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Side Effects of Propranolol (Inderal)


Description: Propranolol, also known under a number of trade names such as Inderal, InnoPran, and Hemangeol, is a type of medication called a beta blocker. The drug is commonly used in the treatment of hypertension (high blood pressure) although it can also be used to treat migraines and prevent heart problems in those suffering from angina.

Serious Inderal Side Effects

Serious side effects of propanolol which require emergency treatment include:

  • Hallucinations
  • Psychosis
  • Mood changes
  • Memory loss
  • Renal insufficiency (inadequate blood perfusion of the kidneys)
  • Seizures
  • Cardiac arrhythmia

Common Inderal Side Effects

Common side effects of Inderal include:

  • Hypotension (low blood pressure)
  • Cold extremities
  • Fatigue
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Agitation
  • Irritability
  • Dizziness
  • Paresthesia (pins and needles)
  • Dyspnea (difficulty breathing)
  • Bronchospasm (fasciculations of the bronchus)
  • Hypoglycemia (low blood glucose levels)
  • Anorexia
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Flatulence (excessive gas)
  • Decreased appetite
  • Depression
  • Confusion
  • Contact dermatitis (rash from contact with irritants like clothes watches etc)
  • Dry eyes
  • Visual disturbances

(Inderal drug label, FDA reporting)

Know Your Risk for Side Effects with the Rxight® Program

Propranolol is a widely prescribed medication that is generally well tolerated by patients. However, a proportion of patients will suffer adverse reactions. This inter-patient variability may be the result of variability between different patient’s genetics. Rxight® genetic testing identifies more than 60 alleles on 18 genes to establish how a patient will respond to more than 200 clinically relevant drugs (including Inderal). That way, you and your prescriber can decide if Inderal is safe for you before you even begin treatment, and determine the most effective dose based on your individual genetics.

How Does Pharmacogenetic Testing Work?

Individual variation in the genes coding for enzymes that metabolize Inderal may increase the probability of developing side effects. Propranolol is metabolized by the family of enzymes in the liver. Individual difference in the enzyme named “CYP2D6” could have drastic effects on how the drug is processed and absorbed into the body. (Pharmacotherapy “Pharmacogenetics of Beta-Blockers” Jun 2007) Establishing how effectively a patient metabolizes a medication through PGx testing thus guides the prescriber in adjusting the dose of the drug – potentially reducing side effects in that patient – rather than relying on the traditional and potentially deleterious trial-and-error approach that is still practiced by many prescribers in the absence of genetic testing.


Contributors to this Article:
Michael Sapko, MD, PhD; Deborah Kallick, PhD, Medicinal Chemistry

Read more about Rxight® drug metabolism testing