How does this medication work? What will it do for me?

Pindolol belongs to the class of medications called beta-blockers. It is used to treat high blood pressure and to prevent angina (chest pain). For treatment of high blood pressure, pindolol may be used alone or in combination with other medications that reduce high blood pressure, particularly thiazide diuretics (water pills). Pindolol works by decreasing the demands on the heart.

Your doctor may have suggested this medication for conditions other than those listed in these drug information articles. As well, some forms of this medication may not be used for all of the conditions discussed here. If you have not discussed this with your doctor or are not sure why you are taking this medication, speak to your doctor. Do not stop taking this medication without consulting your doctor.

Do not give this medication to anyone else, even if they have the same symptoms as you do. It can be harmful for people to take this medication if their doctor has not prescribed it.

What form(s) does this medication come in?

This medication is available as 5 mg, 10 mg, and 15 mg tablets.

How should I use this medication?

The recommended dose of pindolol ranges from 5 mg to 45 mg daily, depending on the needs of the person taking the medication. It should be taken with food.

For treatment of high blood pressure, the dose of pindolol is usually started at 5 mg twice daily and increased gradually until the best dose is found. When the dose is less than 30 mg per day, it is taken in 2 divided doses. Doses greater than 30 mg per day are taken in 3 divided doses.

For treatment of angina, the starting dose is 5 mg 3 times a day with food. If the desired response is not reached in 1 to 2 weeks, the dosage may be increased, up to a maximum of 40 mg per day.

Many things can affect the dose of a medication that a person needs, such as body weight, other medical conditions, and other medications. If your doctor has recommended a dose different from the ones listed here, do not change the way that you are taking the medication without consulting your doctor.

It is important to take this medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor. If you miss a dose, take it as soon as possible and continue with your regular schedule. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and continue with your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one. If you are not sure what to do after missing a dose, contact your doctor or pharmacist for advice.

Do not stop taking this medication without first talking with your doctor. Stopping the medication suddenly after you have been taking it for a while may cause unpleasant and potentially harmful effects.

This medication is available under multiple brand names and/or in several different forms. Any specific brand name of this medication may not be available in all of the forms listed here. The forms available for the specific brand you have searched are listed under "What form(s) does this medication come in?"

Do not dispose of medications in wastewater (e.g. down the sink or in the toilet) or in household garbage. Ask your pharmacist how to dispose of medications that are no longer needed or have expired.

Who should NOT take this medication?

Pindolol should not be taken by anyone who:

  • is allergic to pindolol or to any of the ingredients of the medication
  • is receiving or will receive anesthesia (e.g., ether)
  • has a condition known as right ventricular failure caused by pulmonary hypertension (excessive blood pressure in the lungs)
  • has a serious heart block
  • has a severely slow heart rate
  • has asthma or other obstructive respiratory diseases
  • has congestive heart failure
  • has had cardiogenic shock

What side effects are possible with this medication?

Many medications can cause side effects. A side effect is an unwanted response to a medication when it is taken in normal doses. Side effects can be mild or severe, temporary or permanent. The side effects listed below are not experienced by everyone who takes this medication. If you are concerned about side effects, discuss the risks and benefits of this medication with your doctor.

The following side effects have been reported by at least 1% of people taking this medication. Many of these side effects can be managed, and some may go away on their own over time.

Contact your doctor if you experience these side effects and they are severe or bothersome. Your pharmacist may be able to advise you on managing side effects.

  • anxiety or nervousness
  • constipation
  • decreased sexual ability
  • diarrhea
  • difficulty sleeping
  • dizziness or lightheadedness
  • drowsiness (slight)
  • dry, sore eyes
  • frequent urination
  • itching of skin
  • muscle cramps
  • nausea or vomiting
  • nightmares and vivid dreams
  • numbness or tingling of fingers or toes
  • stomach discomfort
  • stuffy nose
  • unusual tiredness or weakness

Although most of these side effects listed below don't happen very often, they could lead to serious problems if you do not check with your doctor or seek medical attention.

Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur:

  • back or joint pain
  • breathing difficulty or wheezing
  • chest pain
  • cold hands and feet
  • confusion
  • depression
  • dizziness upon getting up from a sitting or lying down position
  • fever and sore throat
  • hallucinations
  • irregular heartbeat
  • red, scaling, or crusted skin
  • shortness of breath
  • skin rash
  • slow heartbeat (especially less than 50 beats per minute)
  • swelling of ankles, feet, or lower legs
  • unusual bleeding or bruising

Some people may experience side effects other than those listed. Check with your doctor if you notice any symptom that worries you while you are taking this medication.

Are there any other precautions or warnings for this medication?

Before you begin using a medication, be sure to inform your doctor of any medical conditions or allergies you may have, any medications you are taking, whether you are pregnant or breast-feeding, and any other significant facts about your health. These factors may affect how you should use this medication.

Breathing problems: Patients with asthma and certain other breathing problems should not receive pindolol.

Diabetes: The signs of low blood sugar may not be as noticeable when taking pindolol. People with diabetes who take insulin or other medications that work by reducing the insulin in the blood should be cautious and monitor blood sugar carefully while taking this medication.

Drowsiness/reduced alertness: Dizziness or fatigue may occur when starting treatment with this medication. This may impair your ability to drive or operate machinery. Exercise caution with these activities until you find out whether the medication affects you in this way.

Hyperthyroidism (high level of thyroid hormones): People with hyperthyroidism should be cautious while taking pindolol as it may reduce the symptoms of this condition giving a false impression of improvement. Stopping the medication suddenly could worsen this condition.

Kidney disease: This medication should be used with caution by people with reduced kidney function.

Liver disease: This medication should be used with caution by people with reduced liver function.

Severe allergies: People with allergies severe enough to cause anaphylaxis (a severe allergic reaction where swelling of the face, lips, and throat make it difficult to breathe) should talk to their doctor about what to do if they have an allergic reaction. Pindolol may make it more difficult to treat their allergic reaction with epinephrine.

Skin conditions: Various skin rashes and dry eyes have been reported with use of this medication.

Stopping usage: Pindolol should not be stopped suddenly by those who are taking it to treat angina. There have been reports of severe worsening of angina, and of heart attack or abnormal heart rhythms occurring in people with angina who have stopped this medication abruptly.

Surgery: If you are scheduled for surgery, inform all doctors involved in your care that you are taking this medication.

Pregnancy: Pindolol is not recommended for use by pregnant women.

Breast-feeding: Pindolol passes into breast milk. Its use by breast-feeding mothers is not recommended.

Children: The safety and effectiveness of using this medication have not been established for children.

What other drugs could interact with this medication?

There may be an interaction between pindolol and any of the following:

  • anesthetic agents
  • asthma medications
  • clonidine
  • diabetes medications
  • digoxin
  • diltiazem
  • disopyramide
  • epinephrine
  • felodipine
  • guanethidine
  • lidocaine
  • lithium
  • mexiletene
  • monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitors (e.g., tranylcypromine, phenelzine) taken within the past 2 weeks
  • nifedipine
  • nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs; e.g., naproxen, ibuprofen)
  • other beta-blockers (e.g., propanolol, metoprolol)
  • procainamide
  • propafenone
  • quinidine
  • reserpine
  • verapamil

If you are taking any of these medications, speak with your doctor or pharmacist. Depending on your specific circumstances, your doctor may want you to:

  • stop taking one of the medications,
  • change one of the medications to another,
  • change how you are taking one or both of the medications, or
  • leave everything as is.

An interaction between two medications does not always mean that you must stop taking one of them. Speak to your doctor about how any drug interactions are being managed or should be managed.

Medications other than those listed above may interact with this medication. Tell your doctor or prescriber about all prescription, over-the-counter (non-prescription), and herbal medications you are taking. Also tell them about any supplements you take. Since caffeine, alcohol, the nicotine from cigarettes, or street drugs can affect the action of many medications, you should let your prescriber know if you use them.