Many people may not have heard about Propranolol for alcohol and drug treatment. It can be an instrumental part of a rehabilitation plan, particularly during detox. It may help patients get the treatment they need to move forward in the all-important work of recovery.

Substance use disorder is a serious issue in our country. In America,7% of adults have alcohol use disorder, which encompasses alcohol abuse, dependency, and addiction. And another 19.4% of Americans age 12 and older abuse prescription or illegal drugs. The problem is, just 392,000 of the nearly 19.2 million people with a substance use disorder receive treatment.

Medical detox is the first step to purging all the unhealthy substances from the body. The toxic chemicals must be removed from the system so that a person can make a healthy recovery. However, when a person starts the treatment, they will experience serious withdrawal issues.

Detox centers often rely on medications to curb those symptoms. One of the most used ones is Propranolol. This is a detailed guideline on why so many detox centers rely on Propranolol for alcohol or drug withdrawal symptoms.

What Is Propranolol?

Propranolol (brand names include Inderal®, InnoPran®, and Pronol®) is a prescribed medicine primarily used as a beta-blocker. It is known for its multiple treatment capabilities. This is a beta-blocker for anxiety, alcohol and drug withdrawal, heart problems, PTSD, and other complex health disorders.

Just like any other beta-blocker, Propranolol will work its way into the body by decreasing the heart rate and relaxing the blood vessels. The chemicals present in the drug allow it to reduce physical symptoms caused by anxiety.

Stonegate Center Blog - Is Propranolol One of the Most Common Medications Given at Detox Centers? - What is Propranolol

According to the National Institutes of Health, Propranolol is one of the earliest drugs of its kind with potent therapeutic properties. It was patented in 1962 and was approved for medical use just two years later.

One of the drug’s key selling points is the quick absorption rate. It will take just 1 to 4 hours after ingestion for it to reach its peak plasma levels. Over 90% of the medicine is bound to plasma protein in the blood, which makes it a highly effective product for multiple health issues, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

How Does Propranolol Work for Substance Abuse?

When someone experiences stress, their body secretes extremely high levels of norepinephrine (noradrenaline) and epinephrine (adrenaline). This will result in a quickened heartbeat. It is what makes people feel anxious, scared, shaky, or sweaty. It encourages anxiety and nervousness and limits the ability to think straight or make decisions.

Stonegate Center Blog - Is Propranolol One of the Most Common Medications Given at Detox Centers? - How Does Propranolol Works

This is what experts call the “flight or fight” response. These hormones are responsible for signaling the “flight or fight” response, which is something that allows the body to react to a dangerous or stressful situation.

Simply put, this is a typical survival mechanism of the human body. But, in patients with severe anxiety or substance abuse, their “flight or fight” response won’t be functioning properly.

Experts believe that substance abuse will make it difficult for the system to restore its normal internal balance. This takes a toll on all kinds of hormones and signaling molecules in the brain.

The unbalanced stress response influences the reward and nervous system, resulting in debilitating anxiety.

When a person goes through withdrawal, their body starts to crave the addictive substance, considering it the only viable option to make them feel safer and better. Propranolol works by interfering with the nerve impulses in unique spots of the body, like the heart. This makes the heartbeat slow and steady. The product is designed to block any action or stress that might put a lot of pressure on the hormones. It stops the epinephrine and norepinephrine from affecting the beta-receptors. That’s how it reduces any physical effects caused by anxiety. With a steady heartbeat, the system feels more relaxed, and it’s able to function normally. Propranolol can ease withdrawal issues, especially tremors, increased blood pressure, and quickened heart rate.

By calming both physical and psychological indicators of stress, patients will have a much easier time coping with the cravings and unpleasant withdrawal symptoms.

If you or a loved one is dealing with substance abuse, it’s best to start with early detox treatment. You can find a medical detox in our drug and alcohol addiction treatment at Stonegate Center. We provide access to a safe facility where you can overcome any addiction, no matter how severe it is.

Propranolol for Cocaine Withdrawal

About 39.3 million people in America have tried cocaine at least once in their lifetime, according to 2020 statistics. Millions of people need cocaine abuse treatment every year.

