Can you use Propranolol for Benzodiazepine withdrawal? (3 satisfying reviews)

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Page last updated: 1/08/2022

In this blog post, we are going to answer the question, “Can you use Propranolol for Benzodiazepine withdrawal?”. Propranolol is one of the most commonly prescribed beta-blockers which can be used for a number of health conditions.

It can also be used for Benzodiazepine withdrawal and that’s what we are going to talk about in this article. 

Can you use Propranolol for Benzodiazepine withdrawal?

Yes, you can use Propranolol for Benzodiazepine withdrawal, but only if prescribed by your healthcare provider. Propranolol is a beta-blocker or a beta-adrenergic blocker that can be used to counteract the effects of adrenaline. Benzodiazepines are anti-anxiety meds that are capable of causing an addiction. 

Propranolol has shown some satisfactory results in the management of benzo withdrawal symptoms. Some of these symptoms include:

  • Rebound anxiety 
  • Insomnia
  • Heart palpitations 
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness 
  • Irritability 
  • Arrhythmia 
  • Blackouts 
  • Loss of appetite 

What does research suggest? 

Several research studies were focused on the effects of Propranolol on a person undergoing Benzodiazepine withdrawal. A 2003 study indicated that Propranolol can indeed be used to counteract some of the withdrawal symptoms associated with benzo withdrawal. 

However, it did not prevent the occurrence of benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms, but it did decrease the intensity of these symptoms. It can help patients feel much less worse than they usually do while cutting off benzodiazepines. 

Another research study indicated that benzodiazepine withdrawal can be responsible for nerve-racking anxiety rebound. This withdrawal symptom is enough to break havoc on people’s mental health and can significantly affect the quality of their life. 

For this purpose, Propranolol has been advised. This is because Propranolol can also be used as an anti-anxiety medication and it really helps calm you down. 

Benzodiazepines actually mimic the actions of gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA), which is an inhibitory neurotransmitter. This is how these meds control your anxiety. They also cause muscle relaxation that can really help you fall asleep. 

For this very reason, benzodiazepines can be used for the treatment of insomnia. All benefits aside, the biggest drawback of benzodiazepine use is the ability of these agents to cause an addiction. 

Short acting benzodiazepines are more likely to cause an addiction because of their rapid onset of action, but shorter duration of action. Benzodiazepines like Alprazolam, Lorazepam etc can start working in just under 30 minutes. 

However, the effects don’t last very long. In 8 to 10 hours, you again start to feel anxious and this is when people start taking more than they are supposed to. 

One extra dose leads to another and soon they begin to become addicted to benzodiazepines. This addiction becomes a problem and when you stop taking benzodiazepines, withdrawal symptoms affect you. 

Can you use Propranolol for Benzodiazepine withdrawal? (3 satisfying reviews)

How does Propranolol work to counteract Benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms? 

Propranolol is a beta-blocker or a beta-adrenergic blocker. It works by counteracting the effects of adrenaline or epinephrine, which is an important chemical and a major part of the excitatory system in our brain. 

This chemical increases blood pressure, heart rate, and anxiety, all of which can be controlled by Propranolol. As we have discussed, benzodiazepines are anti-anxiety meds. 

Those agents also decrease the excessive neuronal firing in the brain to tone down the actions of excitatory chemicals, like adrenaline. When you stop taking benzodiazepines, you begin to get overwhelmed with an excess of excitatory action in your brain because now you don’t have a benzodiazepine in your system to control that. 

This results in anxiety, elevated blood pressure, arrhythmia, heart palpitations, and an overall increased heart rate. These symptoms can be counteracted by the use of Propranolol. However, it is not recommended to stop using benzodiazepines or start using Propranolol without your doctor’s approval. 

For safe benzodiazepine withdrawal, your doctor will simply determine the most suitable taper schedule for you, according to the duration of your treatment, your benzodiazepine dose, and the severity of addiction. This is not something that you can decide on your own, so don’t try to. 

What actual people have experienced so far? 

Many people have come forward and discussed how Propranolol helped them to overcome their benzodiazepine addiction. One user stated:

“I had suffered terribly from benzo withdrawal. I started taking Alprazolam around 10 years ago because my anxiety got the best of me. My first days were pretty good and I did not experience any unbearable side effects from it. My doctor increased my dose twice in the course of my treatment, but I still somehow got addicted to it.”

The user further stated:

“It all started when my husband and I had a fight. I took twice the dose because I wanted to spend the entire day sleeping. This started to become a habit and it turned into a nightmare pretty soon. When I told my doc about this, he started to taper Alprazolam off. That’s when my life turned upside down.”

It is indeed upsetting how people start misusing their meds. This can be easily characterised as self harm and there can never be a logical justification for such an act. 

