AlcoholRehabHelp Logo
AlcoholRehabHelp Logo
Alcohol & Health
Helping Alcoholics
Where Does My Call Go?
Updated on September 13, 2023
8 min read

Is It Safe to Mix Propranolol and Alcohol?

What is Propranolol?

Propranolol is a type of medication called a beta-blocker. It's a prescription medication sold under the brand names Inderal, InnoPran XL, and Hemoangeol.

It’s typically used to treat:

  • Irregular heartbeats
  • Anxiety
  • Tremors
  • High blood pressure
  • Angina
  • Migraines
  • Arterial hypertension
  • Hypertrophic subaortic stenosis

It's available as a tablet, solution, and an extended-release oral capsule. Understanding how beta-blockers work is essential when considering alcohol intake while on medication. Other beta-blockers that have been approved for use in the United States include:

  • Nonselective (like propranolol)
  • Cardioselective (like atenolol and metoprolol)
  • Third-generation (like labetalol, nebivolol, and carvedilol)

How Does Propranolol Work?

Propranolol blocks certain natural chemicals, like epinephrine, in your body. Epinephrine, or adrenaline, is a hormone that plays an important role in managing your blood pressure. This allows your heart and blood vessels to relax.

Taking beta-blockers like propranolol reduces your heart rate and lowers blood pressure. This lessens the strain on your heart and improves blood flow

Lowering high blood pressure can help prevent:

  • Strokes
  • Heart attacks
  • Kidney problems
  • Chest pain

Online Therapy Can Help

Over 3 million people use BetterHelp. Their services are:

  • Professional and effective
  • Affordable and convenient
  • Personalized and discreet
  • Easy to start
Find a Therapist

Answer a few questions to get started

online consultation

How to Safely Take Propranolol

Take propranolol as directed, and don't take more of it longer than your doctor prescribed. This medication should come with a guide and directions, read and follow the instructions carefully, and ask your doctor if you have any questions.

Swallow the extended-release capsules and tablets whole. The extended-release capsule can be taken with or without food and should be taken at bedtime. It's important to take the medication in the same way each time.

The oral solution should be mixed with water to make swallowing easier. Do not shake the medication before use.

If you miss a dose, take the tablet as soon as possible unless it's nearly time for your next dose. Never double your dose to compensate for a skipped or forgotten dose.

Propranolol Dosage

Propranolol's dosage will be different for each person and the condition they're treating. The amount you take also depends on the following factors:

  • Your age
  • The strength of the medication
  • The number of doses you take each day
  • The time allowed between doses
  • The length of time you're prescribed to take the medication

The typical dosage for social or performance anxiety is 10-40mg. Follow your doctor's orders and the directions on the label, and don't change your dosage unless your doctor tells you to. Consult your doctor for any questions or changes in your prescription.

Side Effects of Propranolol

Taking propranolol may cause side effects. They're usually not life-threatening, but they can be uncomfortable. Beta-blockers may also hide signs of low blood sugar levels.

These side effects include:

  • Fatigue or drowsiness
  • Weight gain
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Chest pain
  • Tingling sensation
  • Coldness in hands or feet
  • Lightheadedness or dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Insomnia
  • Unusual dreams
  • Nausea
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Depression
  • Low libido
  • Allergic reactions

Most people who take beta-blockers like propranolol will experience at least one of these side effects. These side effects can be exacerbated if you drink alcohol while on propranolol or other beta-blockers.

Severe Side Effects of Propranolol

Although it happens rarely, propranolol does have serious side effects. Check with your doctor immediately if you start to experience the following:

  • Serious skin reactions such as blistering, peeling, rashes, red skin lesions, etc.
  • Dilated neck veins
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Irregular breathing
  • Fast heart rate or irregular heartbeat
  • Swelling in the face or other extremities
  • Weight gain
  • Nosebleeds that last for more than 10 minutes
  • Signs of low platelets in your blood such as bruising or unexplained bruises
  • Signs of liver problems such as dark urine, pale stool, and jaundice

BetterHelp can Help

They’ll connect you to an addiction and mental health counselor

Find a Therapist

Answer a few questions to get started

Better Help Logo

Who is at Risk When Taking Propranolol?

Propranolol can interact with certain medications and conditions. This can worsen existing symptoms or increase your risk of experiencing severe side effects. You should consult your doctor if you:

  • Are allergic to propranolol
  • Have asthma or another lung condition
  • Have glaucoma
  • Are a smoker
  • Have a slow heart rate
  • Have a serious heart condition
  • Drink alcohol or have alcohol use disorder (AUD)

Additionally, treatment for high blood pressure may include weight control and dietary changes, especially for foods high in salt. Check with your doctor before changing your diet.

Propranolol Interaction

Propranolol can interact with other medications and cause unpleasant side effects. These medications may include, but are not limited to:

  • Migraine medications such as Rizatriptan (Maxalt)
  • Heart rhythm medications such as Amiodarone (Pacerone)
  • Antidepressants such as Fluoxetine (Prozac)
  • Blood thinners like Warfarin (Coumadin)
  • Cimetidine

Thinking about Getting Help?

BetterHelp offers affordable mental health care via phone, video, or live-chat.

Find a Therapist

Answer a few questions to get started

Better Help Logo

How Do Alcohol and Beta-Blockers Interact?