Because of the high demand, researchers have tried to find the best possible solutions for treating cocaine abuse. One of the most well-known medications in detox centers is Propranolol.

It’s possible for patients who have recently stopped taking cocaine to experience autonomic arousal. This is a medical condition recognized by the constant arousal of the ANS (autonomic nervous system). They will have problems with digestion, respiratory functions, and heart rate.

Propranolol can help decrease the symptoms of autonomic arousal during early cocaine abstinence, published by the National Library of Medicine. With effects such as these, patients can improve their treatment process and take control of their addiction.


Stonegate Center Blog - Is Propranolol One of the Most Common Medications Given at Detox Centers? - Propranolol for Cocaine Withdrawal

To analyze the effects of the drug on autonomic arousal, researchers studied an 8-week trial with 108 different cocaine-dependent patients. Almost 69% of patients who experienced severe cocaine withdrawal issues received a Propranolol treatment. They completed the program successfully. Their results were compared to 29% of patients who received a placebo.

Experts assessed the intensity of the typical symptoms of cocaine withdrawal, like cravings, mood swings, and sleep disturbances. During the first week, patients received both medical treatment and cognitive-behavioral counseling. The counseling sessions were held two times a week.

Based on the reports, the subjects who took Propranolol managed to reduce the severity of the cocaine withdrawal symptoms. Although the drug didn’t prove to be that effective for mild symptoms, it seemed to be a viable alternative in cases with severe cocaine withdrawal difficulties.

Another study supported those findings about Propranolol and its effect on severe cocaine withdrawal symptoms. The research also noted that Propranolol may be useful for alleviating anxiety related to withdrawal.

In addition, one clinical trial studied the effects of Propranolol for cocaine dependence. According to the statistics, its blood pressure-reducing capabilities made it a practical alternative for managing symptoms in patients with severe cocaine withdrawal issues.

At the moment, the product is being used for treating irregular heart rhythms and blood pressure, but it could also be useful for managing anxiety and cocaine cravings in those addicted to the substance.

If you want to break your addiction, look for a medical detox center for cocaine addiction near you. To get your life back on track, start with medical treatment as soon as possible.

Propranolol for Opioid Withdrawal

Opioid abuse is a serious problem in the United States. About 10.1 million Americans abused opioids such as heroin and prescription pain medications, according to the 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health.

Picking out the ideal medication for opioid withdrawal symptoms hasn’t been easy either. Not all drugs can handle the intense symptoms, but Propranolol seems to be getting attention.

Stonegate Center Blog - Is Propranolol One of the Most Common Medications Given at Detox Centers? - Propranolol for Opioid Withdrawal

Propranolol is a powerful blocking agent with the potential to manage opioid withdrawal. Research is still limited, although a report noted Propranolol’s ability to disrupt memory. This suggests that Propranolol can inhibit memories associated with the pleasures of opioid use, which could then decrease the risk of a relapse.

Propranolol is often prescribed in smaller doses so that patients get to prevent unwanted side effects. However, these small amounts have not proven to be effective in managing acute physical symptoms of withdrawal issues. The drug can work more on the psychological aspect of opioid withdrawal and less on the physical symptoms.

The sooner you start detoxifying the body, the better. Enroll in a substance abuse recovery program near Fort Worth, like Stonegate Center Creekside for men or Stonegate Center Hilltop for women, for a quick and safe recovery. Anyone who needs a long-term medical detox for opioid abuse can make the most of this type of therapy.

Propranolol for Benzodiazepine Withdrawal

Benzodiazepines are one of the most used and abused sedative-hypnotics on the market. They are just as dangerous as opioids. More than 1 in 8 American adults use benzodiazepines, but 17% of them misuse these powerful medications.

Stonegate Center Blog - Is Propranolol One of the Most Common Medications Given at Detox Centers? - Propranolol for Benzodiazepine Withdrawal

In one study, people abusing the benzodiazepine medication called diazepam were put on Propranolol instead and divided into groups for slow withdrawal and abrupt withdrawal. Members of both groups showed a reduction in anxiety symptoms, but the study authors attributed that to counseling that participants received. This is another area of limited study that would benefit from more research.

