Neuropsychiatric effects of cardiovascular drug therapy

Seth Keller, William H Frishman
Cardiology in Review 2003, 11 (2): 73-93
Various cardiovascular drugs have been shown to have neuropsychiatric effects that can be harmful or therapeutically beneficial to patients. As an example, both sedation and mental depression have been described in patients receiving centrally acting antihypertensive drugs and beta-adrenergic blockers, related to their antiadrenergic actions. In contrast, because of these antiadrenergic actions, agents like clonidine have been used to treat opiate, alcohol, and nicotine withdrawal, while beta blockers have been used to treat symptoms of performance anxiety, migraine, and psychocardiac disorders. Some antiarrhythmic drugs have been associated with delirium, and digitalis toxicity has been shown to cause hallucinations, mania, euphoria, and depression. The calcium-channel blocker verapamil has been used as an adjunctive treatment in patients with bipolar disorders. Since neuropsychiatric symptoms are seen in patients with cardiovascular disease, clinicians should be aware of the possible relationship between these symptoms and concurrent cardiovascular drug therapy.

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