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The first beta-blocker was synthesized in 1958 by researchers at Eli Lilly and was called dichloroisoproterenol, but its significance was not understood until 1962, when researcher James Black created propranolol and pronethalol. Black’s work has been called some of the most important research in the field of pharmacology in the entire 20th century. Later in life, he was honored by the queen of England with a knighthood, making him Sir James Black.

Beta-blockers are a type of medication frequently prescribed for patients with high blood pressure or panic attacks; some beta-blockers have also been used to treat anxiety disorders and to help performers manage stage fright. Beta-blockers function by interfering with the body’s adrenal system. They prevent epinephrine and norepinephrine (the substances produced in the body ...

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