Wednesday, June 10, 2015

10 facts about Beta-blockers's role in heart failure

 Beta-blockers substantially improve survival in chronic heart failure and after myocardial infarction. However, concern about side-effects may deter clinicians from prescribing these life-saving drugs. In reality, absolutecontraindications are rare. Only 3–5% of patients are intolerant because of hypotension or bradycardia. Data from randomized controlled trials and retrospective studies show that most patients eligible to receive beta- blockers tolerate them well. Beta-blockers are not contraindicated in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD); in fact, these patients also benefit because of their high cardiovascular risk. In patients with COPD, as in the elderly, beta-blockers should be started at a low dose and uptitrated slowly. Monitoring of lung function during initiation is important, as undiagnosed coexistent asthma could be revealed. When patients are unaware of the drug in use, erectile dysfunction (ED) is reported no more often with beta-blockers than
with any other drug prescribed for heart failure or hypertension. However, when patients are aware of the potential side-effects of beta-blockers, the resultant anxiety may cause ED. Patients should be reassured  that beta-blockers prolong life and in the great majority are not the cause of ED, which may rather be related to the underlying disease (diabetes, hypertension, and atherosclerosis).

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