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Paper of the Day- Beta-blockers cut COPD deaths

Patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) could benefit from beta-blockers, despite traditional fears the drugs impair lung function.

US researchers looked at 825 patients admitted with acute COPD exacerbations and compared those taking beta-blockers with those who did not.
After adjusting for potential confounders - including the effect of condiitons that make it more likely to be prescribed a beta-blocker -they found that those taking beta-blockers (n=142) were 60% less likely to die (OR=0.39).
Although long term beta-blockade reduces the risk of death in patients with hypertension, heart failure and coronary artery disease, patients with COPD plus cardiovascular disease seldom receive them because of fears that they may worsen the airways disease.
But the study's authors say their potential protective effect warrants further study - particularly as the drugs were well tolerated in this group of patients.

Thorax online first 31 October

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