Pindolol - a beta-blocker

Treatment with pindolol is usually long-term. Do not stop taking it without speaking to your doctor first as this can cause problems.

The most common side-effects are feeling tired or dizzy, sleeping problems, and cool hands and feet.

About pindolol

Type of medicine A beta-adrenoceptor blocking drug (often referred to as a beta-blocker)
Used for Hypertension (high blood pressure)
Angina (chest pain)
Also called Visken®, Viskaldix® (pindolol with clopamide)
Available as Tablets

Pindolol belongs to the group of medicines known as beta-blockers. Beta-blockers slow down the activity of your heart by stopping messages sent by some nerves to your heart. They do this by blocking tiny areas (called beta-adrenergic receptors) where the messages are received by your heart. As a result, your heart beats more slowly and with less force. This allows the pressure of blood within your blood vessels to be reduced. Because your heart is beating more slowly, it uses less energy and angina attacks are also less likely to occur.

Before taking pindolol

Some medicines are not suitable for people with certain conditions, and sometimes a medicine may only be used if extra care is taken. For these reasons, before you start taking pindolol it is important that your doctor or pharmacist knows:

  • If you are pregnant, trying for a baby or breast-feeding.
  • If you have asthma or breathing difficulties.
  • If you have kidney problems.
  • If you have low blood pressure or poor circulation.
  • If you have diabetes.
  • If you have psoriasis (a skin problem).
  • If you have myasthenia gravis (a condition causing muscle weakness).
  • If you have been told you have a slow heartbeat, heart failure, or heart block (a slow and irregular heartbeat).
  • If you have been told you have Prinzmetal's angina (chest pain caused by spasms of your heart's blood vessels).
  • If you have phaeochromocytoma (a tumour on your adrenal gland).
  • If you are taking other medicines, including those available to buy without a prescription, herbal and complementary medicines.
  • If you have ever had an allergic reaction to a medicine, or if you have ever had any other severe allergic reaction.

How to take pindolol

  • Before you start this treatment, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet from inside the pack. The leaflet will give you more information about pindolol and a full list of side-effects which you may experience from taking it.
  • Take pindolol exactly as your doctor has told you. Your dose will depend upon the reason why you are taking it, but as a guide, it is usual to take 1-3 doses daily. Your doctor or pharmacist will tell you what the right dose is for you and this dose will also be on the label of your pack to remind you.
  • Try to take your tablets at the same times of day each day, as this will help you to remember to take them.
  • You can take pindolol tablets before or after meals.
  • If you forget to take a dose, take it as soon as you remember (unless it is nearly time for your next dose, in which case leave out the missed dose). Do not take two doses together to make up for a forgotten dose.

Getting the most from your treatment

  • Try to keep your regular appointments with your doctor. This is so your doctor can check on your progress.
  • It is very important that you follow any dietary and lifestyle advice that you have been given by your doctor, such as eating a healthy diet, not smoking, and taking regular exercise.
  • If you drink alcohol, ask your doctor for advice about taking pindolol and alcohol. Alcohol will add to the blood pressure lowering effect which will make you feel dizzy and may not be recommended for you.
  • If you have diabetes you may need to check your blood glucose more frequently, as pindolol may affect the levels of sugar in your blood. It also may block the symptoms of low blood sugar. Your doctor will be able to advise you about this.
  • If you are having an operation or dental treatment, tell the person carrying out the treatment that you are taking pindolol. This is particularly important if you are likely to be given an anaesthetic.
  • Treatment with pindolol is usually long-term so continue to take these tablets unless your doctor tells you to stop. Stopping treatment suddenly can cause problems in some people, so your doctor will probably want you to reduce your dose gradually if this is necessary.
  • If you buy any medicines, check with a pharmacist that they are suitable to take with pindolol. This is because some medicines (including some anti-inflammatory painkillers) may affect the way pindolol works.

Can pindolol cause problems?

Along with their useful effects, most medicines can cause unwanted side-effects although not everyone experiences them. These usually improve as your body adjusts to the new medicine, but speak with your doctor or pharmacist if any of the following side-effects continue or become troublesome.

Common pindolol side-effects
What can I do if I experience this?
Feeling tired or dizzy If this happens, do not drive or use tools or machines until you feel better
Feeling or being sick Stick to simple meals - avoid rich and spicy foods. If you are not already doing so, try taking your doses after meals
Headache Ask your pharmacist to recommend a suitable painkiller
Feeling short of breath If this happens, speak with your doctor as soon as possible
Cold extremities (fingers, toes and nose), feeling depressed, nightmares or disturbed sleep, reduced desire for sex and difficulties getting an erection If any of these become troublesome, speak with your doctor

If you experience any other symptoms which you think may be due to this medicine, speak with your doctor or pharmacist.

How to store pindolol

  • Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
  • Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.