Intended for healthcare professionals

Rapid response to:

Clinical Review

Generalised anxiety disorder

BMJ 2007; 334 doi: (Published 15 March 2007) Cite this as: BMJ 2007;334:579

Rapid Response:

Beta Blockers and Generalised Anxiety Disorder

Well presented clinical review article on Generalised anxiety
disorder by Gale and Davidson however there was no mention of Beta-
adrenoceptor blocking drugs in the drug treatments.
Beta blockers act as antagonists at Beta-adrenoceptors in the sympathetic
nervous system. They are useful in controlling somatic symptoms including
palpitations and tremors that have not responded to short term treatment
with an anxiolytic.

"Beta-adrenoceptor antagonists such as Propranolol have been shown to
produce improvement in the symptoms of patients with anxiety states
particularly the somatic or automatically mediated features of their
condition" (Turner P 1991).

"Beta blocking drugs are useful adjuncts to existing treatments for
anxiety and are likely to enjoy wider use now that bezodiazepine are being
avoided due to their dependence risks" (Tyrer P 1988).
In Generalised anxiety disorder Beta blockers are useful for somatic
symptoms particularly tachycardia (Taylor D et al 2005).

Taylor D, Paton C, Kerwin R. The Maudsley 2005-2006 Prescribing

Turner P. Acad Med, Singapore 1991 Jan: 20(1):43-5.

Tyrer P. Drugs, 1988 Dec; 36(6) 773-83

Competing interests:
None declared

Competing interests: No competing interests

23 March 2007
Hammad A Khan
Specialist Registrar
Ismail M
Wonford House Hospital, Exeter, EX2 5AF