Snipers and Beta Blockers?

#1
Just watched an episode of Bones I heard that snipers often use Beta Blockers to calm their breathing prior to shooting. This draws my memory to an old game on the playstation in which the main protagonist uses diazepam to calm his nerves.

Now I am not an expert marksman nor a sniper, I am a TA and a S**T shot at that but it sounded strange. Is drugging a sniper a done thing or is it just an interesting rumour for television and gaming purposes.

to me it sounds a little odd as been under the influence of drugs would probably hinder an effective extraction?

Just an interest question though so not getting an answer wouldnt be the end of the world.
 
#2
Total bullshit. Beta blockers will have negative effects on otherwise healthy individuals. Complete nonsense - and you should feel embarrassed for even considering it as a half truth.
 
#4
Ill consider myself embarrassed, Its something I would have normally dismissed but its something that just keeps popping up.

Thanks for the answer though.
 
#5
I dont think its the "done thing" but there are certainly reports of beta-blockers being used by other professions such as musicians and surgeons to control hand tremors, hypertension, breathing etc. Usualy propranolol or similar.
 
#6
jarrod248 said:
Beta blockers will also give you coldness in the extremeties - not something that is good for a sniper or anyone handling weapons especially in cold weather.
They also screw up your sleep.

The amount needed to counter tremors for sniping would be over 80mg pd, taken on a daily basis for the effect to be noticed. You can't just drop a tab and stop shaking.
 
#7
Lower_Jumper said:
Total bullshit. Beta blockers will have negative effects on otherwise healthy individuals. Complete nonsense - and you should feel embarrassed for even considering it as a half truth.
It would appear that the national centre for biotechnology disagrees with you on that bit.

The effect of propranolol versus placebo on resident surgical performance.

PURPOSE: To determine whether propranolol can decrease surgical tremor and anxiety in residents performing ocular microsurgery without impairing patient or physician safety.

METHODS: In this randomized, double-masked, crossover study, 5 third-year ophthalmology residents ingested a capsule containing either propranolol, 40 mg, or placebo 1 hour prior to performing ophthalmic microsurgery. All residents were healthy men under age 30 years. Prior to commencement of the study, all participants had successfully been administered a test dose of propranolol without side effects. The study took place over a 10-week period. At the conclusion of each case, both the resident and attending surgeon observer independently completed a form grading, on a sliding scale: (1) amount of overall tremor; (2) amount of tremor during placement of the first 3 sutures after lens or nucleus extraction; (3) anticipated difficulty of the case; (4) actual difficulty with the case; and (5) anxiety (surgeon only). In addition, the type of procedure performed, complications encountered, and surgeon side effects were recorded. The data were analyzed with a 2-way analysis of variance for unbalanced data.

RESULTS: A total of 73 surgical cases were performed; the surgeons were administered propranolol for 40 cases and placebo for 33. As judged by the resident surgeon, there was a highly significant effect of propranolol in decreasing anxiety (P = .0058), reducing surgical tremor overall (P < .0001), and reducing tremor while placing the first 3 sutures following lens extraction (P< .0001). There was no treatment-by-surgeon interaction for any of the measures. Complications and difficulty of the case, as judged by both the resident and attending surgeons, were not significantly different in the propranolol versus placebo groups (P > .05). There were no side effects reported or observed in any of the surgeons.

CONCLUSIONS: Propranolol, 40 mg, administered 1 hour prior to surgery, significantly decreases tremor and anxiety in the surgeon without untoward effects to the surgeon and the patient. However, it is unknown whether decreased tremor and anxiety improved surgical outcome.
edit to add link http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1298399/
 
#8
Obviously it is a different context, Have any olympic shooters been caught cheating on the CDT's? and if so would it have been needless considering general consensus is "the drugs dont work they just make things worse"

Edit-Just read last post, so the whole idea is debateable?
 
#9
Jerrycan2793 said:
Obviously it is a different context, Have any olympic shooters been caught cheating on the CDT's? and if so would it have been needless considering general consensus is "the drugs dont work they just make things worse"
I was on the picket at the shooting events for the Commonwealth games some years ago (pistol ban) and spoke to the doctor who was there to carry out CDT. Beta blockers were the main thing he was looking for.

Doubt they are used in sniping though to be honest.
 
#11
Jerrycan2793 said:
probably hinder an effective extraction?
Beta blockers are not that sort of drug. The effect is more physical than psychotropic. They lower blood pressure, reduce muscle tremors, regulate heart rate, and have a calming effect reducing stress and fear. It can take a fortnight before they take effect. As Jarrod says, they can cause coldness in extremities, but that is pretty rare, and normally associated with elderly users of the drug. I have been on Atenolol since 2002 to treat mild hypertension, and have recently halved my dose. I have had no side effects, only positive effects (reduced hypertension, feel less stress etc;)

But I don't think that any real advantages would be gained by a sniper in using them anyway. I would have thought amphetamines would be used if needed in times of exhaustion. That may have a detrimental effect on shooting ability, but being a sniper is a lot more than just bullet placement.
 
#13
Yeah I can confirm this story is complete BS

I was on proparnolol for anxiety a few years ago for anxiety . They weren't much good . What was very noticable was when I'd go to the shops and back around trip of about a mile I'd feel like I'd just run a marathon . I'd be drenched in sweat and totally exausted and would have to lie down for a couple of hours

Now if they had this effect on a civvy going to the shops walking on level concrete pavements there's no way a soldier yomping around mountains in Afghanistan would be able to carry ouit his duties . In fact maybe it might be a good idea adding beta blockers to the local water supply out there
 
#15
colton said:
Lower_Jumper said:
colton said:
Lower_Jumper said:
Total bullshit.
Snipers in the military aren't given beta blockers, you idiot.
No one in this thread has stated that beta-blockers are given to snipers... maybe you should learn to read before typing.


Moron
So you don't have any other point outside of one isolated article about one single beta blocker? Quit being a fcuking bellend. The thread is about snipers taking beta blockers and you introduce an obscure article in an effort to counteract a fraction of one point. I think we all know who the fcucking moron is, whiz kid.
 
#16
The Playstation game you're thinking of is Metal Gear Solid. For realism, try Splinter Cell; the protagonist just holds his breath.
 
#18
There are benefits and drawbacks to taking every medicine. I can't think of any that wouldn't hinder some job that a sniper would have to do.
 
#19
Their use is very common in shooting sports.
And a lot of snooker players seem to develop heart problems,which require their use
 
#20
But 'Booth' was a Marine,so it must be true!
Also 'Bones' is certainly on my list,and why are the women in the show all so impossibly attractive?
 
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