How to wean off Propranolol? (3+ disturbing withdrawal symptoms) 

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Page last updated: 23/09/2022

In this blog post, we are going to answer the question, “How to wean off Propranolol?”. Propranolol is one of the most commonly prescribed beta-blockers and can be used to treat a variety of health problems. 

However, it is not an easy medication when it comes to stop using it. This blog will cover the way to stop using Propranolol safely and we will also talk about 3+ withdrawal symptoms that you may suffer from if you stop using Propranolol abruptly. 

How to wean off Propranolol?

The best way to wean off Propranolol is to gradually taper it off. However, that should only be done under your doctor’s supervision. Propranolol is one of those beta blockers which are associated with disturbing symptoms when stopped abruptly. 

If, for some reason, you need to discontinue the treatment with this medication, then reach out to your healthcare provider. Your doctor will carefully determine if it’s in your best interest to stop using Propranolol or if some changes can be made to make the treatment more convenient for you. 

If discontinuation is the only option left, then your doctor will suggest a suitable taper schedule, which is determined according to the severity of your condition, your Propranolol dose, and the duration of your treatment. 

Once your taper schedule is designed, it is absolutely necessary for you to stick to it religiously. This is one and the only way to ensure safe Propranolol withdrawal, especially for a cardiac patient. 

Why is abrupt withdrawal of Propranolol considered dangerous? 

As stated earlier, Propranolol is associated with disturbing withdrawal symptoms, and most of those symptoms are cardiac-related. If you discontinue using this med suddenly, you may suffer from some of the symptoms. 

However, it varies greatly from person to person. Some people may not feel much, while others may get affected severely. It totally depends on how sensitive you are. It may not affect people with shorter duration of treatment that much, but people who have been using Propranolol for a while are more dependent on the medication. 

It is a known fact that whenever you start taking Propranolol or any other medication, it’s new for your body. Your body is not used to this foreign agent that can make chemical changes in it. This is why your body may take some time to adjust to the new med. 

Once it does, it starts considering the medication as a part of its system. This is how your body becomes dependent on the medication for the type of effects it produces. In the case of Propranolol, the drug keeps your heartbeat and blood pressure normal. 

If you continue to use it for a longer period of time, your body starts depending on it for normal cardiac functions. If we talk about withdrawal symptoms, they are basically cardiac-related symptoms and may become extremely serious for a cardiac patient with an active disease. 

How to wean off Propranolol? (3+ disturbing withdrawal symptoms) 

Some of the withdrawal symptoms include:

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

These symptoms, as stated earlier, can be nerve-racking for some people. Propranolol is known to have anxiolytic effects as well, which means the drug can actively control your anxiety. When you stop it suddenly, you may feel your anxiety levels getting higher and higher. 

Make sure you stick to your medication if you wish to achieve your therapeutic goals. If you feel you have been impacted negatively by the drug, then consult your healthcare provider as soon as you can and discuss the safety and efficacy of Propranolol in your case. 

Propranolol is used for a number of conditions which may start to get worse if you stop using this medication abruptly. Health conditions that are treated by Propranolol include:

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

However, cardiac withdrawal symptoms are more dangerous. Heart conditions are not so easy and stable. It literally takes a second for a heart attack to occur. A high intensity attack is enough to kill you right on the spot. 

This is exactly why you should have a valid reason to stop using Propranolol. If you don’t have it, it is recommended to continue to take your medication on time and as directed by the doctor. 

How long do Propranolol withdrawal symptoms last? 

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, but that’s not when the withdrawal symptoms stop.

Propranolol withdrawal symptoms can last 10 to 15 days after you stop using the medication. This time duration can vary from person to person. Some people are more sensitive to these effects and may take much longer to recover. A normal stable person can start recovery in around 2 weeks. 

The stay time of Propranolol in your system can be affected by a lot of factors. 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 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. 

Such people may also suffer from more intense withdrawal symptoms. There is no way to set a standard in this situation. Every person is affected differently and it is impossible to predict this. Just make sure you closely monitor all of the symptoms and try to keep your lifestyle as healthy as possible. 

How to ensure the proper use of Propranolol? 

Make sure you use Propranolol as directed by your healthcare provider. This med may not be a good choice for everyone and it may not suit everyone. Some people have developed an allergic reaction right after taking their first ever Propranolol dose. 

Such people can not continue taking this medicine and it is often switched to a safer one. Propranolol should be used cautiously in people with diabetes. This medication lowers your heart rate and blood pressure, which is why a diabetic patient fails to detect the low blood sugar levels. 

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

Conclusion 

In this blog post, we have discussed the best way to wean off Propranolol. It is one of the most commonly prescribed beta-blockers and can be used to treat a variety of health problems. However, it is not an easy medication when it comes to stop using it. 

The best way to wean off Propranolol is to gradually taper it off. However, that should only be done under your doctor’s supervision. Propranolol is one of those beta blockers which are associated with disturbing symptoms when withdrawn abruptly. 

If, for some reason, you need to discontinue the treatment with this medication, then reach out to your healthcare provider. Don’t ever stop using this med without your doctor’s approval. 

FAQs: how to wean off propranolol 

How do I stop taking propranolol?

The best way to wean off Propranolol is to gradually taper it off. However, that should only be done under your doctor’s supervision. Propranolol is one of those beta blockers which are associated with disturbing symptoms when withdrawn abruptly. If, for some reason, you need to discontinue the treatment with this medication, then reach out to your healthcare provider.

How long does it take to come off propranolol?

Propranolol withdrawal symptoms can last 10 to 15 days after you stop using the medication. 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

Does propranolol need to be tapered off?

Yes, Propranolol needs to be tapered off. It is one of those beta blockers which are associated with disturbing symptoms when withdrawn abruptly. Some of the withdrawal symptoms include:

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

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. 

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. 

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