How long does propranolol stay in your system? (3 factors that can affect the stay time)

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In this blog post, we are going to discuss how long Propranolol stays in your system. Propranolol is one of the most commonly prescribed medications to manage high blood pressure and heart rate. It can also be used for several other reasons. This blog will also cover some basic points about Propranolol. 

How long does propranolol stay in your system? 

Propranolol usually stays in your system for about a day or two. Propranolol has a half-life of about 3-6 hours, which means that the concentration of the drug is reduced to half after this time period. 

The remaining concentration is then further reduced to half after the next 3 to 6 hours. This process keeps on going until Propranolol is completely removed from your system. 

What factors can affect the stay time of Propranolol in your body? 

There are some factors that can make Propranolol stay for a longer period of time in your body. These factors include:

  • Gastric emptying rate
  • Some underlying health condition 
  • Age

Gastric emptying rate

Gastric emptying rate can significantly affect the stay time of Propranolol or any other medication in your system. If your gastric rate is increased for some reason, the medication will not remain in your stomach long enough to be absorbed properly. 

This way most of the drug is eliminated from your body in an unchanged form and the bioavailability of the drug is reduced in your blood. This results in insufficient therapeutic outcome. 

If your gastric emptying rate is decreased, the drug remains in your stomach for a longer period of time. This means that the high amount of drug gets absorbed in your system and it may give you more pronounced effects. 

Some underlying health conditions

Some underlying or undiagnosed health conditions can affect the stay time of Propranolol in your system. Most drugs, when taken orally, undergo first pass metabolism in the liver in which liver enzymes metabolise the drug and convert it into its inactive metabolites. 

These metabolites are then eliminated via urine. Some drugs are also eliminated unchanged through urinary excretion. However, if there is some disease that affects liver or kidney function, the entire process of drug metabolism and excretion is delayed. 

Under such circumstances, Propranolol may stay in your system for much longer than a day or two. As long as the drug stays, it somehow keeps affecting your body. This is exactly why most healthcare providers adjust the dose of meds for people who either have renal or hepatic insufficiency. 

Age

Age is also an important factor that can affect the stay time of Propranolol in your system. When we grow old, all of our physiological systems grow old with us. This means that our organs don’t work as well as they used to when we are in our adult ages. 

This is why the doses of meds for geriatric population are also adjusted to make sure they won’t suffer from drug toxicity, as meds tend to stay longer in elderly people. Such people also have compromised liver and kidney function which can also affect the stay time of Propranolol. 

What is the clinical significance of Propranolol? 

Propranolol is a beta blockers or beta-adrenergic blocker. It is a drug which blocks beta receptors present in the heart and lungs and inhibits the effects of adrenaline, also known as epinephrine. 

It can also dilate blood vessels and decrease the workload of the heart. Propranolol can be used for the treatment of following health conditions:

Cardiovascular diseases

Propranolol are well known for its benefits in patients suffering from different cardiovascular diseases including:

  • High blood pressure 
  • Angina pectoris
  • Management of congestive heart failure 
  • Arrhythmia or irregular heart beat
  • Myocardial infarction 
  • Tachycardia 
  • Coronary artery diseases 

Glaucoma

Propranolol is given in the form of eye drops to help release some pressure by causing vasodilation. Glaucoma is an ocular disease which is associated with increased intraocular pressure. If left untreated, it may cause blindness.

Migraine

Propranolol can also be used as part of a first line treatment regimen to help relieve the painful symptoms of migraine. Various studies have revealed that Propranolol can significantly reduce the frequency of migraine attacks and the severity of headache.

Anxiety 

Propranolol can be used to help relieve the physical symptoms of anxiety by blocking stress hormones, but this is considered an off-label use and is not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) yet. 

Researchers are still weighing its pros and cons to be officially used as an anxiolytic. 

Essential tremors

Propranolol can also be used to treat tremors. It is medically approved to treat tremors. Studies show that people have actually gained relief from tremors after using Propranolol but it still can not provide complete relief. 

It can be taken once or twice a day, as suggested by your healthcare professional. 

Propranolol may also be used for some other reasons which are not mentioned here. One important thing to bear in mind is that this is a prescription medication and it should not be used without your doctor’s recommendation. 

Improper and unnecessary use of medications lead to a lot of nerve-racking complications. It is also not recommended to stop using Propranolol without your doctor’s approval. It may subject you to disturbing withdrawal symptoms. 

