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New Study-Propranolol, Exercise And Pots

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Neurology. 2013 Apr 24. [Epub ahead of print]
Low-dose propranolol and exercise capacity in postural tachycardia syndrome: A randomized study.

From the Department of Medicine, Division of Clinical Pharmacology, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN.


To determine the effect of low-dose propranolol on maximal exercise capacity in patients with postural tachycardia syndrome (POTS).


We compared the effect of placebo vs a single low dose of propranolol (20 mg) on peak oxygen consumption (VO2max), an established measure of exercise capacity, in 11 patients with POTS and 7 healthy subjects in a randomized, double-blind study. Subjects exercised on a semirecumbent bicycle, with increasing intervals of resistance to maximal effort.


Maximal exercise capacity was similar between groups following placebo. Low-dose propranolol improved VO2max in patients with POTS (24.5 ± 0.7 placebo vs 27.6 ± 1.0 mL/min/kg propranolol; p = 0.024), but not healthy subjects. The increase in VO2max in POTS was associated with attenuated peak heart rate responses (142 ± 8 propranolol vs 165 ± 4 bpm placebo; p = 0.005) and improved stroke volume (81 ± 4 propranolol vs 67 ± 3 mL placebo; p = 0.013). In a separate cohort of POTS patients, neither high-dose propranolol (80 mg) nor metoprolol (100 mg) improved VO2max, despite similar lowering of heart rate.


These findings suggest that nonselective β-blockade with propranolol, when used at the low doses frequently used for treatment of POTS, may provide a modest beneficial effect to improve heart rate control and exercise capacity.


This study provides Class II evidence that a single low dose of propranolol (20 mg) as compared with placebo is useful in increasing maximum exercise capacity measured 1 hour after medication.

  • PMID:
  • 23616163
  • [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]
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Really interesting article Firewatcher! Thanks for posting. My doc has switched me from propanalol to nadalol and have not been able to exercise like I used to ever since. Was blaming it on the relapse I had prior to the switch but now I wonder what part of it the med switch has played. Hmmmm.

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I think, (not with a whole lot of confidence but enough to mention...) that nadalol is also a non selective beta blocker ...so not sure the switch from propanalol to nadalol would explain a lessened exercise capacity..

more hmm...:)

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