Beta-Blockers Reduce Risk of Heart Failure in Hypertension

But beta-blockers do not have incremental benefit compared with other meds and increase stroke risk in elderly

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 17 (HealthDay News) -- Although beta-blockers are effective in lowering blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart failure in patients with hypertension, they do not have incremental benefit compared with other antihypertensive drugs and increase the risk of stroke in the elderly, researchers report in the Sept. 23 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Sripal Bangalore, M.D., and colleagues from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York City, performed a meta-analysis of 12 randomized controlled trials involving 112,177 patients with hypertension evaluating beta-blockers for the primary prevention of heart failure.

The researchers found that compared with placebo, beta-blockers reduced blood pressure by 12.6/6.1 mm Hg, reducing the risk of heart failure by 23 percent. Although the antihypertensive efficacy of beta-blockers was similar to other agents, beta-blockers were as effective but had no incremental benefit in the prevention of heart failure, the investigators report. Beta-blockers also did not have any incremental benefit on all-cause mortality, cardiovascular mortality and myocardial infarction, but did raise the risk of stroke in the elderly by 19 percent.

"When compared with other antihypertensive agents, there was similar but no incremental benefit of beta-blockers for the prevention of heart failure," Bangalore and colleagues conclude. "However, given the increased risk of stroke in the elderly, beta-blockers should not be considered as first-line agents for prevention of heart failure."

Two of the study co-authors report financial relationships with the pharmaceutical industry.

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