What kind of warnings have been issued related to the use of Propranolol?

Propranolol comes with the following warnings:

Black box warning

Propranolol actually comes with a black box warning, issued by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), stating that this med should never be stopped abruptly because of the life threatening risks. This risk is much greater in patients who are at risk of a heart attack.

Propranolol and breathing disorders

Propranolol is contraindicated to be used in patients who suffer from chronic breathing illnesses, including asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). 

Propranolol is a non selective beta blocker which blocks beta-receptors present in heart, lung and airways. This drug causes vasodilation to reduce blood pressure and heart rate, and at the same time, it also causes bronchoconstriction and makes the airways narrow. 

People with asthma and COPD already live with breathing difficulty and this Propranolol bronchoconstriction can make their symptoms much more severe. It can also lead to hospitalisation. This is why the drug would never be prescribed to such patients. 

Propranolol and diabetes

Propranolol should be used cautiously in people with diabetes. People who are diabetic are often on prescription medications to manage their blood glucose levels. 

Oftentimes, such people suffer from hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), which is indicated by low heart rate and blood pressure. With Propranolol, the rate rate and blood pressure remain low, which is why a diabetic patient fails to detect the low blood sugar levels. 

For such people, it is advised to monitor their blood sugar levels regularly to avoid getting any complications associated with hypoglycemia. 

Propranolol and pregnancy

Propranolol should be used cautiously in pregnancy. You should also ask your healthcare provider if you are trying to get pregnant as this drug may produce unwanted side effects. However, the intensity of these effects can vary from woman to woman. 

Studies have indicated that Propranolol and other beta blockers can pass the placenta and act on the growing fetus, which is exactly why this medication is in Category C of pregnancy medications. 

Propranolol and breastfeeding

Studies have revealed that Propranolol can pass into the breastmilk and it might cause unwanted effects in the breastfed babies. Make sure you ask your healthcare provider if the use of Propranolol is safe for your child during breastfeeding. 

Propranolol and poor peripheral blood circulation

Several studies suggested that Propranolol should be used in people who suffer from poor blood flow to several other body parts. This is because Propranolol can end up exacerbating the poor blood flow because the drug further lowers down the heart rate and blood pressure. 

Conclusion 

In this blog post, we have discussed the stay time of Propranolol in the body. We have learned that Propranolol stays for about a day or two in your system. Propranolol has a half-life of about 3-6 hours, which means that the concentration of the drug is reduced to half after this time period. 

The remaining concentration is then further reduced to half after the next 3 to 6 hours. This process keeps on going until Propranolol is completely removed from your system. 

One important thing to bear in mind is that this is a prescription medication and it should not be used without your doctor’s recommendation. Improper and unnecessary use of medications lead to a lot of nerve-racking complications.

FAQs: how long does propranolol stay in your system 

Does propranolol last all day?

Propranolol usually stays in your system for about a day or two. Propranolol has a half-life of about 3-6 hours, which means that the concentration of the drug is reduced to half after this time period. The remaining concentration is then further reduced to half after the next 3 to 6 hours. This process keeps on going until Propranolol is completely removed from your system. 

What are the side effects of coming off propranolol?

Propranolol is associated with disturbing cardiological withdrawal symptoms, which include:  

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

These withdrawal effects can be present with variable intensities in different individuals. People who have had a heart attack earlier are at higher risk of cardiac side effects and may experience another heart attack if they stop the drug too quickly, that too without their doctor’s approval.

How much propranolol should I take for anxiety?

Propranolol is usually started from the dose of 80mg per day for adults. However, the dose can be adjusted according to the severity of your condition and based on the fact how well your body can tolerate this medication. The dose should not be more than 240mg per day. In case of children, dose is determined by the healthcare provider according to the body weight and severity of the condition. 

How long does it take to stop taking Propranolol?

The duration of Propranolol withdrawal and the frequency of dose tapering can vary from person to person. Your doctor will recommend the appropriate time period until which your Propranolol will be tapered and then will be stopped. The time duration also depends on the health condition for which you started taking Propranolol in the first place. 

What are the most common side effects of propranolol?

The most common side effects of Propranolol include:

  • Xerostomia or dry mouth 
  • Nausea 
  • Vomiting 
  • Constipation 
  • Flatulence 
  • Acid reflux 
  • Depression 
  • Fatigue 
  • Lightheadedness 
  • Abnormal pain
  • Acid reflux 
  • Flu like symptoms 
  • Skin rash

References 

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