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Medications & Prescription Treatment

Inderal LA (propranolol)

  • By casrak

    I have been taking Propranolol for about 3 months now. I started off with 60mg once a day, then 80mg once a day and i am on 80mg ER twice a day. I still am getting Migraines. Any suggestions on what to try next? I used to be on Depakote ER 500mg twice a day, but come to find out it was causing liver damage. I have tried Topamax (no help), but it just made me sick.

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  • By Ellen Schnakenberg

    CASRAK – Not every preventive will work for every patient. Sometimes it does help to increase the dosage and see if that will be helpful, but you need to talk to your doctor about that. There are over 100 different meds to try and combinations etc. Don’t give up. Are you seeing a headache specialist?

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  • By casrak

    I am a veteran and have to see the VA for my care. I am trying everything to convince my Dr. to send me to someone who deals with this, but as of yet…NO HELP!!

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  • By gypsy

    I just started propranolol last sunday. I am only taking 10mg twice a day. I have noticed already I’m getting some sort of an irregular heart beat and wondered if anyone else has experienced this? I’ve read on the side effects paper not to just stop taking this medicine all of a sudden. My Dr’s office is closed today so I’m not sure what to do. Any suggestions? I’m only seeing a family doctor right now for migraines but I am going to make an appt. real soon for a headache specialist as I get over 10 a month. The bad thing is this is my first preventive medicine and it seemed like it might have been helping some.

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  • By Nancy Harris Bonk Moderator

    Hi gypsy,

    I’m sorry to hear you are having issues now. I’ve not had that problem with propranolol. Does your doctor have a number where you can reach him on-call? It may not be a bad idea to check in with him. If he doesn’t, you may want to check with your pharmacist and ask for his thoughts.

    Let us know how you are feeling, OK?

    Nancy

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  • By gypsy

    Thanks Nancy.. I decided to taper off it and I will call him Monday morning. I’m kind of discouraged because I’m thinking now none of these beta blockers will work for me because of what its doing to my heart rhythm. I would guess they would all mess with me since they do pretty much the same thing?? I know this is my first preventative medicine I have tried but the other ones scare me half to death! I guess there are the channel blockers I could try but I don’t know if that would be any different. I’m scared to try Depakote because of the liver damage it can cause, and my Dr. doesn’t recommend I take Topamax due to side effects. I’m just hoping there is something out there for me since I did notice some results in just a short time with the propranolol.

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  • By Nancy Harris Bonk Moderator

    Hi gypsy,

    Try not to get too discouraged about migraine prevention medications, as you said this is your first attempt at them. I wouldn’t necessarily give up on all beta blockers just because one didn’t work. Other drugs in the same class may work a bit differently and may not have the same potential side effects.

    And remember, it can take up to three months before we see a reduction in our migraine frequency and severity when we start new medications. Also during this time potential side effects may lessen. Sometimes we need to work through some unpleasant side effects to see if the medication would have been the one that would have worked for us. I’m not suggesting we put ourselves in danger, just think about these side effects becoming less troublesome over time.

    Nancy

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  • By Tim Banish

    Doctors have prescribed Inderal LA for me at least three times. The last time I took it was about five years ago. It really didn’t help with the migraines, I would still get the same nuber of them just not quite as severe. The side effects though were bad enough to swear off it. I always felt like I was in slow motion, walking through water. My energy dropped, and could not concetrate/focus many days. Also as I have low blood pressure it would lower my stats. Still remember the day I went to the doctors during a migraine and the nurse took my BP. It was 64/43. Never saw a nurse go chase a doc so fast! That was the result of a high dose of Inderal LA and Imitrex combined.

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  • By Ellen Schnakenberg

    Tim, another consideration too is the occasional need to tweak that dose of preventive. Something simple like the loss of a few pounds can leave you over-treated and vulnerable to the kind of symptoms you’ve mentioned here. Have you had a discussion about maybe using multiple meds in concert with each other, or just plain lowering the dosage just a skosh bit to keep your BP where it needs to be to stay healthy?

    I’ve had some low bp’s as well. Never forget going into surgery and the nurses kept giving me a hard time “Breathe deeper” they’d say, because the monitor for bp and 02 sats kept going off. When I told my hubs he was a bit upset. After all, wouldn’t it maybe be a good idea to address the cause of the low vitals instead of yelling at the patient? (oh and no, I was not pre-medicated. That was just me. Waiting.)

    ~Ellen

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  • By Petmomto5

    I take Propranolol 80mg once a day. At one time I was on that dose twice a day. I was having less headaches but still too many. My Neurologist tried me on Topamax with the Propranolol. It worked great for me but I had terrible depression from the Topamax. Then they tried me on Zonagran but I broke out in hives. I am now waiting to hear what I might be able to try next.

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  • By Ellen Schnakenberg

    Hi Georgia-R.

    It looks like you’re at least having some success with preventives, which is a good sign. Topiramate can have a lot of side effects for some people. I’m sorry you were one of the unlucky ones. When in doubt, be sure and talk to your doctor about starting extremely low and going up very slowly to minimize side effects of these medicines. That can be super helpful.

    Good luck! I hope you’ll let us know how you do 🙂

    ~Ellen

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  • By Tim Banish

    Ellen- yes I tried different doses, all the way down to the smallest dose made. No difference, and no help with the migraines. I’m just a type that doesn’t handle medicines well. Whatever side effects a medicine has I’ll get the worst ones. At my age I don’t want to try anything new. And since retiring I don’t get as many migraines!

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  • By Shirleyanne

    Hi everyone,
    This is my first post ever. I took inderal La for 12 years at 80mg twice a day, it never made any difference to the number of migraines or the severity. I was eventually weaned off, when I was finally referred to a consultant who told me I should have stopped after 6 months when it was clear they did not work.

