PTSD Medications and High Blood Pressure

On November 3rd, 2016, researchers in Philadelphia discovered that medications used for PTSD in veteran therapy treatments are more effective in patients with high blood pressure.

Researchers involved in the study of the drug prazosin, which is used in veteran’s mental health counseling treatments and shown to reduce the symptoms of PTSD, found that  roughly one third of all those who take prazosin do not respond to the drug at all. A study that offers some reasoning behind this finding was published in the journal Biological Psychiatry where the author makes the suggestion that this form of PTSD therapy may be more effective in patients with higher blood pressure.

“These findings suggest that higher standing blood pressure is a biomarker that can contribute to a personalized medicine approach to identifying soldiers and veterans with combat PTSD likely to benefit from prazosin,” lead researcher Murray Raskind said in a press release.

The form of mental health therapy was tested on 67 soldiers who had recently come back from the Middle East, and was conducted over the course of 15 weeks. In the test, 32 veterans receive prazosin, while the remaining 35 received a placebo. It was discovered from the study that patients with higher blood pressure had a better response than those with lower blood pressure. Veteran counselors believe that this will help them tailor their patient’s therapy.

“The increase in blood pressure in these PTSD patients may be a biomarker for patients who are more likely to benefit from prazosin,” Biological Psychiatry editor John Krystal explained. “If so, it may be a useful indicator of activation of noradrenergic activation associated with PTSD in these patients.”

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is a mental health issue that affects combat veterans, and survivors of natural disasters, trauma, or abuse. The illness is categorized by thoughtless behavior, negative feelings and sporadic flashbacks. Prazosin is intended to treat the illness by blocking the stress chemicals adrenaline and noradrenaline.

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