Propranolol Prevents Migraine

feel at ease is a medication commonly used to prevent certain types of migraine. It is sold as a generic product under the Inderal and InnoPran brand names.

This medication belongs to a broad class of medications called oral migraine preventive medications (OMPMs). These drugs were developed to treat other conditions, but were later found to be helpful for migraines. However, like most such drugs, propranolol can have intolerable side effects.

The American Academy of Neurology rated propranolol as a “Class A” drug for migraine prevention. This means it has been found to be very effective.

This article looks at how propranolol works in migraine prevention, how it works, and how it’s taken. It also discusses potential side effects.

Medications to Prevent Migraine

How Propranolol Works

Propranolol is a beta-blocker. It is often used to treat heart disease, such as:

  • hypertension
  • irregular heartbeat
  • stable angina/unstable angina

It is also prescribed to treat a certain type of adrenal tumor, a small gland above the kidney.

The way in which propranolol helps prevent migraines is still unknown. It may help stabilize blood vessels in the brain, preventing them from dilating. It also reduces brain excitability and improves anxiety, which may help reduce the frequency of migraines. Beta-blockers are also stable Serotonin level. Serotonin is a substance in the brain that helps regulate mood. Fluctuating serotonin levels are associated with migraines.

When epinephrine is released into the blood, it binds to the blood vessels around the brain. This shrinks them. Propranolol and other beta-blockers reverse this effect. The blood vessels relax, allowing blood to flow freely to the brain.

READ ALSO:  Symptoms and treatment of Machado-Joseph disease

Propranolol Dosage

Propranolol is available as immediate-release tablets or extended-release capsules. Immediate-release tablets should be taken on an empty stomach. Extended-release capsules can be taken with or without food. Take the extended-release capsule the same way every day: always with food or always without food.

The study looked at different doses of propranolol. In one, the participants took 80 mg per day. Other reports suggest doses ranging from 40 mg to 160 mg per day.

To prevent migraines, doctors usually prescribe 20 mg of propranolol 3 to 4 times a day. If necessary, the dose is gradually increased to a therapeutic dose of 160 mg to 240 mg per day.

It takes four to six weeks for propranolol to start working. If the medication works for you, the frequency of migraines may be cut in half or more. The intensity and duration of migraine attacks should also be reduced.

The length of time it takes to see results is a downside of this drug. Many migraine sufferers are understandably frustrated with the long wait times.

Potential Side Effects of Propranolol

Propranolol is usually well tolerated, but side effects can occur. As with any medication, before you start taking this medication, discuss potential side effects with your doctor. Some of the more common include:

  • fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • constipate
  • sleep problems
  • stomach cramps

medicine interactions

Some substances may interfere with propranolol. For this reason, it is important to tell your doctor about all the medicines you are taking, including:

READ ALSO:  Overview of headaches in children and symptoms to worry about

  • prescription
  • Non-prescription drugs
  • Supplements
  • herbal
  • vitamins

For example, propranolol can significantly increase the concentration of some common migraine medications by 70%. These drugs include Zomig (zolmitriptan) and Maxalt (rizatriptan). If you are taking propranolol for migraine prevention and Maxalt for migraine attacks, you should lower your Maxalt dose as directed by your doctor.

Who Should Not Take Propranolol?

There are no controlled studies investigating the use and safety of propranolol during pregnancy. You should only take this medication if the potential benefit outweighs the potential risk to the baby. Propranolol is also released into breast milk, so be sure to tell your doctor if you are breastfeeding.

Propranolol is not safe for people with certain medical conditions. Some of these include:

  • Cardiogenic shock or severe heart failure
  • Second or third degree heart block
  • allergic to propranolol

Propranolol Warning

Take propranolol only as prescribed by your doctor. Stopping suddenly may cause chest pain to worsen, called angina. In some cases, the sudden stop can even lead to a heart attack. To avoid these serious effects, slowly reduce the dose of propranolol over at least a few weeks as directed by your doctor.

Propranolol may also mask Thyrotoxicosis or hyperthyroidism. It can also mask signs of low blood sugar, especially in people with insulin-dependent diabetes.

Certain other conditions may prevent you from taking propranolol, or require you to take it with close monitoring. These include:

READ ALSO:  Iron Deficiency Anemia and Migraine

  • Low heart rate or blood pressure at baseline
  • asthma
  • frustrated
  • peripheral vascular disease

Avoid alcohol while taking propranolol. Alcohol can also lower blood pressure. Taking propranolol and alcohol together can make your blood pressure dangerously low.

Propranolol is considered a well-tolerated and generally safe drug. Still, there are other serious caveats to taking it. Be sure to review these in detail with your doctor to make sure it is the right medication for you.


Propranolol is a beta-blocker sometimes used to prevent migraines. It may work by preventing blood vessel dilation and stabilizing serotonin levels.

If propranolol works for you, your migraine attacks will be shorter, less intense, and less frequent. It may take up to six weeks for you to notice this effect.

Propranolol may cause side effects and may interact with other medications. Be sure to discuss the pros and cons with your doctor before you start taking this medication.

VigorTip words

Propranolol is a reasonable starting point for migraine prevention. But remember, it only works for some people. It’s not a panacea, it requires a trial-and-error process, which can be tedious.

If propranolol isn’t right for you, there are other migraine-prevention medication options. These include other beta-blockers, non-beta-blocker therapies such as the anti-seizure drug Topamax (topiramate), botulinum toxin (botulinum toxin type A), and an injectable drug called Aimovig (erenumab) .