Lower Beta-Blocker Dose May Boost Survival After MI

Dosage should be tailored to the needs of individual patients, researchers say

TUESDAY, Sept. 22, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- Patients treated with low-dose beta-blockers after myocardial infarction may fare better than those given the standard dose, according to a study published in the Sept. 29 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Jeffrey Goldberger, M.D., M.B.A., professor of medicine at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and a cardiologist at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, and colleagues analyzed information on 6,682 myocardial infarction patients. Ninety percent of them were prescribed a beta-blocker.

Every patient on a beta-blocker lived longer than those who were not given this medication, the investigators found. Among those who received a full dose, 14.7 percent died within two years, compared with 12.9 percent who got a half-dose of the drug. Meanwhile, 9.5 percent of the patients on a quarter-dose and 11.5 percent of those on a one-eighth-dose died during this time period.

"We now need to figure out how to dose it in individual patients. That's something no one has considered in the decades that we have been using this medication," Goldberger said in a university news release. "This huge gap in knowledge has been completely unexplored. Since this is medicine we use in every single heart attack patient, we ought to figure out how to use it properly."

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