In a double-blind, placebo-controlled study of 32 patients of both sexes, aged 32 to 69 years, with stable angina, propranolol 100 mg three times a day was administered for 4 weeks and shown to be more effective than placebo in reducing the rate of angina episodes and in prolonging total exercise time.
In a report examining the long-term (5 to 22 months) efficacy of propranolol, 10 patients, aged 27 to 80, with atrial fibrillation and ventricular rate greater than 120 beats per minute despite digitalis, received propranolol up to 30 mg three times a day. Seven patients (70%) achieved ventricular rate reduction to less than 100 beats per minute.
The Beta-Blocker Heart Attack Trial (BHAT) was a National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute-sponsored multicenter, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial conducted in 31 U.S. centers (plus one in Canada) in 3,837 persons without history of severe congestive heart failure or presence of recent heart failure; certain conduction defects; angina since infarction, who had survived the acute phase of myocardial infarction. Propranolol was administered at either 60 or 80 mg three times a day based on blood levels achieved during an initial trial of 40 mg three times a day. Therapy with propranolol, begun 5 to 21 days following infarction, was shown to reduce overall mortality up to 39 months, the longest period of follow-up. This was primarily attributable to a reduction in cardiovascular mortality. The protective effect of propranolol was consistent regardless of age, sex, or site of infarction. Compared with placebo, total mortality was reduced 39% at 12 months and 26% over an average follow-up period of 25 months. The Norwegian Multicenter Trial in which propranolol was administered at 40 mg four times a day gave overall results which support the findings in the BHAT.
Although the clinical trials used either three times a day or four times a day dosing, clinical, pharmacologic, and pharmacokinetic data provide a reasonable basis for concluding that twice daily dosing with propranolol should be adequate in the treatment of postinfarction patients.
In a 34-week, placebo-controlled, 4-period, dose-finding crossover study with a double-blind randomized treatment sequence, 62 patients with migraine received propranolol 20 to 80 mg 3 or 4 times daily. The headache unit index, a composite of the number of days with headache and the associated severity of the headache, was significantly reduced for patients receiving propranolol as compared to those on placebo.
In a 2 week, double-blind, parallel, placebo-controlled study of 9 patients with essential or familial tremor, propranolol, at a dose titrated as needed from 40 to 80 mg three times a day reduced tremor severity compared to placebo.
In an uncontrolled series of 13 patients with New York Heart Association (NYHA) class 2 or 3 symptoms and hypertrophic subaortic stenosis diagnosed at cardiac catheterization, oral propranolol 40 to 80 mg three times a day was administered and patients were followed for up to 17 months. Propranolol was associated with improved NYHA class for most patients.
In an uncontrolled series of 3 patients with norepinephrine-secreting pheochromocytoma who were pretreated with an alpha adrenergic blocker (prazosin), perioperative use of propranolol at doses of 40 to 80 mg three times a day resulted in symptomatic blood pressure control.
Propranolol hydrochloride tablets, USP are indicated in the management of hypertension. It may be used alone or used in combination with other antihypertensive agents, particularly a thiazide diuretic. Propranolol hydrochloride is not indicated in the management of hypertensive emergencies.
Angina Pectoris Due to Coronary Atherosclerosis
Propranolol hydrochloride tablets, USP are indicated to decrease angina frequency and increase exercise tolerance in patients with angina pectoris.
Propranolol hydrochloride tablets, USP are indicated to control ventricular rate in patients with atrial fibrillation and a rapid ventricular response.
Propranolol is indicated to reduce cardiovascular mortality in patients who have survived the acute phase of myocardial infarction and are clinically stable.
Propranolol is indicated for the prophylaxis of common migraine headache. The efficacy of propranolol in the treatment of a migraine attack that has started has not been established, and propranolol is not indicated for such use.
Propranolol is indicated in the management of familial or hereditary essential tremor. Familial or essential tremor consists of involuntary, rhythmic, oscillatory movements, usually limited to the upper limbs. It is absent at rest, but occurs when the limb is held in a fixed posture or position against gravity and during active movement. Propranolol causes a reduction in the tremor amplitude, but not in the tremor frequency. Propranolol is not indicated for the treatment of tremor associated with Parkinsonism.
Hypertrophic Subaortic Stenosis
Propranolol improves NYHA functional class in symptomatic patients with hypertrophic subaortic stenosis.
Propranolol is indicated as an adjunct to alpha-adrenergic blockade to control blood pressure and reduce symptoms of catecholamine-secreting tumors.
Propranolol is contraindicated in 1) cardiogenic shock; 2) sinus bradycardia and greater than first degree block; 3) bronchial asthma; and 4) in patients with known hypersensitivity to propranolol hydrochloride.
