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Pharmacy/Propranolol and weight


Daviunbr wrote at 2007-08-24 06:12:23
Beta Blockers can cause weight gain. I believe and  I have found some research to support this.

Research shows that beta blockers and diuretics, the drugs prescribed most often for high blood pressure, cause high blood sugar levels, weight gain, tiredness and impotence.

Most people with high blood pressure have high blood insulin levels that increase their chances of suffering heart attacks, constant hunger and weight gain. Beta blockers, such as atenolol and propranolol, and diuretics such as hydrochlorothiazide, reduce the body's ability to respond to insulin, causing high blood insulin levels that increase risk for heart attacks, diabetes and weight gain. Because of this, drug companies have developed newer beta blockers such as dilevalol, carvedilol and celiprolol that do not raise insulin levels and therefore do not increase a person's chances of suffering heart attacks, diabetes and weight gain.

Most other drugs used to treat high blood pressure, such as angiotensin converting enzyme or ACE inhibitors, have no impact on or even improve insulin resistance and help to prevent heart attacks and control diabetes. In the near future, most cases of high blood pressure will be treated with the newer beta blockers or other drugs in place of the older beta blockers and diuretics.


1) S Jacob, K Rett, EJ Henriksen. Antihypertensive therapy and insulin sensitivity: Do we have to redefine the role of beta-blocking agents? American Journal of Hypertension 11: 10 (OCT 1998):1258-1265. Recent metabolic studies found beneficial effects of the newer vasodilating beta-blockers, such as dilevalol, carvedilol and celiprolol, on insulin sensitivity and the atherogenic risk factors. In many hypertensive patients, elevated sympathetic nerve activity and insulin resistance are a deleterious combination. Although conventional beta-blocker treatment was able to take care of the former, the latter got worse; the newer vasodilating beta-blocker generation seems to be capable of successfully treating both of them.

2) R Fogari, A Zoppi, L Corradi, A Mugellini, L Poletti, P Lusardi. Sexual function in hypertensive males treated with lisinopril or atenolol: A cross-over study. American Journal of Hypertension 11: 10 (OCT 1998):1244-1247.

Checked 8/9/05

Carri wrote at 2007-09-07 13:19:16
HI, I just wanted to add my comment to this - I have been taking Propanolol for migraine for about 2 months now and since my dosage increased (about 1 month ago) I have gained nearly a stone in weight! My eating habits have not changed, in fact I have been trying to cut down, as I was already slightly overweight. I have just read on other sites that rapid weight gain is a major side effect and should be reported immediately. I take no other medication and can find no other reason for this rapid weight gain. Also, my headaches have returned with a vengeance this last week! I am making an appointment with my GP asap!

Bernadette wrote at 2008-01-17 19:00:25
In your answer to having found no reason for weight gain while on propranolol I myself have been taking taking this for 5 weeks and have put 10lbs on. I wasn't sure why I was gaining weight as I wasn't taking any other medication until I remembered that the last time I had taken these tablets the same thing had happened to me. So although there may not be any indications that these tablets will cause weight gain they obviously do and I have now stopped taking them and am looking for an alternative for migraines.

chelley wrote at 2008-02-08 10:43:21
Hi there

I have been taking propanlol for nearly 6 months and i have gained 10lb in weight. Im actually withdrawing it now as it is making my asthma worse and i feel tired and depressed all the time.

Most migraine prevantives cause weight gain - the only one that doesnt is tromiplate (or something like that) but docs wont prescribe it a lot as it has some nasty side effects.

good luck xx

fi wrote at 2008-06-25 18:38:57
It slows your heart rate and also the thyroid function, so it will slow your metabolism. That is how it could affect weight. I have been prescribed it for a long haul flight I am nervous about, but now I am more anxious about this medicine!!! I had wanted simple diazapam (valium), but I have been prescribed this potent heart medication instead! I am thinking I will just need to have a few glasses of wine instead. I do not want to play about with my heart rate. I have very low blood pressure and low heart rate as I do a lot of sport. This medication lowers blood pressure further. I wanted something to relax my mind, not my bodily functions but doctors think valium is addictive so are reluctant to prescribe even for a one off.

JustWondrin wrote at 2008-07-21 00:47:27
I just read  at Drugsdotcom that "sudden, unusual weight gain" was one of the possible side effects.

Cynthia wrote at 2008-12-22 14:12:10
I have taken Propranolol for a few years and it has helped with the severity and frequency of my migraines. In the last 6 months, however, I have gained 36 pounds. At one point I was working with a weight loss program exercising 2 hours a day, and eating all the right foods. I cannot say it was the propanolol since I turned 30, changed jobs, (stress), but I do know I have not changed much in my lifestyle and I have gained an incredible amount of weight. My doctor has taken me off the propranolol gradually and hoping that will tell us something. All my blood work and other tests came back fine, no hypertension, no thyroid problem (even though my mother has a thyroid condition), etc. Check with your doctor. Each person is different and each drug will affect them differently, plus I had a couple years with no real side effects and I am actually back and forth on the gain weight or no migraines because both are awful and limit my abilities.

crazylegs wrote at 2009-03-24 09:39:37
Hi, strangely I was looking to find info on whether propranolol decreases weight.  I have started a course of this for anxiety and its working great with no side effects other than the fact that I have actually lost over 1 stone.  Its made me happier and content in myself which is possibly why I feel the urge to comfort eat less.  I have always been a healthy weight but a little off is a bonus.  My observations of this medication have been that if you follow your regular fitness regime and eat correctly there's no weight gain, in actual fact I found another resource online which says that because everything is working in the body in a more normal fashion due to this medication I have lost the water that I was retaining and trimmed up.  If you find weight going on review your diet and maybe consider a alternative pill with your doctor?

