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Beta-blockers may cut risk of death in COPD patients

By Nigel Praities

Beta-blockers may reduce the risk of death and exacerbations in patients with COPD, conclude Dutch researchers.

Their study followed 2,230 primary care patients aged 45 years or older with a diagnosis of COPD over a mean follow-up of 7.2 years.

They found a prescription for beta-blocker use was associated with a 30% reduction in mortality and a 27% risk reduction for exacerbations.

Subgroup analyses revealed that patients with COPD, but without overt cardiovascular disease, had similar results.

Professor Frans Rutten, professor of health economics at the Erasmus University, Rotterdam, concluded: ‘Treatment with beta-blockers may reduce the risk of exacerbation and improve survival in patients with COPD, possibly as a result of dual cardiopulmonary properties.’

Arch Intern Med 2010;170:880-887