How quickly does Propranolol work for anxiety?

No need to panic though; just read below, and learn how you can get your timing down to a T when taking Propranolol before an event or performance.


Since the beginning of time, stress and anxiety have always been, and will continue to be, a part of daily life. For our hunter-gatherer ancestors, escaping from predators or physical danger were prime examples of situations that would induce anxiety – and rightly so.

As civilization has evolved, so have the causes and conditions surrounding our anxiety. A fast-paced and stressful environment often characterizes modern-day life and work.

Occasional, short bouts of anxiety can be a good thing; after all, it can help keep us out of harm’s way, allow us to discover our fullest potential, and even give us the motivation we need to take necessary action. But when anxiety gets in the way of our ability to excell at a given task – whether it's giving a speech, performing for a crowd or sitting through a job interview – we may need a little help. 

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Propranolol, a widely used beta-blocker, can block the effects of adrenaline and therby prevent the physical effects of anxiety, such as shaking, sweating, stuttering, shallow breathing, and a rapid heart rate.  As a result, you are able to feel calm and composed, and better perform the task at hand.

When taking Propranolol for performance anxiety, timing is everything. Take the medication too early and you’ll find that the effects have already worn off before it’s your time to shine.  Take it too late, and it may not take effect in time for your big moment.

No need to panic though; just read below, and learn how you can get your timing down to a T when taking Propranolol before an event or performance.


How long before an anxiety-inducing event should I take Propranolol?

Typically, it takes around 30 to 60 minutes for Propranolol to take effect, although it may take longer for some individuals. As a general rule, doctors suggest that you take the medication at least one hour before an event or performance, to reap its full effect.

Usually, a 10mg to 20mg dose is enough to do the trick for anxiety, but in some cases, the dose can be increased up to 80mg. The amount you take can depend on multiple factors including, the severity of your symptoms, your weight, heart rate, blood presssure, and your initial response to the medication.

Propranolol can be taken with or without food.


How long do the effects of Propranolol last?

For a typical dose of 10mg to 20mg, Propranolol remains effective in treating anxiety for 3 to 4 hours.


How long does it take for Propranolol to leave your system?

Once you stop taking Propranolol, traces of the drug can stay in your body for one or two days, however, some side-effects of the medication can last up to a week. 

There are other factors to consider when determining the length of time it takes for the drug to fully exit your system. These include how much you take and how often, your metabolic rate (the slower your metabolic rate, the longer the medication remains inside your body), your age, underlying health issues, and your body mass index (the bigger you are, the longer it will take for the drug to leave your system).

Propranolol and similar beta-blocking drugs can be nothing short of a godsend for individuals suffering from performance anxiety.

When taken responsibly, just as directed, Propranolol is generally very safe. It has been used for decades to treat a whole host of ailments from heart disease to migraines and anxiety. Considering its effectiveness, and mostly minor side-effects, it’s no wonder so many patients attest to the benefits of this medication.

If you’re interested in trying Propranolol to ease your social or performance anxiety, speak with your doctor to determine whether it’s the right treatment for you.



  1. NHS 2018, Propranolol, viewed 27th August 2020,
  2. Young Minds 2020, Propranolol, viewed 27th August 2020,

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