The type of drugs that are most often prescribed for heart disease are called beta blockers. These relatively low cost drugs have been popular for years but may have been over prescribed in many patients. According to a new study published October 3, 2012 in JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association) some patients may have been needlessly bothered with side effects they didn’t need to be.
Researchers from the NYU School of Medicine, New York found that patients with stable heart disease who took beta blockers were no more likely to die from this disease or have a stroke or heart attack than patients who did not take the drugs. Even though the study is not final, it “is definitely going to make some waves, ” according to Dr. Lydia Bazzano of Tulane University in New Orleans who didn’t take part in the study but does study heart disease prevention. “I think there are probably plenty of people out there who are getting (beta-blockers), but don’t need them,” Bazzano told Reuters Health. Some typical beta blockers are metoprolol and atenolol which lower blood pressure and slow heartbeat.
Beta blockers are believed to prevent another heart attack from happening to patients who have just had one. They can also be useful in some cases of heart failure. In the past, physicians have kept their patients on beta blockers indefinitely because it was believed that staying on the drugs would be a benefit sooner or later. However, researchers are now saying that these attitudes shouldn’t be the current treatment. It is still unknown whether beta blockers can defend against heart attacks in the first place.
Researchers revealed in the study, “Among patients enrolled in the international REACH registry, beta-blocker use was not associated with a lower event rate of cardiovascular events at 44-month follow-up, even among patients with prior history of MI. Further research is warranted to identify subgroups that benefit from beta-blocker therapy and the optimal duration of beta-blocker therapy.”
According to IMS Health, beta blockers are the fifth most widely used prescription drugs in the United States and tens of millions of American take them every day. They also stated that 128 million beta blocker prescriptions were filled in the United States in 2009.
Thanks for reading and to continue to read my articles, please click subscribe just above the comments section. If there is something you want a specific article written about regarding women’s health in Springfield, IL or health in particular, just send me an email to Char.Raynor@yahoo.com.