Boots WebMD Partners in Health
Return To Boots

Propranolol

BMJ Group Medical Reference

Propranolol is a beta-blocker. These are drugs that slow down your heartbeat. They're usually used to treat high blood pressure or angina (chest pain). They may also help control essential tremor.

Brand names for propranolol include:

  • Angilol

  • Inderal

  • Half-Inderal LA

  • Inderal-LA.

There's been lots of research to show that propranolol is likely to help if you have essential tremor. [10] [11] [12] [13] [14] [15] [16] [17] [18] [19] [20] We found 11 small, good-quality studies (called randomised controlled trials), all of which found that taking propranolol helped control shaking.

One study also found that taking propranolol for a year worked about as well as taking another blood pressure drug (called clonidine). [21] But there haven't been any other studies lasting longer than six weeks. So we don't know whether propranolol works for longer or whether the effect wears off.

There hasn't been enough research to know for certain how other beta-blockers compare with propranolol for treating essential tremor. Three small studies found that sotalol (brand names Beta-Cardone and Sotacor) and atenolol (Atenix, Tenormin) seemed to help. [15] [19] [22] One study found that pindolol (brand name Visken) made essential tremor worse. [18]

Beta-blockers can have side effects. In studies, about 1 in 10 people stopped taking propranolol because they felt tired or got a slow heart rate. [12] Other side effects are depression, dizziness, and sexual problems.

If you have asthma, heart problems, or diabetes, you need to tell your doctor. You may not be able to take these drugs.

Glossary

angina

Angina is the name that doctors use for a pain in your chest that you get when your heart muscle isn't getting enough oxygen.

asthma

Asthma is a disease of the lungs. It makes you wheeze, cough and feel short of breath. Asthma attacks are caused by inflammation and narrowing of your airways, which makes it hard for air to pass in and out of your lungs.

depression

Depression is a mental illness in which your mood is low and you feel sad most of the time. It can range from a mild illness through to a severe one in which you lose interest in life and may be suicidal.

diabetes

Diabetes is a condition that causes too much sugar (glucose) to circulate in the blood. It happens when the body stops making a hormone called insulin (type 1 diabetes) or when insulin stops working (type 2 diabetes).

high blood pressure

Your blood pressure is considered to be high when it is above the accepted normal range. The usual limit for normal blood pressure is 140/90. If either the first (systolic) number is above 140 or the lower (diastolic) number is above 90, a person is considered to have high blood pressure. Doctors sometimes call high blood pressure 'hypertension'.

randomised controlled trials

Randomised controlled trials are medical studies designed to test whether a treatment works. Patients are split into groups. One group is given the treatment being tested (for example, an antidepressant drug) while another group (called the comparison or control group) is given an alternative treatment. This could be a different type of drug or a dummy treatment (a placebo). Researchers then compare the effects of the different treatments.

For more terms related to Essential tremor

Citations

For references related to Essential tremor click here.
Last Updated: November 01, 2010
This information does not replace medical advice.  If you are concerned you might have a medical problem please ask your Boots pharmacy team in your local Boots store, or see your doctor.

Stay informed

Sign up for BootsWebMD's free newsletters.
Sign Up Now!

Popular Slideshows & Tools on Boots WebMD

woman looking at pregnancy test
Early pregnancy symptoms
donut on plate
The truth about sugar addiction
woman holding hair
Natural help for dry or damaged hair
woman in bikini
Get ready for swimsuit season
hand extinguishing cigarette
13 best tips to stop smoking
Immune-boosting foods
The role of diet
79x79_not_good_for_you.jpg
18 secrets men want you to know
boy looking at broccoli
Quick tips for feeding picky eaters
hamburger and fries
A guide for beginners
salmon dinner
A diet to boost your mood & energy
polka dot dress on hangar
Lose weight without dieting