Propranolol for Nicotine Withdrawal

Nicotine is a highly addictive substance, published the CDC. Tobacco use is the number one cause of avoidable death, disability, and illnesses; in the U.S., about 40 million people smoke cigarettes, and even the younger generation is at risk of becoming addicted with the influx of new tobacco products. Those who try to quit experience debilitating withdrawal symptoms.

Nicotine withdrawal is closely associated with the constant mood swings and somatic symptoms, like poor focus, negative feelings, weakness, and pain.

Stonegate Center Blog - Is Propranolol One of the Most Common Medications Given at Detox Centers? - Propranolol for Nicotine Withdrawal

Animal research shows that Propranolol could help with nicotine withdrawal issues. Based on the reports, the increased noradrenergic transmission plays a crucial role in opioid withdrawal. Its effects could also prove efficient in patients who are addicted to nicotine from tobacco.

The goal of the study was to analyze the effects of Clonidine, prazosin, and Propranolol on the mood swings and somatic symptoms in rats.

The statistics show that Propranolol and Clonidine proved effective in curbing the somatic symptoms of tobacco withdrawal. The drug had a positive influence on the brain reward functions and helped the subjects cope with the withdrawal.

Another study supported similar results. Based on JAMA Psychiatry reports, Propranolol was effective in reducing nicotine cravings, which could help prevent a relapse in patients struggling with nicotine addiction. Although the results are limited and further clinical trials are necessary, it seems that Propranolol might have the capability to help patients overcome nicotine addiction.

For women who are going through nicotine withdrawal, it’s important that they get a safe place to detox their system. For our female peers out there struggling with addiction, our 90-day residential rehab center for women can provide you with the treatment you need.

Propranolol for Alcohol Withdrawal

Detox is critical for treating alcohol use disorder. However, it can be a grueling, painful process, as you can see with this alcohol withdrawal timeline. Beta-blockers are commonly used to manage the hyperadrenergic state of alcohol withdrawal. Even though agents such as these might correct the autonomic manifestations, beta-blockers can’t be used for managing seizures.

According to one data review, Beta-blockers like Propranolol may be best suited for mild symptoms.

Stonegate Center Blog - Is Propranolol One of the Most Common Medications Given at Detox Centers? - Propranolol for Alcohol Withdrawal

Alcoholism is another serious crisis in the U.S. Over 16 million Americans have an alcohol addiction, but only 7% of those addicts have been admitted to detox treatments for alcohol abuse.

Whenever they try to stop the habit, they will experience a serious and debilitating withdrawal, explained the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

Beta-blockers and Clonidine are commonly used to manage the hyperadrenergic state of alcohol withdrawal. Even though agents such as these might correct the autonomic manifestations, they can’t be used for managing seizures.

Instead, they are paired with benzodiazepines to treat patients with alcohol addiction. Doctors often select a clonidine dose of 0.2 mg, but it could be altered depending on a person’s medical state and withdrawal symptoms.

Beta-blockers, like the Propranolol, could obscure the abnormalities during early alcohol withdrawal. These effects could be effective in avoiding serious alcohol withdrawal complications.

According to one clinical trial, beta-blockers can be helpful for treating patients with alcohol withdrawal syndrome.

It helped volunteers cope with behavioral problems, like agitation and mood swings, and clinical complications, like tremors. All of these benefits can be useful in managing alcohol withdrawal in patients addicted to the substance.

What Does a Typical Treatment Regimen Look Like?

Because of its potent effects, some people may wonder, is Propranolol a controlled substance? It is not; Propranolol is a prescription medication. Only a doctor can recommend the best possible treatment based on your needs. But typically, Propranolol is never used alone. Just like any other beta-blocker, it needs to be paired with a sedative-hypnotic medicine that could help with the detox therapy. Patients also get access to behavioral counseling since medication alone is not enough to cope with the addiction.

