Beta-blockers ‘useless’ for many heart attack patients, study reports

June 8, 2017

Source: NHS Choices – Behind the Headlines

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Date of publication: May 2017

Publication type: News item

In a nutshell: “Many patients given beta blockers after a heart attack may not benefit from being on the drugs, suggesting they may be being overprescribed,” The Guardian reports.

Beta-blockers are drugs used to regulate the heart by making it beat more slowly and with less force. They are often used in people who have heart failure or are thought to be at risk of heart failure.

A new study has collected data from England and Wales from more than 170,000 people who had a heart attack but did not have heart failure. The researchers wanted to see if beta-blockers improved health outcomes in this set of patients.

The study compared mortality rates between those who were prescribed beta blockers and those who weren’t when they were discharged from hospital. Though there were fewer deaths one year later among people prescribed beta blockers (5% vs. 11%), the researchers concluded that beta blockers did not affect risk of death once other risk factors and medications were taken into consideration.

Length of publication: 1 webpage

Some important notes: Please contact your local NHS library if you cannot access the full text. Follow this link to find your local NHS library.

Acknowledgement: NHS Choices – Behind the Headlines                

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Use of blood pressure lowering drugs in the prevention of cardiovascular disease

June 9, 2009

Source: British Medical Journal, 2009, 338 (7705) p.1245-1253

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Date of publication: May, 2009

Publication type: Research

In a nutshell: A meta-analysis of 147 randomised controlled trials of blood pressure lowering drugs, to determine their efficacy in preventing coronary heart disease and stroke, and deciding which patients should be prescribed these drugs. A total of 464,000 participants were involved in these trials.

Length of publication: 19 pages