In a recent study from the Centro Nacional de Investigaciones Cardiovasculares, scientists found that a drug costing less than 2 euros per dose could reduce the long-term consequences of a heart attack, benefitting millions of patients.
Metoprolol, a member of the beta-blocker class of drugs that has been in use for more than 40 years, has been found to have unique heart-protective features.
The researchers found that the heart-protective effect of metoprolol during a heart attack is not shared by other beta-blockers.
A heart attack is one of the main manifestations of heart disease and is the leading cause of death in the world. In Spain, more than 70 000 people have a heart attack every year.
Current treatment guidelines recommend the early use of beta-blockers to patients with symptoms of infarction but do not distinguish between the different drugs in this class.
A previous study showed that the use of metoprolol very early during a heart attack limits damage to the heart and reduces long-term consequences.
In the new study, the team found that metoprolol’s heart-protective properties are not shared by other beta-blockers and are thus not a class effect.
They found that neutrophils, as well as protecting against infection, can become hyperactivated in other situations, such as during a heart attack, when they can cause significant additional injury to the heart.
Metoprolol is able to limit this hyperactivation, thereby preventing inflammatory damage associated with a heart attack.
The study also assessed the effects of different beta-blockers in other models of inflammatory disease, like lung damage and peritonitis.
They found the drug metoprolol was the only beta-blocker able to limit the organ damage inflicted by hyperactivated neutrophils.
These findings could have an impact on the treatment of diseases in which injury is linked to neutrophil hyperactivation, including sepsis and possibly even COVID-19.
The authors conclude that metoprolol should be the beta-blocker of choice in clinical practice.
If these results are confirmed in future clinical studies, this would herald a change in the clinical guidelines for this devastating disease, placing metoproplol, and not other beta-blockers, as the drug of choice for patients suffering a heart attack.
If you care about heart health, please read studies about how to control your cholesterol to prevent heart attack , and common sleep issue that could increase your heart death risk.
For more information about heart health, please see recent studies about vitamin K that could help cut heart disease risk by a third, and results showing this drug may prevent respiratory and heart damage in COVID-19.
The study was published in The European Heart Journal and conducted by Dr. Borja Ibáñez et al.
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