Best of luck. ;o)

Tony M wrote at 2009-07-07 07:59:27
Does Propranolol make you gain weight? You bet it does matey. I was put on Propranolol for stress/panic attacks/rapid heart rate. That was in Feb 09,(it's now July 09), I gained 2 stone(that's 28Ib to the unitiated), in the first two months. Doc said she wasn't worried, but I am. The weight piled on around my middle mostly. I have gone up a waist size and have had to abandon my wardrobe in favour of larger shirts. I am weening myself off now and hope that I return to my normal 'fighting'weight.

I could find no metion of weight gain in the side effects or contra indications text that comes with Propranolol but clearly it does cause weight gain, and rapidly too. I have had other reactions perhaps the worst being the effect they have had on my breathing. I wheeze all the time when on these meds and become breathless very quickly. I could run up two flights of stairs without much of a problem before taking these. I can't do that now and am quite worried about it. They work quite well at stabilising your heart rate and so make you feel calmer, but at what price?  Personally, the sooner I get off these the better.

Mr. Freeze wrote at 2009-07-08 17:35:04
  I am a fairly athletic 22 year-old male pharmacy student currently attending an accredited university in the United States. I visited my primary care physician (PCP) in October 2008 complaining of mild hypertension (135ish mmHG systolic and 80ish diastolic.) and presentation anxiety with tachycardia (rapid heart beat). High blood pressure and anxiety run in my family and are probably attributed to an over-active beta adrenergic system. After taking an increasing dose (tapering up) of propranolol instant release for a month, I was prescribed 80 mg of propranolol SA once daily to treat both high blood pressure and anxiety simultaneously.

  After taking the drug for about 9 months steadily, I can honestly report with my own honest, professional judgement that it has definitely caused me to gain weight. To be exact, I have attributed it to causing me to gain around 15 pounds of non-muscle weight. Before treatment with propranolol, I was 6' 215 lbs with a 32" waistline. I worked out daily (p90x program) and maintained my regular eating habits. I cannot attribute a 15 pound weight gain (as I now weigh 230 lbs. with a 36" waistline) to a change in metabolism, or anything else BUT propranolol.

  Was it a great drug for my presentation anxiety? Definitely. I am now president of an organization at the university I attend and consider it a wonder drug to ease facial flushing and rapid heart beat triggered by anxiety during speeches. Was it a great drug for my hypertension? Marginally. It did drop my systolic pressure to low 130s and diastolic to the low 70s. Do I think it's worth it to gain 15 pounds on a drug used for primarily for presentation-related tachycardia/anxiety? No. I have never had a migraine before, but in pharmacy school we have learned how nasty and debilitating they can be to the patient. If propranolol is working for you or you are curious about its benefits in treating migraines before they occur, I still say go for it. However, I believe you have to keep in mind that you could gain weight even if you stay physically active like I did. You could always consider strict dieting if the weight gain starts to occur. Keep in mind, though that I worked out about 1 hour daily, 6 days a week and still gained weight on the drug.

  We have to remember that propranolol is a non-selective beta blocker. This means it targets a wide variety of beta receptors on many cells throughout the body, not just smooth muscle cells related to migraines. Targeted cells include cardiac cells (B1) in the heart, smooth muscle cells (B2) in the lungs and other parts of the body, and fat cells (B3) globally. If you use a non-selective beta blocker like propranolol, we can be assured that all beta cells are likely targets of the molecule. If you block cardiac contraction B1 cells, you get a slower and weaker heartbeat. This can lead to fatigue during exercise, as the heart is the workhorse of an athlete. If you block smooth muscle relaxation B2 cells in the lungs, you can be assured not as much gas exchange will occur and less oxygen will be available to the fatiguing muscles during exercise. (This is why PCPs are taught never prescribe a non-selective beta blocker like propranolol to an asthmatic patient, as it theoretically narrows airways.) And, finally, if you block fat cell B3 stimulation, you are going to more than likely have less lipolysis and, therefore, less fat cell degradation! All these effects can lead to weight gain for the patient. I believe if a patient's homeostatic body weight is attributed to mainly his/her body's own beta receptor stimulation or lack thereof, a beta blocker could cause them to gain weight due to blockade of regular natural bodily molecules. Conversely, as weight loss (diet pill) drugs work primarily by adrenergic (beta) stimulation, it is easy to guess what happens when we block our own body's natural adrenergic response with a drug like propranolol.

