All pharmaceutical treatments for prevention of PTSD

What are medications for the prevention of PTSD?

Scientific understanding of the neurobiological changes occurring during PTSD onset shows memory consolidation appears particularly vulnerable to disruption in the first six hours after trauma, making this a crucial period for intervention for prevention of PTSD. This technical commentary presents the evidence on pharmaceutical interventions administered during this period. Please also see the psychotherapy for prevention of PTSD topic.

What is the evidence on medications for the prevention of PTSD?

Hydrocortisone is a glucocorticoid, which attenuates heightened fear response through increased removal of fear-inducing memories. Moderate to low quality evidence found a medium to large, reduced risk of PTSD within 3-6 months post-trauma in people with severe physical illness or injury receiving hydrocortisone post-trauma. Risks were not assessed in these samples, so contraindications need checking.

There was no benefit of hydrocortisone over placebo after 6 months post-trauma. There were also no benefits of propranolol, oxytocin, gabapentin, fish oil, dexamethasone, escitalopram, imipramine, or chloral hydrate for preventing PTSD at any time frame. Studies are few and small.

August 2021

Image: ©Soni’s –

Last updated at: 5:05 am, 15th October 2021
To view documentation related to this topic download the files below
Fact Sheet Technical Commentary

NeuRA Libraries

Title Colour Legend:
Green - Topic summary is available.
Orange - Topic summary is being compiled.
Red - Topic summary has no current systematic review available.