Pharmacotherapy in the Aftermath of Trauma; Opportunities in the ‘Golden Hours’

  • Eric Vermetten
  • Joseph Zhohar
  • Harm J. Krugers
Anxiety Disorders (DJ Stein, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Anxiety Disorders


Several lines of research have demonstrated that memories for fearful events become transiently labile upon re-exposure. Activation of molecular mechanisms is required in order to maintain retrieved information. This process is called reconsolidation. Targeting reconsolidation — as in exposure-based psychotherapy — offers therefore a potentially interesting tool to manipulate fear memories, and subsequently to treat disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In this paper we discuss the evidence for reconsolidation in rodents and humans and highlight recent studies in which clinical research on normal and abnormal fear extinction reduction of the expression of fear was obtained by targeting the process of reconsolidation. We conclude that reconsolidation presents an interesting opportunity to modify or alter fear and fear-related memories. More clinical research on normal and abnormal fear extinction is required.


Post-traumatic stress disorder Prevention Reconsolidation Synapses Cortisol Propranolol Animal model 


Compliance with Ethics Guidelines

Conflict of Interest

Eric Vermetten, Joseph Zhohar, and Harm J. Krugers declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eric Vermetten
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Joseph Zhohar
    • 4
  • Harm J. Krugers
    • 5
  1. 1.Department PsychiatryLeiden University Medical Center UtrechtLeidenThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Arq Psychotrauma Research GroupDiemenThe Netherlands
  3. 3.Military Mental Health Research Ministry of DefenceUtrechtThe Netherlands
  4. 4.Department of PsychiatryChaim Sheba Medical CenterTel HashomerIsrael
  5. 5.Swammerdam Institute for Life SciencesUniversity of AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands

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