  I am aware this question was already answered a year or so ago, but I feel my own response and personal experience with the medication is valuable to others looking for answers in the future, especially in patients using propranolol to treat panic attacks, general anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). I also understand I do not constitute multiple double-blind, placebo controlled studies. I just want patients to remember that no drug (as of yet) is a perfect drug free from treatment effects. Please consider this statement when starting any new drug.

Samantha wrote at 2009-11-28 05:50:34
Hello all and thanks for the info. I started taking propranolol about 6 years ago for rapid heart rate. I was a wopping size 2 at 100 pounds. Without changing my diet I am not a size 14 and 179. I went to a diet clinic the other day to get on medicine and discovered I couldn't take it because of the rapid heart rate and that is when he told me that propranolol causes weight gain and that his mother started taking it and gained 40 pounds. That was an aha moment. Not only that, I'm tired constantly and can sleep for 16 hours solid if no one wakes me up. I thought I just turned in to a dead beat fatso. Now looking into other options for heart

Judith from wrote at 2010-02-13 10:55:57
I train professionally and started taking propranolol to stop sport enduced migraines which it did but in 3 months i put on a stone whilst training. I have now stopped taking the tablet and have lost half a stone in a week.

Hannah wrote at 2010-03-28 14:22:45
First I want to say thank you to all who've posted here because I finally feel like I'm not alone. I've been on propranolol 10mg/day for 7 years for diagnosed Mitral Valve Prolapse. I am also lucky in that before taking propranolol I had migraines often and this drug seems to have helped that tremendously. The first few years of taking propranolol I noticed no significant weight gain (maybe 5 pounds and then plateau). At the time I also went on two diets and can remember needing to lose 15lbs so the weight must've been bothering me back then too. I believe that maintaining my diet back then probably reduced the amount of weight that I would have gained (had I not been dieting). Now, in the last 2-3 years I have gained 40lbs. I have an annual physical with my doctor and for two years I have told him about the gains of weight and was told not to worry and to "eat less". Thanks to my doctors poor advice I now have 50lbs. to lose to be within my normal healthy weight. I fear also that my heart muscles have probably been damaged by this drug. I want to tell people that I believe that propranolol does cause excessive weight gain. I believe that doctors need to be more upfront with their patients when considering starting a medicine. Consumers should be cautiously aware of all side effects and benefits. I think that propranolol is probably safer to take on a short-term basis, but definitely NOT long term. The more weight we gain, the harder it is to exercise and lose.

Debbie wrote at 2010-09-15 21:18:45
I cannot beleive that I have found such a wealth of information on the side effects of Propranolol on the net and my GP has clearly stated that my excessive weight gain, shortness of breath, sweating after little exersion, severe odema (swollen legs, ankles and arms)and  pain in my legs, has nothing to do with this medication...and it only started after I started taking it in May this year.  In fact, they have referred me to a Rheumatologist who I am due to see tomorrow even though all my blood results are showing there is nothing abnormal. I have been reluctant to stop the medication as I am a migraine sufferer and ended up hospitalised with migrainosis in May this year.  I am hoping that the specialist I am seeing tomorrow will shed some light on this as I will be showing him all the useful feedback that you have provided here.  I'll update you on how I get on.  I'm really pleased to have found this site.  

jball wrote at 2010-10-12 23:34:15
i have been taking propranolol for migraines the last 3 years. got off the stuff two weeks ago and now i have hypertension and heart beat over 100 with chest pains. before i took propranolol my blood pressure was perfect. i am going to go see my doctor.

Tired Of It wrote at 2010-12-10 23:04:40
I am glad as can be to have found this site, so much of what I have read exactly relates to my experience.  I was prescribed Propranolol by both my psych dr for anxiety and cardiac (NP) for the arrythemia I had started having - bad spells.  It did seem to help, although sometimes heart rate got faster, not slow and even. It seems to take about an hr to have effect. Going thru much stress, depression, anxiety and seemed to help with those. But I had gained over 20 pds, then over 30, hands almost suddenly very puffy, then feet and ankles and neck.  Any dr I talked to brushed it off with well you are getting older, and the menopause, be more active.I tried tp be more active and would get more tired, out of breath, overheated- the out of breath was scary, also I had always been a low blood pressure person and it was getting on the high side.  I had been, since late teens, in the 115 to 120 lb area - now 150 or so.  I do not know if short of breath, much increase in bad back aches, short of breath, fatigue are caused by weight increase or medicine itself. It does help with anxiety but is it worth it. Has anybody had experience wtih stopping it or tapering off, or changing medication??  I will also ask question in answer section of this site, but would like to explain those things occured with me, starting in 2006, and continuing to this day -- I thought I would get used to it but all gets worse instead.  The really interesting thing is no dr has addressed or even mentioned these side issues, which turn into discouraging major issues Thank you  

lmgabe wrote at 2010-12-11 04:34:12
I started propranolol in October after a horrible trip to the ER for aura migraine. I gained at least 6lb in approx 2 weeks. This was not normal for me. I called the Dr. and I quote "I've never heard of Propranolol having that side affect". Thank you everyone. Yes, I do agree it helps with the migraines, however, the other side effects aren't quite worth it. Now, I'm having a hard time getting the weight back off.  

