Beta-adrenoceptor antagonists in neuropsychiatry: an update

J Clin Psychiatry. 1988 Jun;49(6):213-23.


Although beta-adrenoceptor antagonists such as propranolol have been used in neuropsychiatry for more than 20 years, their indications, extent of efficacy, and place in therapy remain unclear. In this overview, which concentrates on the recent literature, four indications for use of the drugs are reviewed, with particular reference to efficacy, mode of action, and clinical utility. The indications are anxiety disorders, including performance anxiety; schizophrenia; aggressive behavior; and akathisia. The author concludes that beta-blockers are useful in some forms of anxiety disorder, perhaps those characterized by somatic symptoms and by performance anxiety, and that akathisia seems to be responsive to those drugs. However, the use of high doses of beta-blockers in schizophrenia remains unestablished, and insufficient data are available with respect to their use in aggressive behavior.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adrenergic beta-Antagonists / therapeutic use*
  • Aggression / drug effects*
  • Akathisia, Drug-Induced
  • Antipsychotic Agents / adverse effects
  • Anxiety Disorders / drug therapy*
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Humans
  • Psychomotor Agitation / drug therapy*
  • Schizophrenia / drug therapy*


  • Adrenergic beta-Antagonists
  • Antipsychotic Agents