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Propranolol in the Control of Schizophrenic Symptoms

Br Med J 1974; 4 doi: (Published 14 December 1974) Cite this as: Br Med J 1974;4:633
  1. N. J. Yorkston,
  2. Saniha A. Zaki,
  3. M. K. U. Malik,
  4. R. C. Morrison,
  5. C. W. H. Havard


    All schizophrenic symptoms remitted completely in six out of 14 adults who had not responded to phenothiazine drugs and who were then given propranolol. Another patient improved markedly and four improved moderately. Two had minimal or transient improvement, and one left hospital unchanged after a short, severe, toxic reaction. The six with complete remissions all began to improve within a few days of starting propranolol and the florid symptoms remitted completely after three to 26 days. They were stabilized on a daily dose of 500-3,500 mg of propranolol and at the time of writing had remained well for up to six months. Two patients who stopped propranolol after their symptoms remitted relapsed severely within a few days. Toxic effects (ataxia, visual hallucinations, and confusional states) were related to the rate of increase rather than to the absolute dose of propranolol. After the procedure was modified unwanted effects were usually mild or absent.