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January 1986

Propranolol in Ataxia and in Aggression: Central Actions

Author Affiliations

Neuropsychology Laboratory Helen Hayes Hospital Route 9W West Haverstraw, NY 10993

Arch Neurol. 1986;43(1):9. doi:10.1001/archneur.1986.00520010009006

To the Editor.  —A recent letter1 reports treatment of ataxia with propranolol hydrochloride, seeks other reports of trials with ataxia, and asks if there is evidence for a central or cerebellar effect of the drug. Its use with familial, senile, and essential tremor2 and subsequent extension to action tremor following head injury3 has been followed by one other report of use with ataxia.4 Let us hope that citing these two reports together will encourage further study.We have used propranolol to reduce disinhibited aggression after head injury, and this use has been extensively studied elsewhere.5-8 These positive findings suggest, without proving, central action. Also suggestive are reports of use against florid psychoses,9 some types of panic,10 and narcolepsy.11 One should also consider the evidence that reduction of heightened urinary adrenaline with propranolol in alcohol withdrawal12 is mediated by action on brain

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