Popular high blood pressure drug linked to heart failure, study shows

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Beta-blockers are medications that reduce high blood pressure and are prescribed for adults with high blood pressure, a leading cause of heart disease.

In a recent study at the University of Bologna, researchers found that women taking beta-blockers for high blood pressure have a nearly 5% higher risk for heart failure than men when they present to hospitals with acute coronary syndrome.

The study is published in Hypertension. One author is Raffaele Bugiardini, M.D., professor of cardiology.

In this study, the researchers analyzed the effects of beta-blockers on men and women with hypertension and no history of heart disease after presenting with acute coronary syndromes.

The research analyzed data from 13,764 adults in 12 European countries who had hypertension and no prior history of cardiovascular disease.

Patients were classified by sex/gender and then separated into two groups: those taking beta-blockers and those who were not.

The researchers found that among the participants taking beta-blockers:

Women had a 4.6% higher rate of heart failure than men when presenting to the hospital with acute coronary syndrome;

The mortality of both men and women with heart failure was approximately seven times that of patients with acute myocardial infarction and no heart failure complications;

women who had ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) were 6.1% more likely to have heart failure than men with STEMI, a serious form of a heart attack in which a coronary artery is completely blocked and a large part of the heart muscle is unable to receive blood; and,

Men and women not taking beta-blockers had approximately the same rate of heart failure.

The researchers say that for women who have no history of heart disease and only hypertension, it is incredibly important for them to regulate their blood pressure through diet and exercise.

It’s possible that the increased risk of heart failure for women is due to an interaction between hormone replacement therapy and beta-blockers, though this information was not collected or tested in this study.

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