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  • By katy

    I have been taking 40mg of propranolol twice a day for about a year now. I am also on Zanaflex and imitrex as needed, as well as receiving botox injections. I have noticed that the severity and number of of my migraines has decreased since the start of the botox regimen. While I am over the moon with excitement over the migraine decrease, I am beyond indifferent about the propranolol.

    For the past year or so, since I started taking the drug, I’ve noticed that my memory has suffered dramatically. I used to be able to retain information like a computer, and now, I’m good if I can remember what I did 5 mins ago. I feel “fuzzy” constantly, can’t remember things I’ve said within a 5 min time period, repeat myself continuously, etc. I think the biggest thing is my forgetting what I’m doing when I’m driving. It’s like I zone out and forget where I’m going half the time. I can’t remember the previous days work I’ve done and lay in bed at night trying so hard to recall everything. It’s almost as if I’m constantly drunk or, hungover trying to recall what happened during a drunken stupor. I even made the comment to my mother “what if I did something incredibly stupid and couldn’t even remember it in 10 mins”.

    Sorry that I’m rambling, but I’m at my wits in trying to figure out what is happening to me. It’s frustrating and I find myself fighting back tears sometimes. I know we all get forgetful, but this isn’t just a case of forgetfulness.

    I also believe that propranolol is to blame for these side effects. Does anyone have a clue about this or what I could do?

    I apologize if this is all over the place. That is how my mind works these days. Any and all suggestions and help will be greatly appreciated.

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    • By Rachel P

      @kritter84 I was actually initially prescribed Inderal for a heart condition (supraventricular tachycardia) when I was in middle school, around the age of 13 I believe. I was also told that it may help with my migraines. I honestly can’t even tell you if it helped with my migraines because all I can remember is that I went from being an outgoing, social, fun-loving teenager to someone who barely had the motivation to get out of bed.
      For me, it was like someone had pressed the slow motion button on my life. I couldn’t remember things, and would frequently forget what I was talking about in the middle of a sentence. In addition, I became depressed and – even though the medication was helping to control my tachycardia – it was really doing me more harm to be on the medication than good. I was quickly weaned off of it.
      About two years ago, I started seeing a new cardiologist, and he suggested Inderal, as it would help with both my SVT and my migraines. I very quickly recounted my experience with it, and he decided to keep me on the Nadalol that I’ve had success with for the past 10-ish years. After talking to my mom, I found out that she was also on Inderal for a short period of time and had the same kind of reaction I did to the medication.
      I’m sure that for some people, Inderal is a wonder and is very helpful, but for me, it was dangerous to my mental health. If you’re experiencing these difficulties, it’s really important to talk to your doctor and express your concerns. I think it would be better to try to find a different medication if necessary, rather than feel unlike yourself. I’m still on my journey to figure out what medications work for me, but when I know something doesn’t (and I experience the kind of adverse side effects like I did from Inderal) it’s something you have to put your foot down about.
      I hope that you’re able to find something that works for you and helps alleviate your migraines without making you feel like you’re forgetting your present!!

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    • By Katie M. Golden Moderator

      @kritter84,
      Inderal is a beta-blocker, which is just one class of meds used to prevent Migraines. When I was on it, I got dizzy and saw stars everytime I got up from a seated position. Brain fog was also an issue.
      Here’s more info on side effects of Inderal.
      https://migraine.com/migraine-treatment/propranolol-inderal/side-effects/

      After a year of usage and not getting much relief from it, you should definitely talk to your doctor about getting off it SLOWLY. Stopping it suddenly can create its own set of problems.

      I’m not sure of other preventative meds you’ve tried before, but there are three other classes of meds typically used to prevent Migraines. Anti-convulsants, anti-depressants and calcium channel blockers. Here’s a link that explains each different type. Your doctor might want to substitute Inderal for a drug in one of these other classes.
      https://migraine.com/migraine-treatment/prevention-medications/

      -Katie
      Migraine.com Moderator

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  • By Tim Banish

    kritter84-
    I took Inderal LA, found it didn’t decrease my migraines. Made me feel like I was in slow motion, like walking in water. Another doc decided to put me on Propranolol, same results. The worst part of either of these drugs is you can’t just quit them, as they are blood pressure medicines. It took a month of weaning off, reducing the dose gradually.
    When I was on the Inderal LA and had a bad migraine one day I ended up in the doctors office. The nurse came in to take vitals. My blood pressure was so low she asked if I was still alive. (My BP runs low anyway)
    All I take now is Magnesium 1X day and Sumatriptan injections as needed. My neuro also just suggested adding riboflavin (vitamin B2) 1X day. Didn’t think the magnesium was doing any good and quit taking it when I ran out last time. Had several migraines in a row so I got back on it. No side effects is the best part.
    Best of luck figuring out a formula that works for you. I think that’s the hardest thing about migraines, everyone has to find the best combination that works for them.

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  • By SeasTheDay

    I am so tired of being a guinea pig, due to a high number of migraines per month. The last preventive I was on is Inderal (generic). I had more than a few fleeting dizzy spells, weight gain and water retention. Shockingly enough, this was nothing compared to the side effects from the four anti seizure meds they tried me on. I have been OFF Topamax for three years and I haven’t recovered. I still have a horrible short term memory and I still cannot ‘find words’. It’s horrible. I am sick and tired of this. Right now I’m on nothing to prevent migraines. I’m on a good run, Jan., Feb. and Mar. 5, 6 and 5. Very low, I’ve had an all time high of 17 one time, but normal for me, on average is 12 – 14.

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