Propranolol in the treatment of narcolepsy

A. Kales, C. R. Soldatos, R. Cadieux, E. O. Bixler, T. L. Tan, M. B. Scharf

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Serotoninergic systems are thought to be involved in production of slow-wave sleep and priming mechanisms that initiate REM sleep, whereas a dysfunction of both non-REM and REM sleep has been identified in narcolepsy with cataplexy. More recently, propranolol was shown to be an antagonist of serotonin's activity in the central nervous system, a property apparently related to a serotonin-receptor blocking effect similar in magnitude to that of methysergide. Our hypothesis that the effect of propranolol on narcolepsy is a function of its serotonin-blocking properties is supported by the reported effectiveness of methysergide in treating narcolepsy; methysergide clearly ameliorated sleep attacks, like propranolol in our study, whereas its effects on cataplexy varied.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)741-743
Number of pages3
JournalAnnals of internal medicine
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jan 1 1979

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Internal Medicine


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