No matter how mad you get at someone, or how bad you feel, misusing drugs will only affect you and no one else. You are the one who will pay the price. The user continued:

“That’s when my doctor prescribed me Propranolol. This med helped me overcome my addiction and really helped tone down my anxiety. It also reduced my heart rate that used to be incredibly fast. I literally felt like my heart would just jump out of my chest, but Propranolol helped overcome that. I’m now completely free from benzodiazepines and I’m healthier than before.”

This is indeed satisfying to see that she actually got better. It is extremely important to use your meds carefully. Overusing or misusing your meds will only cause more problems for you and it won’t ever help you in any way. Another user stated:

“I can’t help but say that Propranolol can be a real lifesaver when used for benzo withdrawal. I still remember how I suffered from anxiety. I was jobless at that moment and was really struggling with my finances. It got really bad that I started having unbearable anxiety attacks and that’s when I consulted my healthcare practitioner.”

The user further stated:

” My doc put me on Lorazepam. It really helped calm down my anxiety. There came a point when it kind of lost its effectiveness so my doc increased the dose and it kind of started working again. I used Lorazepam for like 5 months and that’s when I got a job.”

She continued:

“I got so busy that my lifestyle literally changed in just a week. This made me totally forget about taking Lorazepam and that’s when my nightmare began. My symptoms got all over the place and that’s when I realised I was missing out on something. I took Lorazepam right away and went to bed hoping that it’ll fix my problems now. But boy, I was wrong.”

I can already tell what must have gone wrong with this user here. Benzodiazepines are not that easy when it comes to missing a dose and you can’t just expect it to do wonders for you if you simply restart taking it. The user continued:

“My work usually starts at 8am and I still remember waking up at 2pm after I took Lorazepam after almost a week. I missed work and it was really embarrassing as it was still a new job. This made me go to my healthcare provider who started cutting Lorazepam off and prescribed me Propranolol. This med did wonders for me and I went back to my normal self.”

This is indeed a good review and it’s nice to know after a lot of struggle, both physically and mentally, she finally got her happy ending. Once again, never misuse your meds. They are not supposed to be a normal part of your routine. 

They should only be used temporarily and must be stopped once they are no longer needed. If you continue to seek unnecessary help from meds and don’t let your body perform on its own, your body will eventually become dependent on the med and will not be able to perform that specific function on its own. Don’t let that happen. Meds are not candies, don’t eat them like that. 

Conclusion 

In this blog post, we have discussed the safety and efficacy of Propranolol for the management of benzodiazepine withdrawal syndrome. Propranolol is a beta-blocker or a beta-adrenergic blocker that can be used to counteract the effects of adrenaline. 

Benzodiazepines are anti-anxiety meds that are capable of causing an addiction. Propranolol has shown some satisfactory results in the management of benzo withdrawal symptoms. 

Make sure you use benzodiazepines as directed by your healthcare provider. Do not take any more than that. If you need to stop taking these meds, for some reason, reach out to your healthcare provider. Do not stop it abruptly. 

FAQs: propranolol for benzo withdrawal 

Can I take propranolol with benzodiazepine?

Yes, you can take propranolol with benzodiazepines, but only if advised by your healthcare provider. This combination does hold some clinical importance and many researchers have investigated the safety and efficacy of the concomitant use of propranolol and antianxiety meds, most commonly benzodiazepines.

How can benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms be avoided?

Benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms can be avoided by gently tapering the medication off. Abrupt withdrawal is responsible for nerve-racking withdrawal symptoms. A proper taper schedule can not guarantee a symptom free withdrawal, but it can definitely reduce the intensity of the withdrawal symptoms and you may find them easier to manage. However, you can also try changing your lifestyle a bit. 

Can you get withdrawal symptoms from propranolol?

Yes, you can get withdrawal symptoms from Propranolol. It is one of those beta-blockers which can cause disturbing symptoms upon abrupt withdrawal. Some of the symptoms include:

  • Abnormally high blood pressure
  • Worsen angina
  • Chest pain
  • Increased risk of myocardial infarction (heart attack)
  • Severe lightheadedness
  • Irritability 
  • Anxiety and agitation 

How long does it take for the brain to recover from benzo?

Benzodiazepines cause different withdrawal symptoms with different intensities. It typically takes a few days to completely wash out a benzodiazepine from your system. However, the withdrawal symptoms may stick much, much longer than that. They can even last months. 

What medications should not be taken with propranolol?

Propranolol should not be taken with other beta blockers or any other drug that can reduce blood pressure or workload of your heart rate. The additive effects can dangerously slow down your circulatory system and give rise to a number of complications. 

References 

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