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Beta-Adrenergic Receptor Blocking Drugs in Psychiatry

James W. Jefferson, MD
Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1974;31(5):681-691. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1974.01760170071012.
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Beta-adrenergic receptor blocking drugs have been employed in a variety of psychiatric conditions with variable success. The beta blockers appear to have an antianxiety action that is best established in the treatment of psychocardiac disorders but is less well defined with regard to other anxiety related conditions. A paucity of studies comparing them with conventional anxiolytic drugs is one reason for not presently recommending their widespread use.

As antipsychotic agents, the beta blockers have shown promise in studies that, at present, must be considered preliminary, while they clearly have potential as tools for investigating the neuropharmacology of psychosis. If future research with these compounds proceeds in an organized, scientific fashion, the beta-adrenergic receptor antagonists will quite likely become established as effective psychotherapeutic drugs.

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