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Inderal LA is a special long-acting formulation of a propranolol, the pre-eminent member of a class medicines called beta blockers. That means these drugs work in part by blunting the action of adrenaline, the body's natural fight or flight chemical.

People normally respond to stressful situations with a rapid pulse, a pounding heart and an increase in blood pressure. Inderal LA helps block such reactions.

Inderal LA is prescribed for a wide range of health conditions including irregular heart rhythms, angina, high blood pressure, prevention of migraine headaches or a second heart attack and tremor.

Although the FDA has not specifically approved its use for other purposes, doctors have employed Inderal LA to relieve involuntary movements caused by major tranquilizers, stage fright and panic disorders.

The dose will vary depending upon the condition being treated.

Side Effects and Interactions

Inderal LA can cause a number of side effects.

They include slow heart rate, cold hands and feet, insomnia, nightmares, blurred vision, sexual difficulties, nerve tingling, dizziness, nausea, stomach ache, gas, diarrhea, indigestion, rash, arthritis and muscle pain.

This medicine may also have a negative effect on cholesterol and other blood fats so a lipid test before treatment and periodically thereafter would be prudent.

Inderal LA is a little more likely to affect the nervous system than certain other drugs in this class.

Be alert for the beta blocker blues. Symptoms of psychological depression, fatigue, decreased concentration, memory loss and mood swings may come on slowly and insidiously.

Notify your physician promptly of any adverse reactions, especially breathing difficulties, fluid retention in the legs or a night cough.

Inderal LA can interact with a number of other compounds, including several that are used to treat asthma, colds, allergies, diabetes, and heart problems.

Arthritis medicine and aspirin may also reduce the effectiveness of some beta blockers.

Propranolol may be incompatible with the herb astragalus.

Check with your doctor and pharmacist to make sure Inderal LA is safe in combination with any other drugs or herbs you may take.

Special Precautions

Some people should rarely, if ever, take beta-blockers such as Inderal.

Asthmatics and patients with other respiratory problems are especially vulnerable, because these drugs can make breathing worse.

People with heart failure must also be extremely cautious if prescribed beta-blockers because the medicine could lead to cardiac complications.

Never stop taking any beta-blocker medication abruptly unless you are under very close medical supervision. Angina or a heart attack could occur.

These drugs may also make treatment of diabetes and thyroid disorders more complicated.

Your doctor can tell you what additional tests and precautions you will need in managing these conditions.

Taking the Medicine

Inderal LA is more convenient than regular Inderal because its sustained release formulation provides blood levels that last substantially longer in the body. This means that most people only need to take one capsule a day.

To maintain a constant level of the medicine in your system, try to maintain a regular regimen, taking Inderal LA at roughly the same time each day.

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About the Author
Joe Graedon is a pharmacologist who has dedicated his career to making drug information understandable to consumers. His best-selling book, The People’s Pharmacy, was published in 1976 and led to a syndicated newspaper column, syndicated public radio show and web site. In 2006, Long Island University awarded him an honorary doctorate as “one of the country's leading drug experts for the consumer.” .
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