There have been reports of exacerbation of angina and, in some cases, myocardial infarction, following abrupt discontinuance of propranolol therapy. Therefore, when discontinuance of propranolol is planned, the dosage should be gradually reduced over at least a few weeks and the patient should be cautioned against interruption or cessation of therapy without the physician’s advice. If propranolol therapy is interrupted and exacerbation of angina occurs, it usually is advisable to reinstitute propranolol therapy and take other measures appropriate for the management of angina pectoris. Since coronary artery disease may be unrecognized, it may be prudent to follow the above advice in patients considered at risk of having occult atherosclerotic heart disease who are given propranolol for other indications.
Hypersensitivity and Skin Reactions
Hypersensitivity reactions, including anaphylactic/anaphylactoid reactions, have been associated with the administration of propranolol (see ADVERSE REACTIONS).
Cutaneous reactions, including Stevens-Johnson Syndrome, toxic epidermal necrolysis, exfoliative dermatitis, erythema multiforme, and urticaria, have been reported with use of propranolol (see ADVERSE REACTIONS).
Sympathetic stimulation may be a vital component supporting circulatory function in patients with congestive heart failure, and its inhibition by beta blockade may precipitate more severe failure. Although beta blockers should be avoided in overt congestive heart failure, some have been shown to be highly beneficial when used with close follow-up in patients with a history of failure who are well compensated and are receiving additional therapies, including diuretics as needed. Beta-adrenergic blocking agents do not abolish the inotropic action of digitalis on heart muscle.
In Patients without a History of Heart Failure, continued use of beta blockers can, in some cases, lead to cardiac failure.
Nonallergic Bronchospasm (e.g., Chronic Bronchitis, Emphysema)
In general, patients with bronchospastic lung disease should not receive beta blockers. Propranolol should be administered with caution in this setting since it may provoke a bronchial asthmatic attack by blocking bronchodilation produced by endogenous and exogenous catecholamine stimulation of beta-receptors.
Chronically administered beta-blocking therapy should not be routinely withdrawn prior to major surgery, however the impaired ability of the heart to respond to reflex adrenergic stimuli may augment the risks of general anesthesia and surgical procedures.
Diabetes and Hypoglycemia
Beta-adrenergic blockade may prevent the appearance of certain premonitory signs and symptoms (pulse rate and pressure changes) of acute hypoglycemia, especially in labile insulin-dependent diabetics. In these patients, it may be more difficult to adjust the dosage of insulin.
Propranolol therapy, particularly when given to infants and children, diabetic or not, has been associated with hypoglycemia, especially during fasting as in preparation for surgery. Hypoglycemia has been reported in patients taking propranolol after prolonged physical exertion and in patients with renal insufficiency.
Beta-adrenergic blockade may mask certain clinical signs of hyperthyroidism. Therefore, abrupt withdrawal of propranolol may be followed by an exacerbation of symptoms of hyperthyroidism, including thyroid storm. Propranolol may change thyroid-function tests, increasing T 4 and reverse T 3 and decreasing T 3 .
Beta-adrenergic blockade in patients with Wolf-Parkinson-White Syndrome and tachycardia has been associated with severe bradycardia requiring treatment with a pacemaker. In one case, this result was reported after an initial dose of 5 mg propranolol.
Blocking only the peripheral dilator (beta) action of epinephrine with propranolol leaves its constrictor (alpha) action unopposed. In the event of hemorrhage or shock, there is a disadvantage in having both beta and alpha blockade since the combination prevents the increase in heart rate and peripheral vasoconstriction needed to maintain blood pressure.
Propranolol should be used with caution in patients with impaired hepatic or renal function. Propranolol is not indicated for the treatment of hypertensive emergencies.
Beta-adrenergic receptor blockade can cause reduction of intraocular pressure. Patients should be told that propranolol may interfere with the glaucoma screening test. Withdrawal may lead to a return of increased intraocular pressure.
While taking beta blockers, patients with a history of severe anaphylactic reaction to a variety of allergens may be more reactive to repeated challenge, either accidental, diagnostic, or therapeutic. Such patients may be unresponsive to the usual doses of epinephrine used to treat allergic reaction.
In patients with hypertension, use of propranolol has been associated with elevated levels of serum potassium, serum transaminases and alkaline phosphatase. In severe heart failure, the use of propranolol has been associated with increases in Blood Urea Nitrogen.
