Trauma reactivation under the influence of propranolol: an examination of clinical predictors

Poundja, Joaquin; Sanche, Steven; Tremblay, Jacques; Brunet, Alain
January 2012
European Journal of Psychotraumatology;2012, Vol. 3, p1
Academic Journal
Background: In two recent studies conducted by our group, a treatment combining propranolol with a brief reactivation session subsequently reduced posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptom severity and diagnosis, as well as reducing psychophysiological responses during trauma-related script-driven imagery. One likely explanation for those results is that memory reconsolidation was blocked by propranolol. Objective: We explored the influence of various predictors on treatment outcome (i.e., PTSD severity), and whether the treated individuals improved in other important domains of functioning associated with PTSD. Method: Thirty-three patients with longstanding PTSD participated in a 6-week open-label trial consisting of actively recalling one's trauma under the influence of propranolol, once a week. Results: Treated patients reported a better quality of life, less comorbid depressive symptoms, less negative emotions in their daily life and during trauma recollections. Women were also found to improve more than men. Type of trauma (childhood vs. adulthood), time elapsed since trauma, borderline personality traits, depressive symptoms severity, Axis I comorbidity, and age did not influence treatment outcome. Conclusion: These results must await publication of a randomized-controlled trial to further delineate effectiveness with this novel treatment approach.


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