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Effectiveness of Propranolol For Treating People With Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Information source: Weill Medical College of Cornell University
ClinicalTrials.gov processed this data on August 23, 2015
Link to the current ClinicalTrials.gov record.

Condition(s) targeted: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Intervention: Propanolol (Drug); Placebo (Drug); Cognitive therapy workbook (Behavioral)

Phase: Phase 4

Status: Terminated

Sponsored by: Weill Medical College of Cornell University

Official(s) and/or principal investigator(s):
Margaret Altemus, MD, Principal Investigator, Affiliation: Weill Medical College of Cornell University


This study will evaluate the effectiveness of propranolol in reducing symptoms of distress in people with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Clinical Details

Official title: Efficacy of Propanolol for Treatment of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

Study design: Allocation: Randomized, Endpoint Classification: Efficacy Study, Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment, Masking: Double Blind (Subject, Investigator), Primary Purpose: Treatment

Primary outcome: Clinician Administered PTSD Scale for DSM-IV (CAPS-DX)

Secondary outcome:

Beck Depression Inventory (BDI)

Post-traumatic Scale-Self Score (PS-SR)

Brief Symptoms Inventory-Short Form (BSI-SF)

Detailed description: Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a common and disabling condition, with about 10% of people having experienced PTSD at some point during their lives. The diagnosis of PTSD requires certain criteria: exposure to a severe psychological trauma and the persistent presence of three symptom clusters that include re-experiencing the traumatic event, physiologic hyperarousal, and emotional numbing paired with avoidance of stimuli associated with the event. Stimuli and cues associated with the trauma, such as features of an assailant or accident site, can cause a person to re-experience the traumatic memory and associated feelings of helplessness and fear. When re-experiencing a traumatic memory, people with PTSD usually undergo a heightened stress-related hormonal response that further solidifies new stimulating associations with the traumatic memory. Treatment with propranolol, a blood pressure-lowering drug that reduces stress-related hormonal responses, may be an effective means of preventing the formation of traumatic memories and of improving PTSD symptoms. This study will evaluate the effectiveness of propranolol in reducing symptoms of distress associated with traumatic memories in people with PTSD. Participation in this study will last 14 weeks. All potential participants will undergo a 4-hour initial visit that will begin with a medical and psychiatric history review, a psychiatric interview, and symptom questionnaires. Participants will then be assigned randomly to take a test dose of either propranolol or placebo. Upon completion of the test dose, participants will begin 14 weeks of treatment with their assigned test dose medication. Participants will be asked to take the study medication each time they have a traumatic memory associated with hyperarousal symptoms, but no more than two times a day. Using a cognitive behavioral therapy based-workbook, participants will track their symptoms daily and when they use cognitive techniques to relieve symptoms. Participants will attend study visits every 2 weeks for the 14 weeks of treatment. During these visits, participants will describe any side effects experienced, complete interviews and questionnaires about PTSD symptom severity, review with study officials their daily workbook entries, and pick up medication. Study participation will end upon completion of the Week 14 study visit. For information on a related study, please follow this link: http://clinicaltrials. gov/show/NCT00391430


Minimum age: 18 Years. Maximum age: 50 Years. Gender(s): Both.


Inclusion Criteria:

- DSM-IV diagnosis of PTSD or meets the five of the six diagnostic criteria for PTSD

(event, hyperarousal, re-experiencing, duration, and distress/impaired functioning symptom criteria), but not the avoidance/numbing symptom criteria Exclusion Criteria:

- Past or current asthma

- Diabetes or heart disease

- Currently pregnant or breastfeeding

- Concurrent use of daily benzodiazepine; daily use of antidepressant medication

allowed if dose has been stable for the 3 months before study entry

- Exposure therapy or additional cognitive therapy during the course of the study

(supportive psychotherapy is allowed if ongoing for at least 3 months before study entry)

- Substance abuse

- Current use of beta blockers, amiodarone, chlorpromazine, cimetidine, clonidine, or


Locations and Contacts

Weill Cornell Medical College, New York, New York 10065, United States
Additional Information

Starting date: December 2003
Last updated: June 27, 2012

Page last updated: August 23, 2015

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