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Propranolol may interfere with the reconsolidation of traumatic memories brought forth during the reactivation session, thus making them less potent and fear-inducing.

 

It would be a tremendous breakthrough in treating posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) if patients were able to rid themselves of unwanted traumatic memories. Researchers and clinicians once believed that weakening memories might be an impossible task; however, studies over the past decade have found that when stored memories are retrieved, or reactivated, they temporarily enter a malleable state. Once a person stops thinking about a memory, the memory returns to a stable form, a process known as reconsolidation.

 
A drug that interferes with the reconsolidation of a reactivated traumatic memory could potentially weaken or even erase the retrieved memory. A study published January 12 in AJP in Advance suggests that the beta-blocker propranolol might be able to block memory reconsolidation.

 

Adults with PTSD who actively recalled their traumatic event under the influence of propranolol once a week, for up to six weeks, reported a substantial decrease in PTSD symptoms compared with participants who took placebo. This decrease was evident from both the perspective of the patient and clinician.

 

Read in Full:

https://psychnews.psychiatryonline.org/doi/full/10.1176/appi.pn.2018.pp2a2



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