Heart Attack Patients May Not Be Getting Benefits from Beta Blockers, Study Shows

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New research suggests that beta blockers, a medication that reduces blood pressure, may not be beneficial for heart attack patients who have not experienced heart failure. Researchers in Sweden have found that these pills do not improve survival chances in such patients. They are now calling for large randomized clinical trials to determine whether doctors should continue prescribing beta blockers.

Use of beta blockers in patients without heart failure is not recommended

The study, conducted by Dr Gorav Batra from Uppsala University, involved a nationwide analysis and revealed that long-term beta-blocker therapy beyond the first year following a heart attack did not reduce the risk of cardiovascular health problems in patients without heart failure. As a result, beta-blockers, once commonly prescribed for blood pressure, have become less popular as newer and more effective medications have emerged.

Beta-blockers widen veins and arteries, improving blood flow and managing anxiety symptoms. They block stress hormones but may lead to tiredness or dizziness. While they benefit individuals with heart failure, researchers found no impact for those who had a heart attack without heart failure. Dr Batra suggests that long-term use of beta blockers to prevent subsequent heart attacks or death is unnecessary for patients without heart failure.

No difference between heart attack patients on beta blockers

The study did not find any difference between heart attack patients on beta blockers over a year later and those who weren’t on them. Beta-blockers are commonly used for managing heart conditions, including after a heart attack, to lower the risk of further complications. However, it is unclear whether they are necessary for patients with no signs of heart failure or left ventricular systolic dysfunction beyond the first year. Most existing evidence predates changes in heart attack patient care.

According to the study, long-term treatment with beta-blockers did not lead to better cardiovascular outcomes, even considering factors like demographics and other illnesses. This study is considered the largest and most comprehensive of its kind. Ongoing randomized clinical trials will further investigate the effectiveness of long-term beta-blocker therapy in this patient group.

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