These drugs may help reduce risk for ‘broken heart’ syndrome

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Broken heart syndrome is a temporary heart condition that’s often brought on by stressful situations and extreme emotions.

The condition can also be triggered by a serious physical illness or surgery.

In a recent study at the University of Sydney, researchers found that in early bereavement, low-dose metoprolol and aspirin can reduce physiological and psychological measures of ‘broken heart’ syndrome.

The study is published in the American Heart Journal. The lead author of the study is Geoffrey H. Tofler, M.D. from the University of Sydney.

In the study, the team sought to determine whether daily β-blocker (metoprolol 25 mg) and aspirin (100 mg) could reduce heart risk markers and anxiety among 85 recently bereaved participants (73 spouses and 12 parents).

After assessment within 2 weeks of bereavement, the people were randomized to 6 weeks of daily drug treatment or placebo.

The researchers found that participants on metoprolol and aspirin had lower levels of home systolic pressure, 24-hour average heart rate, anxiety, platelet response to arachidonic acid, and depression symptoms, compared to those taking placebo.

There were no differences found in von Willebrand Factor antigen, platelet-granulocyte aggregates, or bereavement intensity. No strong adverse safety impacts were seen.

The team says the findings suggest a preventive benefit of this approach during heightened heart risk associated with early bereavement.

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