Expanding by the day in the uk wrote at 2011-03-11 16:58:26
I'm so relieved that I have found this site. I to was put on Propanol after trying many other Migraine remidies, it works great on the migraines but has increased me in size, considerably! I have gone from a UK size 10 to a 14 in 4 months, weight from 10 st 10 to 12 st 6. And like everyone else, haven't changed my lifestyle or eating habits in this time. No, weight gain isn't listed as a side effect but trust me, it sure is!

little angle wrote at 2011-04-07 22:38:39
I would like to thank everyone who posted their honest experiences on this site.  I was beginning to think I was going crazy.  I have been on Propranolol for 5 months now for high blood pressure.  Yes my moods have balanced out and my blood pressure is back down to normal.  However, I started seeing the weight gain within the first month of taking this medicine.  My family thought it was my mind playing tricks on me.   I told my doctor and he said my gain was contributed to my eating habits.  I argued that I am very aware of what I put in my body and my daily activities.  He said there was no other reason.  So, I changed my food intake and increased my daily exercise.  This did not work.  To today's date, I have gained 15 pounds.  I am 5'1" and cant afford to continue this way.  I am so relieved I now can go to my doctor again with this new found information and request to wing myself off this medicine.  thank you all again for your posts.

lisa wrote at 2011-04-21 10:05:10
I have been taking this drug for 1 year for anxiety and migranes it seems to have been a miricle drug because other drugs I have been described in the past have not worked.  However in the space of a year I have gained nearly 2 stone I still take regular excersize and consider myself to have a fair diet so it is the lesser of 2 evils - be happy and content but bigger or loose the weight but gain the panic attaks and migranes ?.

I just wish I could loose weight by excersizing and diet but I can't but the fear of more panic attaks makes me reluctant to stop taking the propanolol.

Fluffy wrote at 2011-06-11 10:12:03
I am not a doctor, but in my opinion we should consider the possibility that weight gain from propranolol arrives as a result of slowing down your heart rate to a safer level.  If your heart rate is high, say 120 - 180 when you are not exercising, this in a normal individual would be the rate their heart would beat when exercising, hence without exercising a person with an extremely high heart rate is killing the calories as their heart is pumping overtime, a bit like when people using certain recreational drugs experience weight loss.  when that individual starts to take propranolol to reduce blood pressure and reduce heart rate, then they revert to normal and loss the benefit of burning calories quicker, you in effect become on the same playing field as everyone else.  I think it would be better to reduce calorie intake and exercise more, same old cliche.  Again, not a medical opinion , just a personal one, feel free to shoot me down in flames if you disagree :-)

KSearcey wrote at 2011-06-13 21:56:34
Thank you everyone for sharing this information.  My story is similar.  I have been taking Propanolol for 1 year now (because of rapid heart rate secondary to hyperthyroidism, which is now stable) and gained 25 lbs in approximately 1 month.  My doctor acted like I was crazy and that it must have taken longer than that to gain that much weight.  I have been 110-115 lbs for my entire adult life and now am fighting to stay at 135 lbs.  I have always been extremely active, working out for at least an hour a day.  I can no longer run due to severe shortness of breath, though I have replaced that with other activities.  I have cut my calorie intake to 900-1200 calories a day for the past month and have not lost a single pound.  So, the doctor's advice to eat less and workout more has NOT worked so far.  I began looking at other options for what could be causing my weight gain and inability to lose weight and, thank God, I think I finally figured it out.  I will be having a chat with her and slowly stopping this medicine!!  I will post back to let you know if Propanolol was truly the culprit...  

moodyjane wrote at 2011-08-11 15:19:32
After reading the posts on this and other sites (check out for remarks on propranolol)I made the decision two weeks ago to wean off propranolol.  I have been taking 80mg extended release capsules, one daily, for four years for migraine prevention.  It has worked well for that purpose, however, like many others who commented here, I have gained a significant amount of weight (35 lbs) and hate this as well as the extreme fatigue this drug causes.  My  doctor had not heard of propranolol causing weight gain (excuse me?  do you read?) but agreed the fatigue could be a problem.  He recommended amitriptyline as an alternative. No thanks doc.  I have read about using magnesium supplements for headache prevention and will try this rather than starting a new powerful drug with a new or similar set of powerful side effects.

Queen B wrote at 2011-11-27 16:34:52

I too am grateful to this website.  Ok I have been on propranolol for 6 months and have gained 17 LBS and I have increased my exercize.  My question is if my doctor takes me off propranolol will I lose the weight.  I cannot fit in my of my pants.

Viva613 wrote at 2012-01-27 04:18:21
Oh thank god I found this website. I have been taking propranolol for my terrible migraines for 3 months and it has helped my migraines tremendously. I have been wondering about my weight gain however. I have never weighed over 125 lbs and now I am at 140. I have actually increased my exercise and my diet is the same as always. I thought I was going nuts. I can't fit into any of my pants and all my underwear is really tight too. What a relief to find out other people have this issue. For sure this is the cause, nothing else has changed in my life. Good luck to everyone...I hope we can all find something to help our ailments and not gain weight.  

