Can Propranolol cause brain fog? (3+ signs & symptoms of brain fog) 

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Page last updated: 23/09/2022

In this blog post, we are going to answer the question, “Can Propranolol cause brain fog?”. Propranolol is one of the most commonly prescribed beta-blockers which can be used to treat a variety of health conditions. 

However, this medicine can cause a number of side effects including brain fog and confusion. This blog will cover why Propranolol causes this side effect and what could be done to help counteract it. 

Can Propranolol cause brain fog?

Yes, Propranolol can cause brain fog in some individuals. This side is not a common one, but it can severely affect the physiological condition of some people. Several surveys have revealed that beta-blockers can cause clouded judgement and impaired perceptions. 

What are the symptoms associated with brain fog?

Brain fog is associated with a lot of signs and symptoms. Some of these include:

  • Unable to remember small details, like names, phone numbers, addresses etc.
  • Unable to have a sound decision making ability. Such people even take time to think of a good reply. They are literally never sure about anything.
  • Simple tasks seem like a big challenge and they often fail to achieve their daily life goals.
  • They find it extremely difficult to concentrate on things. Such people can’t even perform well at their jobs.
  • Learning a new skill becomes close to impossible for such people. They can’t put in much effort to learn anything new.
  • They find it difficult to respond to different stimuli. They can’t seem to understand humour and often get offended because of this very reason. 

What actual people have experienced so far?

Many people have come forward to share how they have been affected by Propranolol. One user stated:

“I had been taking Propranolol for almost a year when I started noticing my brain getting all foggy. I have always been an extrovert but after a year of taking Propranolol i realised that i cant talk to people as confidently as i did before taking this med.”

The user further stated: 

“It did not end there. I soon started forgetting things. When these things started happening, Propranolol was not in my mind to be the culprit behind myu condition. When it got really bad, I started forgetting my own address on my way back to work almost everyday.”

This is indeed an upsetting situation and as our user here was in his adult ages when this happened is even more alarming. We can imagine how we will just start going crazy if we ourselves forget the most basic things. The user continued:

“That’s when I consulted my doctor who told me that my brain is foggy because of Propranolol. This is when I started tapering this med off and got switched to another med that suited me better. My brain fog disappeared in about a month.”

It’s good to know that he actually got rid of this side effect. Some people are not so lucky and they are so sensitive to meds that they literally end up scarring them for life. Another user stated:

“When I got diagnosed with hypertension, my doctor put me on Propranolol. I was a bit scared at first because I have always been fond of taking meds. However, I did start taking it and all my fears came to life. I soon started forgetting things, found it difficult to interact with people I did not know, and my confidence went out of the window.”

She continued:

“That’s when I told my doctor. She first reduced my dose and told me to wait for a few days. I did exactly what I was told but nothing changed. I continued to feel miserable and sometimes detached from my own body. My doc then put me off it and I got better in just a week.”

It is extremely important that you inform your doctor what you have been going through. It’s a known fact that one med can not suit every single person taking it. Some people are negatively affected by the drugs. 

This is why it is important to make sure that Propranolol is safe to be used in the long term. You should have a positive risk-benefit ratio. If Propranolol does not suit you, you will be switched to a new medication, either another beta-blocker or some other class of cardiac drugs.

What could be done if you suffer from Propranolol induced brain fog?

If you suffer from Propranolol induced brain fog, the first thing you need to do is to talk to your healthcare provider. Your doctor will determine if the continuation of treatment with Propranolol is safe or not. 

If it’s not, you will be switched to another medication. However, there are some good lifestyle changes you can try to help your cognition get better. The most important approach is to get a good night’s sleep. 

Can Propranolol cause brain fog? (3+ signs & symptoms of brain fog) 

There are a few important points that should be followed in order to get good sleep hygiene. These are:

  • Do not eat heavy meals before going to bed. Eating heavy meals before bedtime can make it even more difficult for you to fall asleep. Make sure you eat at least 3 to 4 hours before bedtime and your stomach should be empty when you get to bed. 
  • Do not use smart gadgets. They can mess up with the entire functioning of melatonin receptors. When you use smart gadgets, the light emitting from them can be misjudged as sunlight by your melatonin receptors and instead of making you sleepy, they send signals to your brain to increase your alertness. 
  • Do not drink coffee before bedtime. Caffeine has a half-life of about 6 hours, but it can stay active in some people for much longer than that. This is exactly why it is not recommended to drink coffee after 3-4pm.
  • Do not do vigorous exercise before bedtime. It is absolutely okay to do some yoga or stretching to relax your muscles before you go to bed, but it is not recommended to do vigorous exercise before bedtime.

