Penbutolol | Side Effects, Dosage, Uses & More
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Generic Name:

penbutolol, Oral tablet

All Brands

  • Levatol (Discontinued)
A discontinued drug is a drug that has been taken off the market due to safety issues, shortage of raw materials, or low market demand.
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Highlights for penbutolol

Oral tablet
1

Penbutolol is an oral tablet used to help lower your blood pressure. It can be taken alone or with other blood pressure drugs.

2

Penbutolol is available as a brand-name drug called Levatol. It’s not available in a generic form.

3

Common side effects of penbutolol include headache, dizziness, tiredness, nausea, or diarrhea.

4

Taking penbutolol may lead to heart failure or worsen existing heart failure. If you have symptoms of heart failure, contact your doctor right away.

5

Use this drug with caution if you have diabetes. Penbutolol may block some symptoms of low blood sugar levels, such as a fast heart rate. If you take insulin or other drugs for diabetes, you may need to monitor your daily blood sugar level more closely.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

Heart failure

Penbutolol may lead to heart failure or make existing heart failure worse. If you have symptoms of heart failure, you should contact your doctor right away. Symptoms of heart failure can include:

  • shortness of breath
  • coughing or wheezing that won’t go away
  • build-up of fluid and swelling of your legs, ankles, feet
  • sudden, unexpected weight gain
  • tiredness
  • nausea or lack of appetite
  • confusion
  • a fast heart rate

Breathing problems

Penbutolol should not be used if you have breathing problems, such as asthma, emphysema, and chronic bronchitis. This drug can cause your airways to narrow and make it harder for you to breathe.

Stopping the drug suddenly

Don’t stop taking penbutolol suddenly. This can cause chest pain (angina), an irregular heartbeat, and even a heart attack. Your risk of these problems is higher if you have a history of heart disease. If you need to stop taking this drug, talk to your doctor first. Your dose should gradually be reduced over 1–2 weeks.

Major surgery

If you will be having major surgery, make sure your doctor knows you are taking penbutolol. This drug can prevent your heart from responding to the hormone adrenaline. Also, when combined with anesthesia, penbutolol can lower your heart rate and blood pressure more than usual. These effects increase your risk of complications during surgery. It’s not recommended to stop the drug before the surgery, unless your doctor tells you to do so.

What is penbutolol?

Penbutolol is a prescription drug. It’s available as an oral tablet.

Penbutolol can be used alone or in combination with other blood pressure medications.

Penbutolol is available as a brand-name drug called Levatol. It’s not available in a generic form.

Why it's used

Penbutolol is used to treat high blood pressure.

How it works

Penbutolol belongs to a class of drugs called beta-blockers.

More Details

How it works

Penbutolol belongs to a class of drugs called beta-blockers. A class of drugs is a group of medications that work in a similar way. They are often used to treat similar conditions.

Beta-blockers work by relaxing your blood vessels. This reduces the workload on your heart. It also slows down your heart rate. All of these things help to lower blood pressure.

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penbutolol Side Effects

Oral tablet

More Common Side Effects

The more common side effects that can occur with penbutolol include:

  • headache

  • dizziness

  • tiredness

  • nausea

  • diarrhea

If these effects are mild, they may go away within a few days or a couple of weeks. If they’re more severe or don’t go away, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Serious Side Effects

Call your doctor right away if you have serious side effects. Call 9-1-1 if your symptoms feel life-threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency. Serious side effects and their symptoms can include the following:

  • Heart failure. Symptoms can include:

    • shortness of breath
    • coughing or wheezing that won’t go away
    • build-up of fluid and swelling of your legs, ankles, feet
    • sudden, unexpected weight gain
    • tiredness
    • nausea or lack of appetite
    • confusion
    • a fast heart rate
  • Breathing problems (especially if you have asthma, emphysema, or chronic bronchitis). Symptoms can include:

    • shortness of breath
    • trouble breathing
  • Very slow heart rate. Symptoms can include:

    • tiredness
    • severe dizziness
    • lightheadedness
    • fainting
  • Depression. Symptoms can include:

    • feeling sad or worthless
    • feeling irritable
    • trouble sleeping
    • losing interest in things you used to enjoy
    • thoughts of suicide or harming yourself
  • Low white blood cell levels. Symptoms can include:

    • long-lasting or repeating infections
    • weakness
    • mouth ulcers (sores)
Pharmacist's Advice
Healthline Pharmacist Editorial Team

Penbutolol may cause dizziness and tiredness. Avoid driving and using heavy machinery until you know how this drug affects you.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible side effects. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always discuss possible side effects with a healthcare provider who knows your medical history.
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penbutolol May Interact with Other Medications

Oral tablet

Penbutolol can interact with other medications, vitamins, or herbs you may be taking. An interaction is when a substance changes the way a drug works. This can be harmful or prevent the drug from working well.

