Cognitive function in hypertensives treated with atenolol or propranolol

Diane M. Palac, Richard D. Cornish, Walter J. McDonald, Ann Middaugh, Diane Howieson, Susan P. Bagby

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Study objective:To test reports that beta blockers, particularly lipopbilic forms, impair cognitive function and cause psychiatric disturbances. Design:Randomized, double-blind, controlled crossover trial with eight-week treatment periods. Patients:Sequential sample of 43 male veterans, with untreated diastolic blood pressures (DBP) between 90 and 110 mmHg, aged 35-64 years. Interventions:Propranolol-LA, 80-mg tablets, or atenolol, 50-mg tablets, were given daily, incremented by one tablet at weekly intervals until DBP ≤90 mmHg. Hydrochlorothiazide was added, if necessary. Main results:Repeated-measures ANOVA was performed on all cognitive tests. Cognitive test performance was not affected by beta blocker therapy in seven of nine tests and was enhanced on Trail Making Test. Performance was impaired only on Digit Cancellation. Neither Speilberger's State Trait Anxiety Inventory nor the Beck Depression Inventory was affected by either beta blocker. Conclusions:Atenolol or propranolol therapy does not impair cognitive function or contribute significantly to psychiatric side effects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)310-318
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of general internal medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1990
Externally publishedYes


  • beta blockers
  • cognitive function
  • hypertension

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Cognitive function in hypertensives treated with atenolol or propranolol'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this