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What Is Alprenolol?

Mary McMahon
Updated May 17, 2024
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Alprenolol is a beta blocker medication which can be used to treat cardiac arrhythmias, high blood pressure, and angina. It works by interacting with beta-adrenergic receptors to slow and control the heart rate. The medication is not universally available, as some manufacturers have discontinued production. Patients who plan to travel while using it may want to stock up before they go, or check ahead to determine whether they will be able to obtain it locally while traveling.

Dosage can depend on why the patient needs alprenolol and how well the patient responds to the medication. It is typically gradually increased to find a therapeutic level where the patient feels better with a minimum of side effects. When patients need to stop taking the drug, they slowly taper the dosage back down. This is important, as suddenly stopping can cause complications that may compromise the patient’s cardiac health.

Patients may notice an increase in serum triglycerides while on alprenolol, a finding that would show up in a lab test of the blood. They can also experience liver damage, because the medication is processed in the liver. Like other beta blockers, alprenolol can cause side effects like an abnormally low heart rate, dizziness, sweating, and confusion. These can be indicators that the patient’s heart is beating too slowly and it may be necessary to adjust the dosage to prevent complications.

Other medications intended to control and slow the heart rate can adversely interact with alprenolol. The combination of drugs may bring the patient’s heart rate dangerously low. Additionally, the drug may be a poor mix for medications that can cause hypotension, including drugs prescribed to treat hypertension and anesthetic agents. Before taking alprenolol, patients may want to go over their medical history, including any medications currently being taken, to determine whether the drug is safe for them.

Patients with angina, high blood pressure, and heart arrhythmias may require ongoing followups. In these medical appointments, they can discuss any symptoms or side effects with a medical provider, who can also check for heart or blood pressure problems. These appointments provide an opportunity to intervene in the event of complications, and can be important for catching problems early. People who notice that they feel unwell shouldn’t hesitate to call their primary care providers to determine if they need attention in an office or hospital, as it can be better to be safe than sorry with cardiac conditions.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a WiseGeek researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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Mary McMahon

Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

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