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J Neuropsychiatry Clin Neurosci. 1999 Summer;11(3):328-35.

Propranolol treatment of chronically hospitalized aggressive patients.

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Department of Psychiatry, Lenox Hill Hospital, New York, NY 10021-1883, USA.


Violent behavior in psychiatric patients may result in long-term hospitalization. There is no FDA-approved psychopharmacologic treatment for aggression. In this study, 20 chronically aggressive hospitalized patients were administered 1 week of placebo followed by an open trial of increasing doses of propranolol. Patients who had an equivocal or definite clinical response were entered into an open add-on double-blind discontinuation study phase. Aggressive behavior was objectively documented throughout the study. After the open phase of the study, 7 patients had a greater than 50% decrease in aggressive behavior. Four patients entered the double-blind discontinuation phase. The clinical course of 3 of those patients was consistent with the positive response to propranolol. The results of this study are consistent with a therapeutic effect of propranolol in some patients with aggressive behavior. Further studies are indicated.

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