The efficacy of early propranolol administration at reducing PTSD symptoms in pediatric injury patients: a pilot study

J Trauma Stress. 2010 Apr;23(2):282-7. doi: 10.1002/jts.20517.


Initial research supports the use of propranolol to prevent posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD); research has not examined pharmacological prevention for children. Twenty-nine injury patients (ages 10-18 years old) at risk for PTSD were randomized to a double-blind 10-day trial of propranolol or placebo initiated within 12 hours postadmission. Six-week PTSD symptoms and heart rate were assessed. Although intent-to-treat analyses revealed no group differences, findings supported a significant interaction between gender and treatment in medication-adherent participants, Delta R(2) = .21. Whereas girls receiving propranolol reported more PTSD symptoms relative to girls receiving placebo, Delta R(2) = .44, boys receiving propranolol showed a nonsignificant trend toward fewer PTSD symptoms than boys receiving placebo, Delta R(2) = .32. Findings inform gender differences regarding pharmacological PTSD prevention in youth.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adrenergic beta-Antagonists / therapeutic use*
  • Child
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Emergencies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Linear Models
  • Male
  • Pilot Projects
  • Propranolol / therapeutic use*
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / prevention & control*
  • Wounds and Injuries / psychology*


  • Adrenergic beta-Antagonists
  • Propranolol