To help avoid interactions, your doctor should manage all of your medications carefully. Be sure to tell your doctor about all medications, vitamins, or herbs you’re taking. To find out how this drug might interact with something else you’re taking, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Alcohol interaction

Drinking alcohol while taking penbutolol can worsen some side effects of both penbutolol and alcohol. These include slow reflexes, sleepiness, or slowed decision-making. They also include lightheadedness that occurs when getting up from a seated position (orthostatic hypotension).

Medications that might interact with this drug

Heart drugs

Digoxin is used to treat heart rhythm problems or heart failure. Taking this drug with dexamethasone with penbutolol can lead to a very slow heart rate.

Taking heart drugs called calcium channel blockers with penbutolol can lead to very low blood pressure, slow heart rate, and an irregular heartbeat. Calcium channel blockers include:

  • diltiazem
  • verapamil

Taking heart drugs called catecholamine-depleting drugs can lead to very low blood pressure. These drugs include:

  • reserpine

Anesthetics

Taking certain anesthetics with penbutolol can lead to a large decrease in your heart rate and blood pressure. These drugs include:

  • ether
  • cyclopropane
  • trichloroethylene

Pain drugs

If you take penbutolol with lidocaine, you may need higher doses of lidocaine for pain relief.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs interact differently in each person, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible interactions. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always speak with your healthcare provider about possible interactions with all prescription drugs, vitamins, herbs and supplements, and over-the-counter drugs that you are taking.
Penbutolol warnings
heart failure
People with heart failure

If you have heart failure, taking penbutolol may make it worse. Symptoms of worsening heart failure include increased tiredness, increased shortness of breath and wheezing, sudden weight gain, or increased swelling in your chest, legs, or ankles. if you have these symptoms, call your doctor right away.

breathing problems
People with breathing problems

You should not use penbutolol if you have breathing problems, such as asthma, emphysema, or chronic bronchitis. This drug can cause your airways to narrow and make it harder for you to breathe.

diabetes
People with diabetes

This drug may block symptoms of low blood sugar, such as a fast heart rate. However, you may still notice other signs of low blood sugar such as dizziness, lightheadedness, or sweating. If you’re taking insulin or other drugs for diabetes, you may need to monitor your daily blood sugar level more closely.

thyroid problems
People with thyroid problems

Penbutolol may mask the signs and symptoms of hyperthyroidism, such as a fast heart rate. If you stop taking penbutolol suddenly, your hyperthyroidism symptoms may become severe. You may even require urgent medical care. Tell your doctor if you have any thyroid problems before starting this medication.

kidney disease
People with kidney disease

Penbutolol is removed from your body by your kidneys. If you have kidney disease, more of the drug may stay in your body longer. This raises your risk of side effects. Let your doctor know if you have or have ever had any kidney problems. They may adjust your dose of this drug.

liver problems
People with liver problems

Penbutolol is processed in your body by your liver. If you have liver disease, more of the drug may stay in your body longer. This raises your risk of side effects. Let your doctor know if you have or have ever had any liver problems. They may adjust your dose of this drug.

pregnant women
Pregnant women

Penbutolol is a category C pregnancy drug. That means two things:

  1. Research in animals has shown adverse effects to the fetus when the mother takes the drug.
  2. There haven’t been enough studies done in humans to be certain how the drug might affect the fetus.

Talk to your doctor if you’re pregnant or planning to become pregnant. This drug should only be used if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus.

breastfeeding
Women who are breast-feeding

It is not known if penbutolol passes into breast milk. There is a possibility for serious side effects in infants who breast-feed. Talk to your doctor before breast-feeding your child if you take this drug.

for seniors
For seniors

The kidneys of older adults may not work as well as they used to. This can cause your body to process drugs more slowly. As a result, more of a drug stays in your body for a longer time. This raises your risk of side effects.

for children
For children

This medication has not been studied in children. It should not be used in people younger than 18 years.

call doctor
When to call the doctor

Call your doctor if you become pregnant while taking this drug.

allergies
Allergies

Penbutolol can cause a severe allergic reaction, causing symptoms such as:

  • trouble breathing
  • swelling of your throat or tongue
  • hives
  • rash

If you have an allergic reaction, call your doctor or local poison control center right away. If your symptoms are severe, call 9-1-1 or go to the nearest emergency room.

