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Int J Neuropsychopharmacol. 2001 Dec;4(4):377-83.

beta-Adrenergic blockade and emotional memory in PTSD.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, VA Healthcare System, Long Beach, CA 90822, USA.


Emotional arousal has been shown to enhance memory, an effect that is blocked by propranolol suggesting that the noradrenergic system is important in the mechanism action. Because PTSD has as prominent features heightened arousal and distressing memories, the current study was undertaken to examine whether PTSD subjects differed from controls in emotional enhancement of memory. Seventeen subjects with PTSD and 21 controls received either placebo or 40 mg of propranolol prior to exposure to either an emotionally arousing or emotionally neutral, narrated slide story. Recall, measured 1 wk later, for the arousing story was enhanced and this effect was reduced by propranolol. PTSD and control subjects did not differ in the acquisition and retention of memories under emotionally arousing or emotionally neutral conditions, nor were differential effects of propranolol observed between the two groups.

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