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      Beta-Blockers after Myocardial Infarction: Do Benefits Ever Outweigh Risks in Asthma?

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          Abstract

          β-Blockers are well documented to prolong life in patients after myocardial infarction (MI), yet patients who also have asthma are frequently and understandably denied this therapy. We reviewed the literature (via MEDLINE) for the past 35 years for β-blocker-induced asthma, and reexamined potential β-blocker use in the context of NIH guidelines for asthma classification and management. Because β-blockers can cause fatal or life-threatening asthma, their use should be avoided in moderate to severe persistent asthmatics. Benefits of low-dose β<sub>1</sub>-blockers (e.g. atenolol 50 mg daily) may outweigh risks in some patients with mild intermittent or well-controlled mild persistent asthma. Further study is needed to verify that low doses of β<sub>1</sub>-blockers are effective in prolonging life after MI, and that use specifically in mild intermittent or mild persistent asthma per NIH classification is safe.

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          Most cited references 8

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          Effect of beta-blockade on mortality among high-risk and low-risk patients after myocardial infarction.

          Long-term administration of beta-adrenergic blockers to patients after myocardial infarction improves survival. However, physicians are reluctant to administer beta-blockers to many patients, such as older patients and those with chronic pulmonary disease, left ventricular dysfunction, or non-Q-wave myocardial infarction. The medical records of 201,752 patients with myocardial infarction were abstracted by the Cooperative Cardiovascular Project, which was sponsored by the Health Care Financing Administration. Using a Cox proportional-hazards model that accounted for multiple factors that might influence survival, we compared mortality among patients treated with beta-blockers with mortality among untreated patients during the two years after myocardial infarction. A total of 34 percent of the patients received beta-blockers. The percentage was lower among the very elderly, blacks, and patients with the lowest ejection fractions, heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, elevated serum creatinine concentrations, or type 1 diabetes mellitus. Nevertheless, mortality was lower in every subgroup of patients treated with beta-blockade than in untreated patients. In patients with myocardial infarction and no other complications, treatment with beta-blockers was associated with a 40 percent reduction in mortality. Mortality was also reduced by 40 percent in patients with non-Q-wave infarction and those with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Blacks, patients 80 years old or older, and those with a left ventricular ejection fraction below 20 percent, serum creatinine concentration greater than 1.4 mg per deciliter (124 micromol per liter), or diabetes mellitus had a lower percentage reduction in mortality. Given, however, the higher mortality rates in these subgroups, the absolute reduction in mortality was similar to or greater than that among patients with no specific risk factors. After myocardial infarction, patients with conditions that are often considered contraindications to beta-blockade (such as heart failure, pulmonary disease, and older age) and those with nontransmural infarction benefit from beta-blocker therapy.
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            A randomized trial of propranolol in patients with acute myocardial infarction. I. Mortality results.

            The beta-Blocker Heart Attack Trial (BHAT) was a National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute-sponsored, multicenter, randomized, double-blind, and placebo-controlled trial designed to test whether the regular administration of propranolol hydrochloride to men and women who had experienced at least one myocardial infarction would result in a significant reduction in total mortality during a two- to four-year period. During a 27-month interval, 3,837 persons between the ages of 30 and 69 years were randomized to either propranolol (1,916 persons) or placebo (1,912 persons), five to 21 days after the infarction. Depending on serum drug levels, the prescribed maintenance dose of propranolol hydrochloride was either 180 or 240 mg/day. The trial was stopped nine months ahead of schedule. Total mortality during the average 24-month follow-up period was 7.2% in the propranolol group and 9.8% in the placebo group. Arteriosclerotic heart disease (ASHD) mortality was 6.2% in the propranolol group and 8.5% in the placebo group. Sudden cardiac death, a subset of ASHD mortality, was 3.3% among the propranolol patients and 4.6% among the placebo patients. Serious side effects were uncommon. Hypotension, gastrointestinal problems, tiredness, bronchospasm, and cold hands and feet occurred more frequently in the propranolol group. Based on the BHAT results, the use of propranolol in patients with no contraindications to beta-blockade who have had a recent myocardial infarction is recommended for at least three years.
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              ACC/AHA guidelines for the management of patients with acute myocardial infarction

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                CRD
                Cardiology
                10.1159/issn.0008-6312
                Cardiology
                S. Karger AG
                0008-6312
                1421-9751
                1999
                February 2000
                07 March 2000
                : 92
                : 2
                : 99-105
                Affiliations
                aDepartment of Clinical Pharmacy, and bDivision of Cardiology, Department of Medicine, University of Tennessee, Memphis, Tenn., USA
                Article
                6955 Cardiology 1999;92:99–105
                10.1159/000006955
                10702651
                © 2000 S. Karger AG, Basel

                Copyright: All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be translated into other languages, reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, microcopying, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher. Drug Dosage: The authors and the publisher have exerted every effort to ensure that drug selection and dosage set forth in this text are in accord with current recommendations and practice at the time of publication. However, in view of ongoing research, changes in government regulations, and the constant flow of information relating to drug therapy and drug reactions, the reader is urged to check the package insert for each drug for any changes in indications and dosage and for added warnings and precautions. This is particularly important when the recommended agent is a new and/or infrequently employed drug. Disclaimer: The statements, opinions and data contained in this publication are solely those of the individual authors and contributors and not of the publishers and the editor(s). The appearance of advertisements or/and product references in the publication is not a warranty, endorsement, or approval of the products or services advertised or of their effectiveness, quality or safety. The publisher and the editor(s) disclaim responsibility for any injury to persons or property resulting from any ideas, methods, instructions or products referred to in the content or advertisements.

                Page count
                Tables: 2, References: 72, Pages: 7
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