Efficacy of beta blockers in the management of problem behaviours in people with intellectual disabilities: A systematic review

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


  • Frances Ward
  • Priyanka Tharian
  • Meera Roy
  • Shoumitro Deb
  • Gemma Unwin

External organisations

  • NHS Foundation Trust
  • St. George's Healthcare National Health Service Trust
  • Hammersmith Hospital


Both medication and non-medication based strategies are used in the management of problem behaviours in individuals with intellectual disabilities. Beta-adrenoceptor blocking medications are one group of drugs used for this purpose. However, despite its regular use, the evidence for the efficacy of these drugs for in this context is lacking. A systematic review was conducted to establish the research evidence for the efficacy of beta blockers in problem behaviours in adults and children with intellectual disabilities. Although the research identified supported the efficacy of beta blockers for this indication the overall quality of studies identified was poor and no randomised controlled trials were identified. There is a need for more robust research into the use of beta blockers for people with intellectual disabilities who show problem behaviours.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4293-4303
Number of pages11
JournalResearch in Developmental Disabilities
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2013


  • Autism spectrum conditions, Beta adrenergic blockers, Intellectual disability, Problem behaviours, Propanolol, Self-injurious behaviour