Also make sure that you take a good diet. Drink plenty of water and make exercise a compulsory part of your routine. Exercise increases your mental alertness and helps make your cognition better.

What can you do to improve your cognitive functions?

Following are a few tips to help improve your cognitive functions:

  • Always remember to take it easy on yourself. Do not put any pressure on your mind. Take it slow
  • Divide your tasks. You can do some now and save others for later.
  • Identify your trigger factors. If a certain type of activity, talking to someone specific, eating a certain kind of food or reading about something brings out an unusual reaction or confuses you, it’s best to avoid it. 
  • Make sure you remain close to people who genuinely support you, teach you new things, understand you, and need you with positivity. Always look at the brighter side.
  • Organise your things in such a way that you don’t find it difficult to locate them. Have separation portions for separate things and label them.
  • If you have something important coming up, set a reminder or mark your calendar to help you remember it. 
  • Engage in relaxing exercises like yoga and meditation. Such activities release happy chemicals in your brain that only elevate your mood, but also increase your alertness and help with your impaired perception. 
  • Read your favourite books. They can be your best friends too.
  • Play memory boosting games or games which need brainstorming, like chess. This can also help you with your decision making ability. 

What other medications can cause brain fog?

Some meds other than Propranolol can also cause brain fog. Some of them include:

  • Anti-anxiety drugs, including Clonazepam, Alprazolam, Diazepam, Lorazepam etc.
  • Cholesterol lowering agents or Statins, including Simvastatin, Atorvastatin, Rosuvastatin, Lovastatin, Fluvastatin etc
  • Anticonvulsants or anti-seizure drugs, including Valproic acid, Carbamazepine, Acetazolamide, Gabapentin, Pregabalin, etc
  • Narcotic analgesics, including Morphine, Hydrocodone, Oxycodone, Hydromorphone, Fentanyl etc. 
  • Drugs used to treat Parkinson’s, including Pramipexole, Apomorphine, Ropinirole etc. 

Conclusion

In this blog post, we have discussed Propranolol induced brain fog. This side is not a common one, but it can severely affect the physiological condition of some people. Several surveys have revealed that beta-blockers can cause clouded judgement and impaired perceptions. 

This is indeed an upsetting side effect and you should definitely consult your healthcare provider if that happens. Make sure you don’t stop talking Propranolol abruptly. Sudden withdrawal can lead to disturbing side effects. 

If it is necessary for you to stop taking Propranolol then your doctor will assign a proper taper schedule in order to ensure safe withdrawal. Always make sure you stick to your doctor’s recommendations. 

FAQs:  propranolol brain fog

Can beta blockers cause brain fog?

Yes, Propranolol can cause brain fog in some individuals. This side is not a common one, but it can severely affect the physiological condition of some people. Several surveys have revealed that beta-blockers can cause clouded judgement and impaired perceptions. 

Does propranolol affect the brain?

Yes, Propranolol does affect your brain. It is associated with some psychological side effects including insomnia, brain fog, confusion, agitation etc. However, these side effects can vary from person to person. Some people may not develop any psychological side effects at all, while others may be affected severely. Make sure you monitor your side effects and report them to your healthcare provider. 

Does propranolol make you lose your memory?

Yes, Propranolol can cause loss of memory. It can even affect your cognition and motor coordination. Make sure you consult your healthcare provider as soon as you can if you begin to notice psychological side effects while being treated with Propranolol. 

Does propranolol help you relax?

Yes, Propranolol does help you feel relaxed. It can be used as an anti-anxiety medication and help calm you down to some extent. Studies have shown that Propranolol does possess some anxiolytic properties and it can control the excessive neuronal firing in your brain. However, there are other, better anti-anxiety meds available to treat your anxiety other than Propranolol. 

How to make your cognition better? 

  • Always remember to take it easy on yourself. Do not put any pressure on your mind. Take it slow
  • Divide your tasks. You can do some now and save others for later.
  • Identify your trigger factors. 
  • Organise your things in such a way that you don’t find it difficult to locate them.
  • If you have something important coming up, set a reminder or mark your calendar to help you remember it. 
  • Engage in relaxing exercises like yoga and meditation.
  • Play memory boosting games or games which need brainstorming, like chess. This can also help you with your decision making ability.

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