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Propranolol - UK drugs shortage, you gotta laugh!


I’ve been taking Propranolol for 2.5 years. As my GP was clueless about its use as a preventative I ‘wasted’ over a year on too low a dose to control enough symptoms, but once increased by a second neurologist’s recommendation and following about 8 months on the upped dose I really started to see results. I’m now 18 months into the upped dose, steady balance (no rocking) and generally at about 85%. Even had a very few days 100%. Still doesn’t take much to wind it up but many symptoms much reduced most particularly the extreme photophobia. So on I go with the Propranolol, or so I thought. I do have an added complication in that I have GERD which means some brands cause me chronic indigestion which has been attributed to their outer coating,

There is a current and ongoing shortage of the twenty most commonly prescribed drugs. I’ve written elsewhere about it months back. I had already been advised it might be difficult to obtain my preferred brand. Last month I collected some of my pill allocation and an IOU! This month I have been given a full quota of a totally different brand. This morning I spoke to the pharmicist about the possibility of obtaining my usual brand and was told that would be impossible. Nobody (stockists) have any although he suggested I might want to ring around myself to different chains to be sure. After a brief discussion on the various possible reasons for the national shortage he told me it’s not just a question of ‘my’ brand being unavailable but Propranolol generally being in short supply and said it could happen that there would be no Propranolol available anywhere at all, at which point he suggested my best bet might be to go back to my GP and just ask to be put on some totally different drug instead!. Just as if it were only that easy!

‘Out of the mouths of babes …!!

Just thought my fellow MAVers might appreciate the joke.



Just some brands or all Propanolol?

I saw this:



Granted. There are generics being produced but he’s saying too many peope chasing too few drugs. Just like the current Eppipen crisis. I suspect one firm allowed to get the monopoly. Too few drugs being produced to meet demand. Of course it’ll affect the other drugs too, Ami’s another I saw and various anticonvulsants

MP? That’s an idea but they are all Brexit-blind currently I suspect. Helen.


I went chasing ‘mine’ but no he’s referring to all Propranolol supplies generally, and no he wasn’t being awkward, he’s great guy. Always exemplary in terms of helpfulness. I’ll flag him that in case. Helen.


If that’s the case definitely write to your MP, now!


My friendly but much harrassed pharmacist had already been down this route but it’s always worth a try. Helen


They are usually quite responsive.

Let’s stop Brexit!


I’ve emailed my MP✍🏻


oh my! sorry. I totally understand you since now I am always fearful of not being able to affor my meds!


That’s the downside of the more modern meds and brands.

Ami is ‘two pence a pill’ they say. (though in the UK we pay a standard £9 whatever the prescription I believe, so long as the medication is approved. - Helen correct me if I’m wrong here)


Correct, one standard charge per prescription which can include alot of items. Don’t think there’s upper limit. Pharmacists are good usually and will advise if it’s actually cheaper to buy OTC rather than on prescription as sometimes happens but if course some drugs are onky available on doctor’s prescription,

I think you will find Ami has increased dramaticaly in price recently, price the NHS pay manufacturer for it. All twenty most commonl prescribed drugs have. Propranolol has gone up from £1.99 a packet of 28 pills to £19.i9 if I;m to believe all I’ve read. As they are ‘older’ drugs guess they are cheaper than newer inventions not that we have a choice. It’s not like buying jar of coffee after all. Helen


Have today had letter from my MP saying he has taken up my case with Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health so we shall see. My husband reckons they will say there is no shortage and I’m deluded! Mmmm. Helen


Excellent! At least he made the effort and all these things will weigh on their minds!

Well done Helen!