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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Beta-blockers in the severely and profoundly mentally retarded.

The authors present data from four different institutions from open clinical trials of propranolol in 19 mentally retarded patients with IQs less than 50. When customary forms of treatment had failed, propranolol was initiated. A table showing changes in the patients' behavior is included. Twelve patients demonstrated a pronounced improvement in self-abusive and aggressive behavior, four made moderate gains, and three were considered unchanged. The authors postulate that at least some aspects of the behavioral improvement were due to the peripheral anxiolytic action of the beta-blockers. Contrary to other reports of using higher doses (greater than 520 mg/day range), the authors used a mean dose of 120 mg/day and consider the duration of time spent on the medication as a crucial factor in its effectiveness.[1]


  1. Beta-blockers in the severely and profoundly mentally retarded. Ratey, J.J., Mikkelsen, E.J., Smith, G.B., Upadhyaya, A., Zuckerman, H.S., Martell, D., Sorgi, P., Polakoff, S., Bemporad, J. Journal of clinical psychopharmacology. (1986) [Pubmed]
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