Mixing beta-blockers and alcohol can have dangerous interactions. Alcohol interacts with the blood pressure-reducing effects of beta-blockers and causes your blood pressure to drop further.

You may experience the following due to very low blood pressure:

  • Dizziness
  • Fainting
  • Blurry vision
  • Confusion
  • Lightheadedness
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Sleepiness
  • Weakness

Alcohol can also decrease the effects of beta-blockers. If you're taking propranolol to treat heart problems, drinking alcohol may counter its effects. It’s simply best to avoid drinking alcohol while taking prescription medications altogether.

Side Effects Mixing Propranolol and Alcohol

Consuming alcohol while taking propranolol can be harmful or toxic to your body. The impact of mixing these substances can depend on your gender and age.

This is because women tend to reach a higher level of blood alcohol concentration faster than men, allowing them to get drunk much faster. Meanwhile, aging slows your body's ability to break down alcohol, causing it to remain in your system longer.

Aside from experiencing extremely low blood pressure, the side effects of drinking alcohol with propranolol include:

  • Fatigue or drowsiness
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Headaches
  • Fainting or loss of coordination
  • Breathing problems
  • Tremors
  • Developing a very fast heart rate

Alcohol can also worsen existing side effects such as anxiety and glaucoma. Because of the potential risks and complications from mixing propranolol and alcohol, it's important to consult your doctor about any alcohol-related concerns regarding your prescription.

Side Effects of Drinking Alcohol

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:

  • Fatigue
  • Dry mouth and dehydration
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Shakiness
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Muscle aches
  • Nausea with or without vomiting
  • Stomach pain
  • Poor sleep
  • Increased sensitivity to light and sound
  • Decreased ability to concentrate
  • Depression and/or anxiety
  • Irritability

Long-Term Side Effects of Alcohol

There are also some long-term side effects of drinking too much alcohol. Heavy or binge drinking can lead to severe physical symptoms.

These include:

Drinking too much also tends to weaken the immune system. 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.

Propranolol and Alcohol Overdose Symptoms

If you're taking propranolol for anxiety, it's unlikely to experience an overdose due to its low dosage compared to other uses. However, drinking alcohol while on propranolol can increase the risk of an overdose.

You might take more propranolol than necessary due to how alcohol reduces its effects. Symptoms of a propranolol overdose include:

  • Breathing difficulties
  • Dizziness and lightheadedness
  • Blurry vision
  • Fainting
  • Dangerously slow heart rate
  • Severe heart conditions or heart disease

If you are worried that you are experiencing a propranolol and alcohol overdose, seek immediate medical attention.

Treatment Options for Propranolol and Alcohol Abuse

Although propranolol isn't physically addictive or habit-forming, you can misuse it or depend on it. This is especially true for performance or social anxiety. It's important to inform your healthcare provider if you're overusing or relying on propranolol.

On the other hand, alcohol is an addictive substance that can lead to long-term health problems and dependence. Overcoming an alcohol addiction requires professional treatment.

However, people react differently to treatment, so exploring different options is important. Available treatment options include:


Propranolol is a prescription beta-blocker used to treat various medical conditions including high blood pressure and anxiety. It works by blocking a hormone called epinephrine to relax your heart and blood vessels.

Although propranolol is typically safe it can have uncomfortable and even severe side effects. It can also interact with alcohol and other substances, increasing the risk of serious side effects.

The interaction between propranolol and alcohol is especially dangerous because it can drastically lower your blood pressure. It can also reduce the beneficial effects of beta-blockers.

Updated on September 13, 2023
11 sources cited
Updated on September 13, 2023
All Alcoholrehabhelp content is medically reviewed or fact checked to ensure as much factual accuracy as possible.

We have strict sourcing guidelines and only link to reputable media sites, academic research institutions and, whenever possible, medically peer reviewed studies.
  1. Alcohol's Effects on the Body.National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2020.

  2. Hangovers.Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 2017.

  3. Harmful Interactions.National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2019.

  4. Husain, Kazim, et al. “Alcohol-Induced Hypertension: Mechanism and Prevention.World Journal of Cardiology, Baishideng Publishing Group Inc, 2014.

  5. Nierenberg, Cari. “Holiday Drinking: How 8 Common Medications Interact with Alcohol.LiveScience, Purch, 2013.

  6. Propranolol (Cardiovascular): MedlinePlus Drug Information.MedlinePlus, U.S. National Library of Medicine.

  7. Propranolol (Oral Route) Side Effects.Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 2020.

  8. Propranolol.Global.

  9. Publishing, Harvard Health. “Ask the Doctor: Beta Blockers and Alcohol.Harvard Health.

  10. Publishing, Harvard Health. “Beta Blockers: Cardiac Jacks of All Trades.Harvard Health.

  11. Constantine et al. "Addition of Propranolol in Resistant Arterial hypertension Treatment (APROPRIATE study): study protocol for a randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trial." Trials. 2017.

AlcoholRehabHelp Logo
All content created by Alcohol Rehab Help is sourced from current scientific research and fact-checked by an addiction counseling expert. However, the information provided by Alcohol Rehab Help is not a substitute for professional treatment advice.
© 2023 by Treatment Pathway LLC. All rights reserved.
Back to top icon
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram