Also Known As: Inderal, Propranolol
Propranolol (INN) is a sympatholytic non-selective beta blocker. Sympatholytics are used to treat hypertension, anxiety and panic. It was the first successful beta blocker developed. Propranolol is available in generic form as propranolol hydrochloride, as well as an AstraZeneca and Wyeth product under the brand names Inderal, Inderal LA, Avlocardyl (also available in prolonged absorption form named "Avlocardyl Retard"), Deralin, Dociton, Inderalici, InnoPran XL, Sumial, Anaprilinum (depending on marketplace and release rate), Bedranol SR (Sandoz).
Propranolol is currently being investigated as a potential treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder. Propranolol works to inhibit the actions of norepinephrine, a neurotransmitter that enhances memory consolidation. Studies have shown that individuals given propranolol immediately after a traumatic experience show less severe symptoms of PTSD compared to their respective control groups that did not receive the drug (Vaiva et al., 2003)[full citation needed]. Propranolol reduces the effects of nightmare-related cardiac activity by keeping sinus rhythm low during nightmares, as a higher pulse and increased adrenaline are associated with severe nightmares. However, results remain inconclusive as to the success of propranolol in treatment of PTSD, including nightmares experienced by those with PTSD. There are also many ethical and legal questions surrounding the use of Propranolol-based medications for use as a "memory dampener," including: altering (memory-recalled) evidence during an investigation, modifying behavioral response to past (albeit traumatic) experiences, the regulation of these drugs, and others.
Propranolol in combination with etodolac is currently being investigated in a Phase 3 trial of 400 colorectal cancer patients as a potential treatment for prevention of colorectal cancer recurrence. The aim of this study is to assess the use of perioperative medical intervention using a combination of a propranolol and etodolac in order to attenuate the surgically induced immunosuppression and other physiological perturbations, aiming to reduce the rate of tumor recurrence and distant metastatic disease.
Evidence from June 2008 suggests that propranolol can be used to treat severe infantile hemangiomas (IHs). This treatment shows promise as being superior to corticosteroids when treating IHs, but there are no controlled trials to date that prove this.
Propranolol was investigated for possible effects on resting energy expenditure and muscle catabolism in patients with severe burns. In children with burns, treatment with propranolol during hospitalization attenuated hypermetabolism and reversed muscle wasting.
Propranolol along with a number of other membrane-acting drugs have been investigated for possible effects on Plasmodium falciparum and so the treatment of malaria. In vitro positive effects until recently had not been matched by useful in vivo anti-parasite activity against P. vinckei, or P. yoelii nigeriensis. However, a single study from 2006 has suggested that propranolol may reduce the dosages required for existing drugs to be effective against P. falciparum by 5- to 10-fold, suggesting a role for combination therapies.
Oxford researcher Sylvia Terbeck gave volunteers the beta-blocker propranolol. The volunteers scored lower on a range of psychological tests designed to reveal any racist attitudes than a group who took a placebo. The region of the brain called the amygdala is involved in processing emotion, including fear, and many psychologists think racist feelings are driven by the fear center. Propranolol inhibits the amygdala.