Bailey wrote at 2012-02-08 23:23:25
My neurologist just prescribed propranolol for me to start taking 4 days ago as a migraine preventative. I specifically asked him ahead of time if this medication would cause weight gain and asked that I be given a prescription to try that wouldn't.  He clearly told me this would NOT cause weight gain. In the past 4 days, I've gained THREE pounds without any change to my diet! I came to the net to find some information to see what was going on - my doctor was dishonest from the sounds of what others are writing here and from what I've seen firsthand. This is disappointing.

natali wrote at 2012-02-22 00:35:36
Thank god for the internet.  I have been on Propranolol for nearly 2 years now for prevention from migraines.  I was initially on 80mg slow release dose and increased it to 120mg per day about 7 months ago.  Particularly since the increase in the dose I have noticed about 3 kg weight gain and especialy arond the waist.  I have reduced my caloric intake in the last few months but have not managed to lose any weight.  Nothing else has canged to account for this.  My GP (who is lovely and supportive re: my migraines) doesn not accept that weight gain is related to Propranolol, BUT I KNOW IT IS.  I don't know what to do, as it has been a life saver for my migraines.  Tough decisions.

kitty.lediver wrote at 2012-03-15 03:24:46
Like many of you, I'm so glad I found this site. I've been on Propranolol & Amitriptyline for 3 years to control twice daily migraines with aura, they'd reduced but not stopped the headaches. Anyway. My weight has rocketed by over 3 stone! (42+ pounds). Every time I'd mention it to my GP she'd blame it on my age, (menopause) or say that I could't possibly only be eating what I'd written in my food journal, (Sometimes as low as 900 cals a day). Or actually doing the amount of exercise I'd logged.

Basically...She was calling me a liar! I knew Amitriptyline could mess with one's weight, and after having an acquaintance at a party remark to some of the guests on how big I'd become and I must be "constantly eating" I decided to stop taking them. Well, thankfully I decided to check on Propranolol too.

The tingling in my hands, cold hands, feet and nose, breathlessness, constant tiredness, interrupted sleep, tinnitus? It's all started to make sense. I'm NOT going mad, neither am I falling apart due to age!

The migraines are debilitation, but not as much as all the horrid side effects.

Thank you to everyone who has posted here, there's a chance I can take my life back!  

paula wrote at 2012-03-27 07:38:47
i was on propranolol for 18 months and on a diet for 12 of that but finished heavier than wen i started, the doctor said i had a slow metabolism and would never lose weight even after i told her about this page but i came off the medication anyway, it was time for me, i didnt lose any weight for a month and thought i had got it wrong, i was so frustrated but i perservered and 3 weeks later i have dropped 16 pound and its showing no signs of stopping, so i just wanted to post this for any body that trying to lose weight, there is hope, good luck to everyone and thankyou cause with out everyones input i never would have known it was propranolol xxxx

Mama Kass wrote at 2012-04-12 16:08:31
I am so glad to have found your site. I too have been on both Propranol and amitriptyline for 2years to keep my essential tremor under control. It does a good job of that but at a steep price. I am carrying an extra 30 lbs and I suffer from cold hands feet and nose. I am dizzy and weak for the first hour after I take my meds. My doctor told me that I have to exercise and diet more. Crazy...I have a totally healthy diet and I exercise 20-30 minutes every day.To add to this I have thyroid issues. Thank God I found this site.Now I know I'm not crazy.

Curvy Girl wrote at 2012-04-23 20:53:12
I am so glad for this site.  I am 39, and the mother of two kids with special needs.  To say my life is full of stress is an understatement.  I was diagnosed with IBS 5 years ago and started to have horrible migraines a year ago.  I was put on Amitryptaline for a while, but it left me really dopey.  I was put on Propranolol about 3 weeks ago - 80mg, once a day.  While the migraines have stopped, I have gained 5 and 10 lbs so far.  I thought it was maybe just my IBS making me feel bloated, but some of my clothes that fit a month ago are too tight.  I wondered if weight gain was a sise effect because I am very careful with what I eat - but of course, there is nothing mentioned.  I am just glad that I am not going crazy!  I am going to see my GP as soon as I can to be switched to something else.  Not only is the weight gain bad in general, BUT it has set my IBS to go out of control.

nellybaby wrote at 2012-05-03 16:52:02
Hello fellow weight watchers. It really is a consolation to hear the opinions and experiences of others on propanolol.It just horrifies me that so many of us are fobbed off and disbelieved by our doctors. I have been on propanolol for almost 20 years now and it has successfully controlled my social anxiety. I watched myself gain weight over the years -a total of 4 stone which has now plateaued out.I had several eureka moments when I realised that  medication may be causing the problem-but reading this website has convinced me that indeed propranolol is the culprit. I always watched my figure, controlled my food intake and took regular exercise so I was a trim person when I went onto the medication. I now cannot bear to look at myself in the mirror,have lost all confidence and self esteem and even though my overall anxiety is lessened I always think people are talking about how fat I am.Last year I attempted to wean myself off the medication as I had become so distressed. However I soon discovered that this was a frightening process. I had accelerated heart beat and headaches and generally felt very unwell. I decided after a few weeks that I would go back onto the medication and trade in my figure for control of my anxiety.Even though I abhor what this medication has done to my weight at least I am able to function socially and I have a good quality of life as long as I stay away from mirrors! If anybody has discovered a way to lose the propanolol weight gain apart from diet , exercise etc please let me know. I wish all of you well and I will continue to read and take consolation from all your contributions

