Propranolol is a beta blocker drug that commonly used to treat high blood pressure, anxiety and performance anxiety. Propranolol has other uses too. It can be used to prevent the body from responding to stressors, reduce the risk of hypertension and help with performance anxiety.

What are the pros and cons of propranolol? And can you buy propranolol over the counter? Read on for more information.

What is Propranolol?

Propranolol is a beta blocker drug. It is used to treat high blood pressure, anxiety, performance anxiety and a range of other conditions. It is also used to prevent the body from responding to stressors.

Beta blockers are commonly used in heart disease, as well as anxiety disorders like PTSD and performance anxiety.

Propranolol is one of the most commonly used beta blockers. Its use is not limited to heart conditions. It is also used to treat anxiety disorders including:

  • Generalized anxiety disorder
  • Social anxiety disorder
  • Performance anxiety
  • Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Panic disorder

How Does Propranolol Work?

Propranolol works by blocking the action of adrenaline. Adrenaline is a hormone that prepares the body for fight or flight. It responds to stressors, causing the heart rate to increase and blood pressure to rise. It also causes the body to release glucose to provide energy to muscles. These responses are useful in a dangerous situation, but they aren’t so helpful in day-to-day life.

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The beta blocker propranolol blocks this action. It prevents adrenaline from activating beta receptors in the heart and blood vessels. Therefore, propranolol can help to lower heart rate, blood pressure and levels of glucose in the blood.

That’s why beta blockers are used to treat high blood pressure and anxiety.

Pros of Propranolol

  • Propranolol is a commonly prescribed medication. This means it has been thoroughly tested and the side effects are well known. Therefore, its side effects are less severe than that of an experimental or unproven medication.
  • It can be used to treat a range of conditions. Specifically, it can be used to treat hypertension, performance anxiety and anxiety disorders.
  • It can be used in pregnancy.
  • It is cost-effective. It is cheap compared to other medications.
  • It can be bought over the counter. This means you can start taking the medication quickly. You don’t need to wait to see a doctor.
  • Side effects are mild. Most people who take propranolol experience mild side effects. These side effects are usually temporary and can be managed with medication.

Cons of Propranolol

  • Propranolol is an addictive medication. Those who use it for long periods of time are more likely to become dependent on it.
  • It can be dangerous in combination with other drugs. Some medications react with propranolol to cause dangerous side effects. You must inform your doctor about all the medications you take.
  • It can cause harmful side effects in certain people. For example, it can increase blood sugar levels in those with diabetes. It can also cause low blood pressure in people with low blood pressure.
  • It has no effect on anxiety in some people. This means it isn’t a cure for anxiety disorders and shouldn’t be used as a long-term solution.
  • It can cause weight gain in some people.
  • It can cause sexual dysfunction in men.
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Can you buy propranolol over the counter?


Yes, you can buy propranolol over the counter. However, it should only be used in short-term situations. Propranolol is a beta blocker drug that is used to treat high blood pressure, performance anxiety and anxiety disorders. It is commonly prescribed in the US.

People who take propranolol can experience side effects. Most of these side effects are mild, such as nausea, headaches, dizziness and fatigue.

You should not take propranolol if you have any of the following conditions:

  • Congestive heart failure
  • Bradycardia
  • Uncontrolled hypertension
  • Severe heart failure
  • Severe asthma
  • Hypokalemia
  • Sick sinus syndrome
  • Recent heart attack
  • Recent stroke
  • Urinary retention
  • Pheochromocytoma
  • Diabetes
  • Pregnancy
  • Breastfeeding
  • Adrenal insufficiency
  • Severe liver disease
  • Severe kidney disease
  • Severe Older people
  • Children

Bottom line

Propranolol is a commonly used beta blocker drug. It can be used to treat high blood pressure, anxiety and performance anxiety. It can also be used to prevent the body from responding to stressors.

Propranolol is one of the most prescribed medications and is cheap and easy to access. It has mild side effects and can be used in pregnancy. It is an addictive medication and should only be used in the short term.

Keep in mind that the above article is general information only. It is not specific medical advice. Consult a doctor if you have health issues.


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The wealthformyhealth.com team is composed of doctors and few students in their final year of medicine who have decided to popularize and share their knowledge.