STAT

Anxious about a big speech? This startup wants to calm you down — with a cardiac drug you pop like a mint

A startup wants to create a platform for people anxious about an upcoming event to get prescriptions for a cardiac drug that can calm racing hearts.

The pill works like magic, people who’ve used it say, to quell their anxiety around public speaking.

For decades, doctors have written off-label prescriptions for the heart drug propranolol to help anxious musicians, poker players, and tech executives calm their racing hearts and still their trembling hands before a big performance. Now, a San Francisco startup called Kick is planning to bring the beta blocker to a mass market — a plan that’s giving some psychiatrists and psychologists anxiety of a different kind.

Kick wants to become a telemedicine platform that makes it easy for nearly anyone who needs a confidence boost — before a first date, perhaps, or a big work presentation — to get a prescription for propranolol. They just need to pass a screening by filling out an online form and interacting in some way with a physician — the current idea is a video call.

As for the medication itself, Kick has reformulated the traditional pill into a minty lozenge, like an Altoid, that dissolves in your mouth, releasing 10

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from STAT

STAT4 min readWellness
New Evidence Points To Possible Cause Of Puzzling Paralysis In Kids
Researchers say they have strong new evidence that a virus is involved in a rare and puzzling polio-like condition affecting U.S. children.
STAT3 min readSociety
Health Officials Ramp Up Ebola Response After First Cases Reported In Uganda
The 5-year-old boy who was infected with Ebola and crossed into Uganda earlier this week has died, the country’s health ministry said Wednesday.
STAT1 min read
Listen: Biohacking Meets Bureaucracy, And The Latest Twist In CRISPR World
Is biohacking a crime? And who came up with the latest #CRISPR trick? Find out on the latest episode of our #biotech #podcast, "The Readout LOUD." Listen now: