A very small dose about a half an hour before speaking calms what is termed "speech anxiety". It is well known to calm tremors and it is prescribed as a drug of choice for benign essential tremors.
On a daily basis, taking beta blockers may help calm mild anxiety while treating other conditions such as heart failure. After a heart attack, beta blockers are used preventatively, and anxiety is a common after having an MI. Thus, one medication serves two purposes for beta blocker anxiety.
Beta blockers like propranalol (Inderal), labetalol, and metoprolol are in the class of anti-hypertensives, but they can help with other conditions. Anxiety is just one, but they historically were used to treat migraines before the newer anti-seizure medications were found to be effective in migraine. There are beta receptor sites on the pial blood vessels surrounding the brain. These are the blood vessels responsible for the pounding pain of a migraine. When a beta blocker binds to them, it prevents vasodilation. The response is directly dependant on how many receptor sites a person has. If you do not have a response to this medication in terms of your migraines, it means you might not have enough receptor sites on the blood vessels for the medication to be fully effective.
They also block neurochemicals known as catecholamines. These are responsible for increasing your heart rate during the "fight or flight" response when you are upset. They are used in congestive heart failure, angina, and hypertention. Unfortunately, they can also reduce your exercise tolerance. You won't be able to get your heart rate up as high as you are used to during a work out.
Propranolol is a full B1B2 blocker meaning it blocks all types of beta receptors. Metoprolol, however is only a B1 blocker, but unfortunately is not a sucessfull in treating migraine.
When it comes to headaches, propranolol has been used for prevention of headaches during pregnancy. Since
rising hormones can wreak havoc on emotions once again this medication is a good combination when it comes to beta blocker anxiety. Although propranolol may cause IUGR (intrauterine growth retardation or small baby) this happens at higher doses than what is used for migraine.
Side Effects Of Beta Blockers
This class of drugs has a few side effects. If the medication is used for migraine it may drop blood pressure in about 10% of cases. If this happens, you might feel lightheadness when ever you stand up suddenly. It may also cause constipation, palpitations, odd dreams, and rarely (very rarely) hair loss. If these conditions are happening, contact your physician as a change to another medication within the class may help. In some men it has been known to cause sexual dysfunction.
If you have asthma you cannot take these drugs as there are beta receptors on lung and bronchial tissue and these drugs may cause constriction of the airways. You also should not take them if you have episodes of unexplained low blood pressure or known allergy to the drugs. You also should not take them if diabetic, unless directed by a physician.