Beta Blockers May Reduce COPD Exacerbations

Cardio selective beta blockers reduced the relative risk of COPD exacerbations in a recent study.

Beta blockers typically used to treat cardiovascular problems or stress have the potential to reduce the risk of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) flare-ups or worsening symptoms.

It’s suspected that beta blockers are responsible for tightening airway muscles, resulting in difficulty breathing. COPD exacerbations usually involve an increase in breathlessness.

However, prior research has suggested beneficial effects of B-blockers in COPD patients, and researchers wanted to explore and analyze if this was true.

The study looked at 1621 COPD patients within the Rotterdam Study, who were followed until exacerbation occurred. Researchers also gathered data on the use of different beta blockers and whether the COPD patient experienced any heart failure.

The study reported that the use of cardio selective beta blockers reduced the relative risk of exacerbations by 21%. Furthermore, patients with heart failure saw an increase in benefit and had a reduced risk of 55%.

“The overlap in symptoms and risk factors associated with lung and heart disease can be complicated and we know that a reduction in lung function is also associated with a reduction in heart function,” said lead author Lies Lahousse. “These preliminary findings offer a useful insight into the potential benefits of beta blockers for patients living with heart disease at the same time as COPD. If randomized controlled trials confirm our findings, we could see promising clinical implications.”