migraines or fat...what to do?? wrote at 2012-06-06 23:28:22
Thank you all so much for this information. I thought I was going crazy. I have been taking propanalol for over two years and in the last month have noticed considerable weight gain, 15-20lbs in a month. I thought at first I was just bloated, attributed it to me getting older but now I know I'm not crazy. I am so happy to know it's from the propanalol. I take mine for migraines, which has worked tremendously well, and to regulate my blood pressure nothing else I took worked until propanalol but I am now depressed and uncomfortable about how much weight I have put on. And I too have gained most of the weight around my mid section. I have a dr appointment in a week and I will be discussing this information you all have provided and start to get off this medicine and if need be try something different that won't have weight gain as a side effect. Hopefully the weight comes back off.  

Ash wrote at 2012-06-07 22:28:58
Great to find this site. I was put on propranolol for migraines about 5 weeks ago and in that time I have put a lot of weight around my stomach. I had always been fit and exercised regularly and was a UK size 10 but now I can't fit into my clothes. I am so uncomfortable at work it is all I think about. I had been the same weight give or take a pound for the last 6 years or so but it has piled on since taking these drugs so there is no other reason for it. Like many of you I was told that this wasn't a side effect by my neurologist and I specifically asked my GP when I picked up the prescription as I had read some comments online before taking it. I was told that it wasn't the case. It is very infuriating that the medical profession seem to be so unknowledgeable or are reluctant to accept this side effect is a reality. I also found that I was very depressed and felt I had nothing to look forward to. I am now weaning off the drugs and have had a few migraine attacks since reducing my dose. I am not sure how to tackle the migraines but the side effects of these drugs are just as Debilitating  as the daily aura. If anyone has a good alternative remedy I would love to know. I have read that magnesium and B supplements are beneficial.

Kerry wrote at 2012-06-29 09:05:15
Weight gain.... I have been on Propranolol 80mg sr for 10 months to help with anxiety and a fast heart beat... In thoses months I put on 13lbs going from a size 12 to a 14.. I also felt fatigued all the time..I excersise for an hour everyday and eat a very healthy diet... After reading abut other people with the same problem I decided to see my GP.. Who I must say did agree with me and said it could be the meds that had caused me to gain the weight.. So for the next 3 weeks I weaned myself off the drugs with GP advise.. I am now 10 days with no meds at all...I feel great.. Full of beans!! But the greatest thing is I have already lost 4lbs.. Hopefully this will continue until I return to my normal size 12.. I will learn to control my anxiety by other methods should it return..

Hiking girl wrote at 2012-07-13 00:55:53
So glad I found this site. I was prescribed propranolol just a few months ago. At first I was really happy as my migraines were less frequent and my blood pressure came down. But I've noticed some distressing symptoms that had me worried I was about to have a heart attack or stroke. I've been pretty active physically, mostly hiking, but now I can barely hike a few yards uphill without being short of breath, sweating, and feeling tingling numbness in my arms and hands. And I gained 6 pounds practically overnight, all in my belly, making me look pregnant! I tried exercising more and eating less, but the weight seemed to increase not decrease. I googled propranolol & weight gain just on the chance that it could be the cause, as nothing else in my lifestyle had changed. I'm going to go off this med gradually, even though I'd just as soon go off immediately!

J X wrote at 2012-07-27 12:48:30
I too am really pleased to have found this site. I am 37 with 3 kids and have been taking propranolol for chronic migraine for nearly 2 years - my migraine has certainly decreased in severity. However, I am at least 10 kgs heavier than I was when I began (most noticeably on tummy).  I have, on most days - except when migraine is severe - walked or cycled for an hour or gone for a 30-40 minute jog.  I have cut out all sugar in my diet and eat lots of veggies. My sister and I tried exactly the same diet for 8 weeks, being very meticulous: she lost about 8 kgs and I lost nothing. Very frustrating! I am scared of always being overweight.  I am also scared of constant vision disturbance and aura cause by migraine. Will gradually wean off propranolol and see how it goes. I have always thought propranolol was responsible for weight gain/ inability to lose but this is the first time my suspicion has been raised/ confirmed by so many others - I do not feel so alone.  Thanks X  

jlfoster08 wrote at 2012-08-06 18:17:41
Thanks to all on here. I have been back on these tabs for over a week. Last time I was on them I put over 2stone on but at the same time was missing periods so I thought the weight gain was cause of that. I had scans etc and was told I had polycystic ovaries so I put the weight gain down to that. I then went back on the pill to trigger regular periods and come of proponal as my headaches had stopped and my weight started to come off. Again I thought it was due to my regular periods coming back controlling my cysts.  my headaches have recently come back and doc has put me back on proponal, I have been back on them now a week and a half and I'm already seeing a weight difference again. Reading about all your comments and putting my experience together with it I am stopping them from now! .  

jlfoster08 wrote at 2012-08-06 18:18:05
Thanks to all on here. I have been back on these tabs for over a week. Last time I was on them I put over 2stone on but at the same time was missing periods so I thought the weight gain was cause of that. I had scans etc and was told I had polycystic ovaries so I put the weight gain down to that. I then went back on the pill to trigger regular periods and come of proponal as my headaches had stopped and my weight started to come off. Again I thought it was due to my regular periods coming back controlling my cysts.  my headaches have recently come back and doc has put me back on proponal, I have been back on them now a week and a half and I'm already seeing a weight difference again. Reading about all your comments and putting my experience together with it I am stopping them from now! .  

