Chronically administered beta-blocking therapy should not be routinely withdrawn prior to major surgery, however the impaired ability of the heart to respond to reflex adrenergic stimuli may augment the risks of general anesthesia and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.
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. Co-administration 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.
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.
Co-administration 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).
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 (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.
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