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Inderal – Beta Blocker for Cardiovascular Diseases

What is Inderal?

Inderal is Wyeth Pharmaceutical’s trade name for propranolol, the first successful beta-blocker, which was developed by James W. Black in the 1960s and for which he won the Nobel Prize. Earlier attempts to develop effective beta-blockers had run into problems with carcinogenicity and Black successfully eliminated this problem while at the same time increasing the potency of the drug. It is used to treat tremors, angina pectoris, hypertension, arrhythmia and other cardiovascular conditions. It is also used for the treatment and prevention of heart attack and to reduce the severity of migraine headaches.


Indreal in a boxHow does Inderal work?

As a non-selective beta-blocker, Inderal inhibits both epinephrine and norepinephrine by blocking adrenergic receptors. It also inhibits the norepinephrine transporter and stimulates norepinephrine release.

What does Inderal look like?

Inderal is sold in a number of different colored pentagonal pills with a score, imprinted with “Inderal” above the score and the strength in milligrams below. The available strengths are 10, 20, 40, 60 and 80 mgs in pills which are respectively colored orange, blue, green, pink and yellow. It is also available in a slow-release form in a light blue and white capsule with a strength of 60 mg, a light blue capsule with a strength of 80 mg, and a light blue and dark blue capsule with a strength of 120 mg. Inderal is also available in injectable form.

Inderal dosing and administration

The recommended initial dosage of Inderal for hypertension is 40 mg twice a day! If side effects are well tolerated, your doctor may increase this if necessary. Some patients may require as much as 640 mg per day (in two doses) to achieve sufficient normalization of blood pressure, but the normal dosage is between 120 and 240 mg per day. Some people may metabolize Inderal more rapidly than others and it may be necessary for your doctor to raise your dosage schedule to three times daily. For atrial fibrillation, the standard dosage of Inderal is between 10 and 30 mg three or four times a day, before meals and before retiring. Inderal may be used in injectable form for emergency treatment of arrhythmias. Dosage for treatment after a myocardial infract may be anywhere between 100 and 240 mg per day, divided into three or four doses. For migraine prophylaxis the standard starting dose is 80 mg per day in divided doses. Your doctor may increase or decrease this depending on your response to it after several weeks.

Common adverse effects from Inderal

The most common side effects of Inderal are bradycardia, congestive heart failure, postural hypotension, depression, insomnia, hallucinations, bizarre dreams, memory problems, fatigue, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea or constipation, asthma, lupus, hair loss, erectile dysfunction, Peyronie’s disease and a fall in blood glucose. More serious side effects which may occur occasionally include skin rash, blistering or peeling of the skin, itching, dyspnea, unexplained swelling or weight gain, chest pain, dizziness or fainting, cold extremities, confusion and arrhythmia. Any of these effects should be reported to your doctor immediately.