Prereactivation propranolol reduces PTSD symptoms
Prereactivation propranolol, a treatment protocol suggested by reconsolidation theory, shows potential in reducing symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a recent study has shown.
There was a statistically significant 11.50 estimated group difference in post-treatment Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale (CAPS) score, adjusted for pretreatment values (analysis of covariance). The within-group pre- to post-treatment effect sizes (Cohen’s d) were 1.76 and 1.25 for propranolol and placebo, respectively.
The mixed linear model’s estimated time-by-group interaction for the patient-rated PTSD Checklist–Specific (PCL-S) generated an average decrease of 2.43 points per week. The total significant difference was 14.58 points above that of placebo. The pre- to post-treatment effect sizes were 2.74 and 0.55 for propranolol and placebo, respectively.
Analyses per protocol revealed similar significant results for both outcomes.
A total of 60 adults diagnosed with long-standing PTSD were included in this 6-week, double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized clinical trial. The investigators administered propranolol or placebo 90 minutes before a brief memory reactivation session, once a week for 6 consecutive weeks.
They hypothesized a significant treatment effect of trauma reactivation with propranolol vs trauma reactivation with placebo in reducing PTSD symptoms on both the CAPS and PCL-S in an intention-to-treat analysis.
“Replication studies using a long-term follow-up in various trauma populations are required,” the investigators said.
A noradrenergic beta-receptor, propranolol has been used in this study as a putative reconsolidation blocker to reduce PTSD symptoms, they noted.