Features December 2007 Issue

When are Beta Blockers the Right hypertension Drug?

Beta blockers are critical in conditions such as heart failure, but uncomplicated high blood pressure can be treated with other medications.

Beta blockers, such as atenolol (Tenormin), metoprolol (Lopressor, Toprol-XL) and propranolol (Inderal, Inderal LA), certainly have their place in the fight to lower blood pressure—just not on the front lines. In cases of uncomplicated hypertension, other medications, such as diuretics, are preferable to beta blockers at protecting against stroke and heart attack, according to an analysis reported in the August 14 Journal of the American College of Cardiology (JACC). However, hypertensive patients who have had heart attacks and who have congestive heart failure, are well-served by beta blockers, the study concludes.

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