Don’t take this drug again if you’ve ever had an allergic reaction to it or other NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs). Taking it again could be fatal (cause death).

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How to Take penbutolol (Dosage)

Oral tablet

All possible dosages and forms may not be included here. Your doctor will tell you what dosage is right for you. Your dose, form, and how often you take it will depend on:

  • your age
  • the condition being treated
  • how severe your condition is
  • other medical conditions you have
  • how you react to the first dose

What are you taking this medication for?

High blood pressure (hypertension)

Brand: Levatol

Form: Oral tablet
Strengths: 20 mg
Adult dosage (ages 18 years and older)
  • Typical initial dose:
    • 20 mg by mouth once per day, or
    • 10 mg by mouth once per day (this dosage takes 4–6 weeks to be fully effective) 
  • Typical dose: 20–40 mg by mouth, once daily
  • Maximum dose: 80 mg by mouth, once daily
Child dosage (ages 0–17 years)

This medication has not been studied in children. It should not be used in people younger than 18 years.

Senior dosage (ages 65 years and older)

The kidneys of older adults may not work as well as they used to. This can cause your body to process drugs more slowly. As a result, more of a drug stays in your body for a longer time. This raises your risk of side effects.

Your doctor may start you on a lowered dose or a different dosing schedule. This can help keep levels of this drug from building up too much in your body.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this list includes all possible dosages. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always to speak with your doctor or pharmacist about dosages that are right for you.
Pharmacist's Advice
Healthline Pharmacist Editorial Team

Penbutolol comes with serious risks if you don't take it as prescribed.

If you stop taking the drug suddenly or don’t take it at all

If you don’t take it at all, your blood pressure may get worse. This raises your risk of a heart attack or stroke. Don’t stop taking penbutolol without talking to your doctor, especially if you have severe heart disease. Suddenly stopping this medication could worsen chest pain or cause a heart attack.

If you miss doses or don’t take the drug on schedule

Your medication may not work as well or may stop working completely. For this drug to work well, a certain amount needs to be in your body at all times.

If you take too much

You could have dangerous levels of the drug in your body. Symptoms of an overdose of this drug can include:

  • slower heart rate
  • dangerously low blood pressure
  • trouble breathing

If you think you’ve taken too much of this drug, call your doctor or local poison control center. If your symptoms are severe, call 9-1-1 or go to the nearest emergency room right away.

What to do if you miss a dose

Take your dose as soon as you remember. But if you remember just a few hours before your next scheduled dose, take only one dose. Never try to catch up by taking two doses at once. This could result in dangerous side effects.

How to tell if the drug is working

Your blood pressure should decrease.

Penbutolol is used for long-term treatment.

Important considerations for taking penbutolol
can cut or crush
You can cut or crush the tablet
storage
Store this drug carefully
See Details
refillable
Prescription is refillable
travel
Travel
See Details
self-management
Self-management
See Details
clinical monitoring
Clinical monitoring
See Details
not usually stocked
Not every pharmacy stocks this drug. When filling your prescription, be sure to call ahead.
prior authorization
Insurance
See Details

Store this drug carefully

  • Keep penbutolol at room temperature between 68°F (20°C) and 77°F (25°C).
  • Keep the medication in its original container. Keep the lid tightly closed.
  • Keep this drug away from light.
  • Don’t store this medication in moist or damp areas, such as bathrooms.

Travel

When traveling with your medication:

  • Always carry your medication with you or in your carry-on bag.
  • Don’t worry about airport x-ray machines. They can’t hurt your medication.
  • You may need to show airport security staff the pharmacy prescription label for your medication. Be sure to carry with you the box your medication came in, which has this label.
  • Don’t put this medication in your car’s glove compartment or leave it in the car. Be sure to avoid doing this when the weather is very hot or very cold.

Self-management

Your doctor may ask you to measure and record your blood pressure at home. You may need to purchase a home blood pressure monitor to measure your daily blood pressure between office visits.

Clinical monitoring

Your doctor will monitor your:

  • blood pressure
  • heart rate
  • kidney function
  • liver function

Insurance

Many insurance companies require a prior authorization for this drug. This means your doctor will need to get approval from your insurance company before your insurance company will pay for the prescription.

Are there any alternatives?

There are other drugs available to treat your condition. Some may be better suited for you than others. Talk to your doctor about other options that may work for you.

What does the pill look like?

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Content developed in collaboration with University of Illinois-Chicago, Drug Information Group

Medically reviewed by Creighton University, Center for Drug Information and Evidence-Based Practice on September 18, 2015

Disclaimer: Healthline has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up-to-date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or other healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.
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