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

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