Illegal drug abuse is a serious issue in the U.S. More than 9.2% of the population older than 12 years of age abuse drugs at least once a month. The problem is just 2.3 million of the 21.6 million addicted to a substance receive proper treatment, stated the Foundations Recovery Networks.
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 to treat withdrawal symptoms, including all the reasons why it has become a popular product more medical detox.
What Is Propranolol?
Propranolol (Inderal) is a prescribed medicine primarily used as a beta-blocker. It is known for its multiple treatment capabilities, like managing heart problems, anxiety, 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.
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 3 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, statistics show.
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.
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.
According to Harvard Health, Propranolol is a practical option for addicts at risk of seizures and delirium. This type of medication can ease the 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. An Inpatient Addiction Treatment Center in North Texas, like Stonegate Center, can definitely help. You will get access to a safe facility where you can overcome any addiction, no matter how severe it is.
Propranolol for Cocaine Withdrawal
Over 7.5 million people between the ages of 15 and 34 have tried cocaine once in their lifetime. It is the 2nd most trafficked illegal substance on the globe. Millions of people ask for 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 the National Library of Medicine. With effects such as these, patients can improve their treatment process and take control of their addiction.
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 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 me. 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 U.S. Over 2 million Americans are abusing the substance. More than 90 individuals are admitted to the hospital every day just from opioid overdoses. That makes it a serious national crisis, stated the American Society of Anesthesiologists.
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 a lot of attention, and for good reason.
Propranolol is a powerful blocking agent with the potential to manage opioid withdrawal. Although the research is still limited, it seems that the chemical constituents of the popular drug could prevent the euphoric effects of powerful opioids, like heroin, as found in research published by the Lancet.
In the research, volunteers received a single dose of 10 mg oral Propranolol. The effects of the drug persisted for 24h, even though the subjects kept using heroin. When paired with other similar medications, patients experienced an adverse reaction to the medication. This led to a request for the subjects to continue their Propranolol treatment to prevent consistent heroin use.
This effect can help patients overcome residual cravings and cope with the distressing symptoms of opioid withdrawal. Moreover, this particular medicine is considered a non-addictive drug that is relatively safe to use.
It 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.
Another controlled study published similar results. The efficiency of the Propranolol was compared to a placebo. In the first experiment, subjects who experienced an acute opioid withdrawal phase received 40mg of Propranolol or 20mg of Propranolol compared with Methadone.
During the second experiment, they received 10mg of Propranolol 2 hours prior to getting a 20mg Morphine I.V. treatment. The goal was to reduce the euphoric effects of the morphine so that patients get to successfully control the withdrawal issues.
Based on the reports, none of the medications used displayed narcotic blocking effects. Those who received a 40mg Propranolol treatment managed to cope with the detox process much easier compared to the rest of the participants.
Although there is not much research available on Propranolol for opioid withdrawal, the drug seems to have potential.
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. Over 100 million Benzodiazepine prescriptions were written in the U.S in 2009, statistics show.
Even though they have numerous healthy properties, they can easily be misused. However, managing and treating Benzodiazepine abuse has proved to be very difficult.
In an effort to improve detox care, scientists have studied the effect of beta-blockers, like the Propranolol, for managing Benzodiazepine Withdrawal.
Reports show that beta-blockers are mainly used for managing cardiovascular disorders and high blood pressure, but they can also be used off-label for treating anxiety.
The main reason why detox centers go for Propranolol is that the beta-blocker can be an effective short-term treatment for managing anxiety and phobia. It can also stabilize heart rate, depression, and anxiety. These are all key benefits in controlling Benzodiazepine withdrawal.
Since patients receive a short-term treatment at detox centers, they will need all the powerful medications they can get. Propranolol is a fast-acting drug. It can help with the heart rate, sweating, and tightness in the chest.
However, this medicine is not designed to affect the emotional or psychological aspects of Benzodiazepine withdrawal. It’s mainly used for alleviating any of the physical signs. Try our Drug and Alcohol Rehab Center for men near Dallas-Fort Worth if you are struggling with benzodiazepine abuse.
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.
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
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.
How Does a Typical Treatment Regiment Look Like?
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. This drug has multiple uses and can be taken into four different forms.
- 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.
The dose for treatment will also vary depending on a patient’s medical and emotional state. The amount of medicine depends on how much a patient requires to cope with their medical problem.
Propranolol has a bioavailability of 30% to 70%. It can be increased with food. It 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. These and medications for asthma can interact with the beta-blocker 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 that you avoid any stimulants, like caffeine, while taking Propranolol. They will make it difficult for the body to process the 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.
The Future of Propranolol
Even since they were introduced, beta-blockers have become a valuable asset to the healthcare industry. They are the most 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. But, one of its most practical uses, especially for substance abuse, was their ability to control violent behavior and rage.
Individuals who are dealing with withdrawal issues need constant behavior control, and the beta-blockers can make that possible. Because of their versatility, beta-blockers like Propranolol have acquired mortality benefits that make them a much better alternative to standard or placebo treatments.
Given the high bioavailability, long-term safety, and efficiency, the product has a bright future. Experts believe that beta-blockers are productive and safe antihypertensive drugs that should be implemented as a first line of therapy for multiple health issues.
The currently available data has left a huge impression on researchers to expand the use of beta-blockers. They can be used as monotherapy or adjunctive therapy for patients across the globe. As a result, many are looking to expand these medications in different fields.
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.
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, nicotine, 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.
John Eckelbarger is a Business Development Representative for Stonegate Center. With a BSA in Chemistry from the University of Texas at Austin, he has an interest in the neurobiology of addiction & pharmacology of drugs. He hopes to bolster Stonegate Center to the forefront of addiction medicine through bold, innovative content. He is currently pursuing his MBA in Finance from Texas Christian University.