Ppasses into breast milk but generally has little effect on a nursing infant. Do not take this medication without first talking to your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

Other medical conditions:
Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical issues, especially those listed below.

  • asthma
  • allergies
  • bronchitis
  • emphysema
  • bradycardia
  • diabetes
  • kidney disease
  • liver disease
  • depression
  • myasthenia gravis
  • psoriasis
  • thyroid disease

Other medications:
Be sure to tell your doctor if you are taking any other prescription or over-the-counter medications, especially:

  • allergen immunotherapy (allergy shots)
  • Aminophylline
  • Dyphylline
  • Oxtriphylline
  • Theophylline
  • Oral diabetes medications
  • Insulin
  • Calcium channel blockers
  • Clonidine
  • Guanabenz
  • Monoamine Oxidase (MAO) Inhibitors

Potential side effects:

Check with your doctor right away if any of the following side effects  occur:

  • breathing difficulty and/or wheezing
  • cold hands and feet
  • depression
  • shortness of breath
  • slow heartbeat
  • swelling of ankles, feet, and/or lower legs
  • back pain or joint pain
  • chest pain; confusion
  • dizziness or lightheadedness when getting up from a lying or sitting position
  • fever and sore throat
  • hallucinations
  • irregular heartbeat
  • red, scaling, or crusted skin
  • skin rash
  • unusual bleeding and bruising

Other side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. They may stop as your body adjusts to the medication. However, check with your doctor if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome:

  • decreased sexual ability
  • difficulty sleeping
  • dizziness or lightheadedness
  • drowsiness
  • trouble in sleeping
  • unusual tiredness or weakness
  • anxiety and/or nervousness
  • constipation
  • diarrhea
  • dry, sore eyes
  • itching of skin
  • nausea or vomiting
  • nightmares and vivid dreams
  • numbness and/or tingling of fingers and/or toes
  • stomach discomfort
  • stuffy nose

Brand Names:

  • Inderal
  • Inderal LA
  • Inderide
  • Innopran XL
  • Propranolol Hydrochloride Intensol

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