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GPs have been given further evidence that they can confidently prescribe ?-blockers in heart failure patients with COPD or asthma.

The University of Texas study of 1,067 patients with chronic heart failure, 35.9 per cent of who were on ?-blockers, found that use of the drugs did not increase respiratory events per year in patients with COPD or asthma.

Researchers claimed: 'The proven mortality benefit of

?-blockers after myocardial infarction and congestive heart failure mandates their use in patients with obstructive lung disease wherever possible.'

Dr Rubin Minhas, a GP in Gillingham, Kent, and member of the Primary Care Cardiovascular Society, said the findings were unsurprising.

He said: 'It's justifiable to try cardioselective ?-blockers in patients who don't have a reactive component to their COPD although most clinicians probably wouldn't feel comfortable to attempt it.' Last week Pulse revealed that GPs remain confused about when ?-blockers are contra-indicated in airways disease.

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