Popularly known as Inderal, Propranolol is a beta blocker drug that can treat cardiovascular diseases such as high blood pressure, arrhythmia, and capillary haemangioma. It has also shown potential in treating psychological disorders like PTSD, phobias, and aggression among those with brain injuries.

Its discovery in 1964 by the British Scientist James W. Black is considered as one of the greatest breakthroughs in the 20th century. So much so that Black, later on, won a Nobel Prize in Medicine for Propranolol. The World Health Organization also included it in their List of Essential Medicines, a list of drugs that the WHO considers as the most effective medicines for the most crucial diseases. (1)

How Does Propranolol Work?

Propranolol is a beta-blocker that works by blocking the action of some neurotransmitters in the brain. These neurotransmitters include epinephrine (adrenaline) and norepinephrine (noradrenaline). By doing so, the drug is able to relax blood vessels and slow down the heart rate of the patient.

Hence, this pharmacological action is the reason why physicians use the drug as a treatment for people with high blood pressure and other cardiovascular diseases. Moreover, it is often an oral drug available as an extended-release or instant release drug. Nevertheless, consult a physician to know which variant is best for you.

Approved Uses Of Propranolol

The United States Food and Drug Administration has approved Propranolol for various illnesses. These uses were studied thoroughly before being approved. These uses include: (2)

  • Hypertension
  • Angina Pectoris Due to Coronary Atherosclerosis
  • Atrial Fibrillation
  • Myocardial Infarction
  • Migraine
  • Essential Tremor
  • Hypertrophic Subaortic Stenosis
  • Pheochromocytoma

Can I Use Propranolol For Anxiety?

Anxiety is a psychological disorder that almost everyone may experience. It can be due to various reasons such as environmental factors, stress, psychological disorders, or genetics. Its intensity can also vary widely from mild worry to intense panic attacks. Its subtypes are the most common mental disorders adults and children experience worldwide.

Propranolol blocks the stress hormone adrenaline. This may be the reason why some individuals experience some sense of calming effect when taking the drug. However, a 2016 study on the efficacy of Propranolol in treating anxiety was unable to find enough evidence for such claims.

A promising effect of using propranolol for anxiety is its ability to lower high blood pressure and decrease heart rate. People experiencing anxiety attacks often suffer palpitations. Hence, by taking Propranolol, the symptoms may be alleviated resulting to a calmer state for the patient.

Make sure to consult a doctor before taking Propranolol for anxiety. Propranolol may be dangerous for some types of people. People with diabetes, Raynaud’s syndrome, or Myasthenia gravis should take extreme caution before taking Propranolol for anxiety. Lastly, taking it without guidance can result in adverse or even deadly side effects.

Also Read: Does Hydroxyzine Work For Anxiety?


Food And Drug Administration. (n.d.). Inderal (propranolol hydrochloride). Retrieved December 26, 2017, from https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/

Steenen, S. A., Wijk, A. J., Heijden, G. J., Westrhenen, R. v., Lange, J. d., & Jongh, A. d. (2016, February 30). Propranolol for the treatment of anxiety disorders: Systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of Psychopharmacology, pp. 128-139.