A prospective randomised controlled trial has been undertaken to investigate the effect of beta-blockers on outcomes for patients with severe traumatic brain injury (TBI). 219 patients with severe TBI were included in the study and randomised into two groups: 45% were randomly assigned to the BB+ group received 20 mg propranolol every 12 hours for up to 10 days or until discharge. The second cohort, BB-, received no propranolol. When assessing patients with isolated severe TBI (n = 154), researchers found that those in the BB+ cohort had lower overall mortality compared to the BB- cohort (18.6% vs. 4.4%, p = 0.012). The results also demonstrated decreased in-hospital mortality (adj. IRR 0.32, p = 0.04) and improved functional outcome at 6-month follow-up (p = 0.02), suggesting that beta-blockers are a suitable neurointensive therapy under these circumstances. The full report can be accessed here.

Contributed by Australian Medication Safety Services Associate – Isabella Singh