Cammy wrote at 2012-09-03 16:48:46
I am chiming in to say that I also have had the weird weight gain after being on propranolol for essential tremor for 6 months.  I too have not increased eating, in fact when I noticed the gain start I cut back on intake.  What really is noticeable is the way the weight has accumulated--I call it Michelin Man syndrome--all of it midriff to belly in a very bloated way.  In the past I have weighed 20 lbs more but it was never distributed like this.  I also was depressed and tired while on the 60 mg/day sr dose.  So I am tapering off, now at 20 mg and my weight has begun to drop.  I am treating the tremor with meditation and synching my sleep cycle with natural daylight, which is helping.  At least my dr. did not argue when I told him no more of this drug.  My heart and blood pressure were low normal before, hope they'll be the same now.  Good luck everyone.

Mel Bath wrote at 2012-09-13 07:51:07
I started taking Propranolol (80mg SR) 9 months ago for hypertension. At the same time I started a diet and daily exercise programme in the hopes of losing half a stone before my 50th birthday. Instead of losing weight I started to gain weight. Everyone said it was because I was developing muscle rather than fat. It kept going steadily up and up. In the end I checked the net for Propranolol and weight gain as it was the only thing that made any sense and lo and behold! I went back to my doc to change to something else to be told that all hypertension treatments cause weight gain so she didn't advise changing them. I really wonder what this drug is doing for me. My blood pressure still spikes alarmingly, I still get migraines, I still have heart rhythm issues and now I'm fat, tired and depressed!

kosey1 wrote at 2012-09-15 14:33:00
i was given propranolol due to my heart rate and my hyperthyroidism i have been taking everyday for 2 months i have no weight gain as well as no relief from everything speeding up in my body on top of that my anxiety is hiher thank goodness for my xanax xr for this does work i was without it for a month and put on this propranolol twice once by my primary care DR. then my endocrinologist.i take 40 mg 4 times a day as my primary dr had me on 20 mg 3 times a day i was taking the 20 mg up until i had my thyroid removed radiation iodine,that is the day my endocrinologist put me on a hiher dose, i had asked him cuz if i could quit taking my high blood pressure pills i had not put down what i had been taking as she my dr had put me on them after i had seen him so i was thinking please work as i have been jumping out of my skin trembling hands,anyhow i stop taking something thats not working im still at 120 i lost 30 pds starting taking my xanan xr and i feel much thanks to the propranolol.oh by the way i allready had anxiety/panic disoreder before the hyperthyriodism came into my life who would of thought a tiny gland in your throat could reduce you to feeling like you cant do the simplelist task.just want to feel better, thanks for listening.

Misled wrote at 2012-11-01 17:18:59
I was given propanalol 160mg daily for Essential Tremors. I specifically told my neurologist not to prescribe anything that would cause weight gain. One month later I had gained 10 lbs and my job very physically active all day. I quit after six weeks on the meds and I'm still gaining !!! 6 more lbs!!! I'm hoping once the meds are out of my system I can work this off. Very angry for being misled.  

Kaitejake wrote at 2012-12-04 07:13:12
I'm a recovering anorexic with severe migraines, heart palpitations, and tremors. My neurologist prescribed this hoping to handle all three issues. I've been on it for three weeks now and have gained 4 pounds. I was fortunate enough to relapse shortly before starting this medication. So I've been eating 300-500 calories a day plus exercise. Prior to starting this medication I would have lost weight, now I have to stay under 500 a day or I gain. I'm not pleased.

Jsama2012 wrote at 2013-02-15 16:00:38
I started taking propanolol 3 years ago for Benign essential tremors. Within 5 months I gained almost 50 pounds. I was eating healthy and was walking 1-2 miles per day. In Sept of 2012 I elected to stop taking it. In October I was weighed at my Doctors office at 263 lbs. After 2 months of not taking the medication I suddenly began consistently craving liquids (and urinating 15-20 times a day). I also went a period of 3 weeks in January with blurred vision to the point where I could not read without the use of strong prescription glasses. My tremors returned as well. As of February, my eyesight returned (but not 100%) and I have now lost 40+ lbs. My cravings have slowed down  and my blood pressure is normal. Lately however I have felt as though my blood sugar is low. I have not been able to find on-line the effects of stopping the medication. Has anyone else experienced these issues?

