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Drinking alcohol while taking propranolol can have seriously dangerous effects.
Propranolol is a type of medication called a beta-blocker. It’s typically used to treat irregular heartbeats, high blood pressure, angina, migraines, and hypertrophic subaortic stenosis.
It’s a prescription medication, meaning it isn't available over-the-counter. Propranolol is also prescribed to those who’ve suffered heart attacks to improve cardiac healing. It is sold under the brand names Inderal, Inderal LA, InnoPran XL, and Hemangeol. It comes in tablets, capsules, modified release capsules
and liquid form.
Mixing propranolol and alcohol can induce certain side effects. People with slow heart rhythms or low blood pressure should avoid taking propranolol.
Propranolol is part of a class of medications called beta-blockers. Beta-blockers bind to the beta receptors in the autonomic nervous system. This prevents epinephrine from binding, thus also preventing receptor activation. This relaxes blood vessels, lowers blood pressure, and dilates air tubes (bronchiples) in the lungs.
Propranolol, therefore, works by bringing down the heart rate, improving blood flow, and decreasing blood pressure to regularize cardiac complications. It comes in the form of a tablet, a solution, and an extended-release oral capsule.
Propranolol is generally safe, but you should consult your doctor before taking it. You should not take propranolol if you are allergic to propranolol or have asthma or another lung condition. If you’re a smoker, have an abnormally slow heart rate, or have a serious heart condition, you should consult your doctor, too.
Propranolol isn’t the only beta-blocker, more than a dozen beta-blockers have been approved for use in the United States. They fall into three categories:
It’s easy to identify beta-blockers by their generic names. Like propranolol, all beta-blockers end in “lol.”
Taking propranolol may cause side effects. They’re usually not life-threatening side effects, but they can cause discomfort. These side effects include:
Most people who take beta-blockers like propranolol will experience at least one of the above side effects. While these side effects are typically tolerable, about one in five users will switch to another beta-blocker or drug. Beta-blockers may also hide signs of low blood sugar levels.
Drinking alcohol can take a toll on your health. However, the magnitude varies depending on factors like your tolerance, weight, food intake, and more.
These are some common side effects of drinking alcohol:
These are also some long-term side effects of drinking too much alcohol, according to the NIAAA:
Drinking too much also tends to weaken the immune systems. This makes the body an easier target for diseases such as pneumonia and tuberculosis. There is also a strong scientific consensus regarding an association between alcohol consumption and several types of cancer.
Alcohol and beta-blockers do not interact well with one another.
For one, research suggests that alcohol can affect your blood pressure, which beta-blockers work to lower. Specifically, alcohol interacts with and compounds the blood-pressure reduction effects of beta-blockers. This means that drinking alcohol while taking beta-blockers can cause your blood pressure to drop even further.
Likewise, alcohol may decrease the effects of beta-blockers. If you’re taking a beta-blocker like propranolol to treat a cardiac concern, drinking alcohol may, therefore, render your prescription futile.
It’s simply best to avoid drinking alcohol while taking prescription medications altogether.
Mixing alcohol with certain medications like propranolol is ill-advised. Side effects of drinking alcohol with propranolol include:
Like many medications, alcohol can make you feel fatigued, drowsy, nauseous, lightheaded, and more. Therefore, drinking alcohol with certain medications that also have these side effects can intensify the effects.
Alcohol consumption can also lessen the effectiveness of medications. It may also make some medications harmful or toxic to your body. The impact that mixing propranolol and alcohol has on you will vary depending on factors like your biological sex and age. This is because women tend to reach a higher level of blood alcohol concentration (BAC) faster than men, and aging slows your body’s ability to break down alcohol.
Because propranolol and alcohol can interact negatively, it’s important to consult your doctor about any alcohol-related concerns with your prescription.
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