The Relationship between β-blockers and Mental Health
Keywords:cardiovascular, beta-blockers, anxiety, depression, mental health
Beta-blockers (β-blockers) are pharmacotherapeutics that have been used to treat patients with cardiovascular symptoms since their discovery in the 1960s. They work by targeting B1 and B2 receptors which are involved the stress response, which consequently lead to reduced activation of the “flight-or-fight mechanism”. It has also been noticed that β-blockers can be beneficial in treating anxiety disorders and other mental health complications. Currently, the only approved drugs for anxiety and other mental health conditions include benzodiazepines and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. Historically, there has been strong resistance to the use of β-blockers in mental health treatment because of the prevalence of depressive symptoms during treatment. Recently, a growing number of studies have seen that there is no strong relationship between β-blockers and depression in patients. Although there are still other adverse effects related to the usage of β-blockers, investigating the relationship between depressive symptoms and β-blockers may suggest a potential therapeutic option in mental health treatments. This review explores the history of β-blockers, their mechanism of action, developments in their use as a mental health treatment and current approved pharmacotherapeutics for mental health.
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