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Use of Beta blockers in treating anxiety attacks - Online Doctor Chats

Date : 21-Feb-2012
User rating for this question
Very Good Posted in: Anxiety and Stress
Answered by

General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2004
Answered : 37 Questions
User :   Hii, ma,y I answer your health queries right now ? Please type your query here...My 12 yr old son started to have severe anxiety attacks when speaking publicly in his school class room. It was extremely severe and we went to a psychiatrist to help work out how to cope with the anxiety. The doctor prescribed zoloft which helped his general frame of mind, but did nothing for the acute anxiety attacks he was experiencing while speaking publicly (even when raising his hand in class). We then learned about Beta Blockers. These have completely done the trick - the problem is, he takes 20 mg of Propranolol daily when going to school. My concern is that he is now 14 and has not gone through any growth spurt. I was a late bloomer but my concern is that the beta blockers are stunting his growth. Do you have any insight here?
Doctor :   Hi
Doctor :   let me read the query
User :   Actually, he started taking the beta blockers when he was about 12 1/2 - has been using them for performance anxiety for 1 1/2 so far
User :   are you there
Doctor :   yes
Doctor :   beta blockers are not responsible for the stunted growth
User :   by the way, this is confidential, yes? Just want to make sure it doesn't go to a discussion forum of some sort
Doctor :   yes it is confidential
Doctor :   this will be with you and me only
User :   do you think it's safe to have a 14 yr old taking beta blockers regularly for acute anxiety?
Doctor :   beta blockers are only symptomatic management of the anxiety
Doctor :   and it is not a curative medicine
Doctor :   bet blockers are safe drugs
Doctor :   it can be taken
User :   yes - I understand that. I am just concerned about the beta blockers somehow interfering with his normal growth/development
Doctor :   i would like to know what treatment is he on for the anxiety apart from beta blockers
User :   none at this time - just a lot of love and support from his parents. I need to run. Thank you very much for the assistance.
Doctor :   beta blockers are not the complete treatment. psychotherapy, CBT, response and prevention, counseling is the treatment of choice in curing the anxiety and not medicines
Doctor :   concentrate on curing the disease and just not the symptomatic management
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