Caution should be exercised when propranolol is administered with drugs that have an effect on CYP2D6, 1A2, or 2C19 metabolic pathways. Coadministration of such drugs with propranolol may lead to clinically relevant drug interactions and changes on its efficacy and/or toxicity (see Drug Interactions in PHARMACOKINETICS AND DRUG METABOLISM).
Propafenone has negative inotropic and beta-blocking properties that can be additive to those of propranolol.
Quinidine increases the concentration of propranolol and produces greater degrees of clinical beta-blockade and may cause postural hypotension.
Amiodarone is an antiarrhythmic agent with negative chronotropic properties that may be additive to those seen with β-blockers such as propranolol.
The clearance of lidocaine is reduced with administration of propranolol. Lidocaine toxicity has been reported following coadministration with propranolol.
Caution should be exercised when administering propranolol with drugs that slow A-V nodal conduction, e.g. digitalis, lidocaine and calcium channel blockers.
Both digitalis glycosides and beta-blockers slow atrioventricular conduction and decrease heart rate. Concomitant use can increase the risk of bradycardia.
Calcium Channel Blockers
Caution should be exercised when patients receiving a beta blocker are administered a calcium-channel-blocking drug with negative inotropic and/or chronotropic effects. Both agents may depress myocardial contractility or atrioventricular conduction.
There have been reports of significant bradycardia, heart failure, and cardiovascular collapse with concurrent use of verapamil and beta-blockers.
Coadministration of propranolol and diltiazem in patients with cardiac disease has been associated with bradycardia, hypotension, high-degree heart block, and heart failure.
When combined with beta-blockers, ACE inhibitors can cause hypotension, particularly in the setting of acute myocardial infarction.
The antihypertensive effects of clonidine may be antagonized by beta-blockers. Propranolol should be administered cautiously to patients withdrawing from clonidine.
Prazosin has been associated with prolongation of first dose hypotension in the presence of beta-blockers.
Postural hypotension has been reported in patients taking both beta-blockers and terazosin or doxazosin.
Patients receiving catecholamine-depleting drugs, such as reserpine, should be closely observed for excessive reduction of resting sympathetic nervous activity, which may result in hypotension, marked bradycardia, vertigo, syncopal attacks, or orthostatic hypotension.
Patients on long-term therapy with propranolol may experience uncontrolled hypertension if administered epinephrine as a consequence of unopposed alpha-receptor stimulation. Epinephrine is therefore not indicated in the treatment of propranolol overdose (see OVERDOSAGE).
Isoproterenol and Dobutamine
Propranolol is a competitive inhibitor of beta-receptor agonists, and its effects can be reversed by administration of such agents, e.g., dobutamine or isoproterenol. Also, propranolol may reduce sensitivity to dobutamine stress echocardiography in patients undergoing evaluation for myocardial ischemia.
Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) have been reported to blunt the antihypertensive effect of beta-adrenoreceptor blocking agents.
Administration of indomethacin with propranolol may reduce the efficacy of propranolol in reducing blood pressure and heart rate.
The hypotensive effects of MAO inhibitors or tricyclic antidepressants may be exacerbated when administered with beta-blockers by interfering with the beta blocking activity of propranolol.
Methoxyflurane and trichloroethylene may depress myocardial contractility when administered with propranolol.
Propranolol when administered with warfarin increases the concentration of warfarin. Prothrombin time, therefore, should be monitored.
Hypotension and cardiac arrest have been reported with the concomitant use of propranolol and haloperidol.
Thyroxine may result in a lower than expected T 3 concentration when used concomitantly with propranolol.
Alcohol Alcohol, when used concomitantly with propranolol, may increase plasma levels of propranolol.
In dietary administration studies in which mice and rats were treated with propranolol hydrochloride for up to 18 months at doses of up to 150 mg/kg/day, there was no evidence of drug-related tumorigenesis. On a body surface area basis, this dose in the mouse and rat is, respectively, about equal to and about twice the maximum recommended human oral daily dose (MRHD) of 640 mg propranolol hydrochloride. In a study in which both male and female rats were exposed to propranolol hydrochloride in their diets at concentrations of up to 0.05% (about 50 mg/kg body weight and less than the MRHD), from 60 days prior to mating and throughout pregnancy and lactation for two generations, there were no effects on fertility. Based on differing results from Ames Tests performed by different laboratories, there is equivocal evidence for a genotoxic effect of propranolol hydrochloride in bacteria ( S. typhimurium strain TA 1538).
DrugInserts.com provides trustworthy package insert and label information about marketed drugs as submitted by manufacturers to the US Food and Drug Administration. Package information is not reviewed or updated separately by DrugInserts.com. Every individual package label entry contains a unique identifier which can be used to secure further details directly from the US National Institutes of Health and/or the FDA.