Learning is fundamentally linked to epinephrine, acetylcholin and dopamine.

Do heart pressure medication like beta blockers block these processes to some extent by reducing epinephrine?


1 Answer 1


Your question has the implicit assumption that beta-blockers prevent or impair the ability to learn new information. This is incorrect. There were a series of studies done in the 1980s addressing this topic. These were reviewed in an Archives of Internal Medicine (now JAMA Internal Medicine) study that concluded: "There is a suggestion in the literature that such agents [beta-blockers] may actually improve performance on complex tasks requiring well-controlled anxiety plus coordinated input from memory, perceptual motor functioning, and learning." Subsequent studies have looked at the effect of lipophilic beta-blockers like propranolol that can cross the blood-brain barrier and arrived at similar conclusions.

If your question was referring to memory consolidation during stressful situations, there's a recent meta-analysis that suggests that propranolol has limited utility in preventing traumatic memory reconsolidation.

Learning involves a complex system beyond the three neurotransmitters you've listed, one that is still being investigated. Complex systems can rarely be understood from first principles e.g. if X, then Y.


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