October 02, 2012
Research examines beta-blocker benefits
observational study has shown beta-blockers are not associated with
a lower risk of heart attacks or stroke in certain groups of heart
Researchers looked at data from more than
44,000 people who were at high risk of coronary heart
disease, had coronary heart
disease, or had suffered a heart
attack some time ago. They found beta-blocker use was not
associated with a lower number of heart attacks and strokes across these groups.
Beta-blockers work by slowing your
heart rate and stopping your heart beating too quickly and
too forcefully. This reduces the amount of work the heart has to do
and also increases the amount of blood your heart is able to pump
with each beat.
If you take a beta-blocker, don’t stop taking it as this could worsen your symptoms
Senior Cardiac Nurse, Amy Thompson, said: “Beta-blockers are
commonly prescribed in the UK to treat a range of conditions,
including high blood pressure
. This study
refines our understanding
of who does, and who
does not, benefit from taking a beta-blocker.
“In this country, the current recommendations
are that everyone who has an acute heart attack should be offered a
beta-blocker, as they have been proven to reduce the risk of a
further heart attack and death. However, these guidelines are under
constant review and the results of this study are
likely to be considered when they are next updated.
“If you take a beta-blocker, don’t
stop taking it as this could worsen your symptoms. If you
have any concerns about your medication, it’s best to talk it over
with your GP first.”
The research from Chicago was published in the
Journal of the American Medical Association.