Kath wrote at 2013-04-12 14:15:52
Glad to know I'm not alone. I've been on propranolol for nearly four mths fit essential tremor and severe anxiety with associated chest pain and tachycardia. The dose is still low but has been doubled in the last wk where I'm now on a total of 40mg daily in split doses of 10mg each. I've got a slight build and due to stress and anx have actually lost weight in the last fortnight, about 2kg and I'm underweight anyway. It's such a fine balance. Since dose increased I'm a little more tired and kinda spaced out but hopefully this will ease with time as I know some of it is just stress response. It's been the first thing to really help my anx and associated physical effects of the same. Wish it would cause me weight gain though. At least PTSD under control now and anx attacks rare. I'm so grateful for this med right now :)

bktodd wrote at 2014-02-03 20:26:32
I am so glad I found this website! I suffered from headaches, high blood pressure and hyperthyroid. GP started my on 80mg a day. My headaches were still there so he raised my dosage to 240 a day! I have gained almost 20lbs in 3 months without eating any differently, and hasn't helped my symptoms at all! My hands and feet swell up and tingle and are always cold (always been very hot natured before), and even my nose gets cold. All of that I can deal with.... but the extra ton around my middle that I didn't need, I can't. I have decided today, after reading all of your entries... I'm done with Propranolol!

CLJ wrote at 2014-09-26 18:54:58
I am so glad I looked up this subject as I couldn't understand why I had gained weight so quickly after starting taking Propranolol 6 weeks ago - especially around my middle. I intend to stop it as I had started exhausting myself out with all the extra exercise I was trying to do - also couldn't understand why I was feeling so breathless and hot doing it compared to normal. My diet hadn't changed.  

Yoya wrote at 2014-10-23 17:36:40
Just like most of you, I gained weight like crazy when I started taking propranolol.  I exercise, even eat less than how I used to, and still keep gaining weight.  I never really had weight issues before I was put on this blood pressure drug, I gained 30 lbs. in less than 2 years.  My doctor keeps saying it's not this drug, but I don't know what else to blame. I'm glad I read all your posts, I thought I was the only one suffering from this side effect of propranolol.

Yoya wrote at 2014-10-23 17:36:40
Just like most of you, I gained weight like crazy when I started taking propranolol.  I exercise, even eat less than how I used to, and still keep gaining weight.  I never really had weight issues before I was put on this blood pressure drug, I gained 30 lbs. in less than 2 years.  My doctor keeps saying it's not this drug, but I don't know what else to blame. I'm glad I read all your posts, I thought I was the only one suffering from this side effect of propranolol.

Marc wrote at 2014-10-31 16:36:57
Eureka! I began taking propranolol 9 months ago for a heart valve problem, and although I had low blood pressure to begin with my doctor prescribed it to keep the pressure off my valve.  No problem for awhile (once my body adjusted to beta blockers, which took about 8 weeks), but I noticed progressive weight gain.  At first I thought it was because I hadn't been exercising regularly (I had to undergo surgery for a different problem), and I'd stopped running after 35 years of putting in 15-20 miles/week.  But then I noticed the weight gain getting progressively worse.  I tried severe dieting - things that had worked for me in the past - and my eureka moment came when I fasted (yes, fasted) for 2 days and actually gained a pound!  

Absolutely, without a doubt, propranolol causes weight gain.  I'm now going to ask my doctor for other, non-insulin-affecting beta blockers.  

London wrote at 2015-01-08 14:04:29
Hi, I am on Propranolol and have been for about 7 months, in recent months my weight around my middle has dramatically increased, although my friends don't see any difference, I know it's there, my stomach feels so different! Like I am ALWAYS bloated? I'm so grateful I am not alone in this. I am going to stop taking the Propranolol as it is definitely the cause as my weight keeps going up even though I'm on a very low calorie diet and exercising more than I ever have! Will the weight go pretty soon after stopping the  Propranolol? Anyone know? :)  

Kitty wrote at 2015-03-04 11:21:30
I am yet another person who has gained weight since taking Propranolol and feel like a Michelin Man as the weight has gone around my middle. Overall I have gained about 10kg and like many of you feel that my diet has not changed dramatically enough to cause that amount of weight gain. I am also ridiculously tired at times. I went on Propranolol for anxiety and tension headaches and am now reducing the dose and aim to completely come off it soon. Here's hoping the weight will come off!!!!!

Perth wrote at 2015-04-04 11:18:07
I just started taking propranolol in the last week and I am already feeling extremely bloated and noticing my belly pushing through onto my shirts. My belly is so painful and bloated that I have not been able to eat or drink without discomfort, so I have been avoiding doing so. But also I have been so thirsty but not drinking much water and yesterday I urinated once of a volume of approximately 50ml, which felt like razor blades. I haven't yet noticed any change in migraines and probably won't as the tablets are in the bin. Why would doctors prescribe medicine for one problem but create several others in doing so?

Kiss my arse propranolol, I wouldn't recommend you to anyone!


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Barbara Judge


Outpatient pharmacy and general health. I have recently completed a Pharmceutical Care Certificate Program offered by Purdue University (Spring 1999 completion). I have personal experience dealing with terminally ill persons and their needs, as well as their families` needs. I graduated in 1984 from Pharmacy School and have been a Licensed Pharmacist since then. I have 18 years retail pharmacy experience. Prior to my pharmacy training I have 3 years hospital experience as a Nurse`s Aide.

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