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April 9, 1973

Medical News

JAMA. 1973;224(2):173-182. doi:10.1001/jama.1973.03220150003003

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Propranolol therapy helps some patients with mental disorders  Some surprisingly rapid improvements in mental disorders have been noted in patients given high doses of propranolol, an Israeli investigator told the AMA's First International Health Conference in Tel Aviv.Quite by accident, he and a psychiatrist-colleague noted improvement in a mental patient who had been given the beta adrenergic blocking agent for a cardiac abnormality, Abraham Atsmon, MD, said in his report.This led to a study of 42 patients, most of whom benefited from the drug. Several cases of acute schizophrenia responded to high doses of propranolol, and the same was true of manic depressive patients and persons with post-partum psychosis and agitated depression.On the other hand, the treatment has been mostly unsuccessful in chronic schizophrenics and individuals whose psychoses stem from organic brain damage.Dr. Atsmon is head of the department of internal medicine at Kupat-Holim Beilinson