Patients also get access to behavioral counseling since medication alone is not enough to cope with the addiction. This drug has multiple uses and can be taken into four different forms. The dose for treatment depends on how much a patient requires to cope with their medical problem, as well as their medical and emotional state.

  • Tablet – One of the most widely used forms of Propranolol is tablets. The effects of the drug can last for over 12 hours, which is more than enough to get the desired effect.
  • Extended-release capsule – This is a similar version to the tablet but lasts much longer. It’s a potent medicine that’s practical to use.
  • Injection – This type of Propranolol form is mainly used in medical settings and is only practiced when patients need a fast-acting drug for quick treatment.
  • Liquid solution – Although the liquid has the same effects as the capsule, it is a lot harder to control the dosage and should only be taken under direct supervision.

Propranolol has a bioavailability of 30% to 70%, the dose can be increased with food, and is mainly excreted through the urine. Therefore, patients who are taking the drug must eat nutritious and healthy foods with plenty of fluids. This can help speed up the metabolism and allow the medicine to work in full force.

Will Propranolol Interact with Other Medications?

Unfortunately, the product is not without its flaws. Propranolol is known to interact with a range of different medications, especially antiarrhythmic medications. Anything that is used to manage heart rhythm disorders can interfere with the beta-blockers.

Propranolol is not supposed to be used alongside other beta-blockers. Similar products like carteolol, nadolol, or sotalol can interact with one another. When used together, they can significantly reduce the heart rate, which could have serious repercussions.

ACE inhibitors and Propranolol are not a good combination either because these medications can interact and cause all sorts of health problems. Patients can experience increased blood pressure, elevated heart rate, or other health complications.

The doctor will also suggest avoiding any stimulants, like caffeine, while taking Propranolol. They will make it difficult for the body to process foods rich in potassium, which will take a toll on your digestive system. That’s why it’s crucial to consult with a doctor before taking this medication.

Is Propranolol Addictive?

Beta-blockers such as Propranolol aren’t typically addictive, but they are usually recommended for short-term use to avoid any potential drug dependency. You may experience Propranolol withdrawal if you take the medication for a prolonged period of time and then suddenly stop using it. Because of this, and many other reasons, Propranolol alcohol or drug rehab treatment should be administered by an experienced medical professional like the ones at Stonegate Center.

The Future of Propranolol

Even since they were introduced, beta-blockers have become a valuable asset to the healthcare industry. They are commonly used medications for all sorts of health complications. Beyond their heart health applications, angina, and hypertension treatment, they’ve been used for mental health and substance abuse. Eventually, they became widely used for multiple conditions like anxiety, glaucoma, and tremors.

Today, one of beta-blockers most practical uses, especially for substance abuse, is their ability to control violent behavior and rage. Individuals who are dealing with withdrawal issues need constant behavior control, and beta-blockers can make that possible. Because of their versatility, beta-blockers like Propranolol have benefits that make them a much better alternative to standard or placebo treatments.

Hopefully, the product’s effects will inspire researchers to invest in further clinical studies that would expand the use of beta-blockers in various treatments. It can be useful for treating congenital heart disease, mental health disorders, and other complications caused by substance abuse. With better treatment, patients will have a much easier time overcoming their addiction.

Get Help from Stonegate Center

Many medications could prove effective for managing withdrawal symptoms, but Propranolol stands out from the rest. It’s a practical product with multiple uses that can prove effective for managing opioid, cocaine, benzodiazepines, and alcohol withdrawal symptoms. This potent beta-blocker can help the system cope with the cravings and make the detox process a lot more bearable.

We offer a medical detox center in Texas that specializes in medication management of withdrawal symptoms, including the use of Propranolol. All of our patients receive exceptional, round-the-clock care in our detox facility to best prepare them for rehabilitation treatment. Contact us today to learn more.


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Stonegate Center
Address: 7510 FM 1886, Azle, TX 76020
Phone: (817) 993-9733
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Stonegate Center is a private faith-based and gender-separate rehab center located in Azle, Texas. We offer long-term residential addiction treatment for men and women struggling with drug & alcohol addiction. Our rehab center serves the communities of Fort Worth, Dallas, and as far as Oklahoma & New Mexico.

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