The applied pharmacology of beta-adrenoceptor antagonists (beta blockers) in relation to clinical outcomes

Cardiovascular Drugs and Therapy
J D Fitzgerald

Abstract

Despite the fact that beta blockers were introduced into clinical practice 25 years ago, new beta blockers with differing kinetic and dynamic profiles continue to be developed and marketed. This overview assesses some of the more extensively studied agents from the point of view of proof of utility and the validity of claims for therapeutic advances. The clinical data suggests that despite the expectations of improvements based on kinetic and dynamic consideration, none of the newer agents have been shown unequivocally, either in terms of efficiency or tolerability, to be an advance over the reference agents, the beta 1 antagonists atenolol and metoprolol. This may be either because such improvements will not occur or because of shortcomings in the design and duration of comparative studies. There are trends to suggest that celiprolol has lesser effects on bronchial function and that it has a lesser impact on lipoprotein profiles. Approaches are suggested that might enable clinicians to appraise for themselves the validity of claims for the improved efficiency of new beta blockers.

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