Researchers have figured out the people suffering from trauma who take a particular class of common blood pressure medication tend to have less severe post-traumatic stress symptoms. This could mean that ACE (angiotensin converting enzyme) inhibitors or ARBs (angiotensin receptor blockers) may be effective treatment for preventing post-traumatic stress disorder.
“These results are particularly exciting because it’s the first time ACE inhibitors and ARBs have been connected to PTSD, and it gives us a new direction to build on,” said senior author Kerry Ressler, MD, PhD, associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Emory University School of Medicine.
“These data come from an observational study, not a randomized clinical trial, so it is important to limit our interpretation until larger, placebo-control, double-blinded trials can be performed. Still, they provide evidence from a human population that could be followed up in a rigorous controlled trial. This class of medications has been widely prescribed for hypertension for years and their safety profiles are well known, so our results could be translated into action relatively quickly,” stated Ressler.
People with PTSD experience a variety of debilitating symptoms. There are three most predominant: hyperarousal, avoidance/numbing, and intrusive thoughts. Patients taking the ACE inhibitors or the ARBs had a 30% decrease in PTSD symptom scores. No significant differences could be found with other medications. Hyperarousal and intrusive thoughts were the most improved on the two types of drugs.
The effects seem to indicate the physiological basis for the body’s stress responses in PTSD and its relationship to blood pressure regulation.
Source: ScienceDaily, Journal of Clinical Psychiatry