Do all heart attack survivors need beta blockers long-term? study says maybe not

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Beta blockers are medicines often given to people after they’ve had a heart attack. These drugs are supposed to lower the chances of having more heart problems.

But a new study says we might need to think again about who really needs to be on these drugs for the long haul.

This study looked at data from 43,618 adults who had heart attacks between 2005 and 2016.

Importantly, none of these folks had heart failure, a condition where the heart can’t pump blood well, or something called LVSD, another type of heart issue.

The main thing the study wanted to find out was whether taking beta blockers for more than a year after a heart attack made any difference in terms of preventing more heart problems or death.

What they found is pretty surprising: over about 4.5 years of keeping an eye on these people, there was no difference in heart problems or death rates between those who kept taking beta blockers and those who didn’t.

Limitations and Why We Need More Research

Even though this study is the biggest of its kind so far, it’s not perfect. For one, it only observed what happened to people; it didn’t set up a controlled experiment, so we can’t be sure beta blockers were the reason for the results.

Also, the people in the study weren’t told whether to take the medicine or not; they and their doctors made that choice.

Plus, the study didn’t have information on how consistently people took the beta blockers or how they felt day-to-day while on the medicine.

Another thing to consider is side effects. Beta blockers can sometimes make people feel down or really tired. So, if they’re not really helping to prevent heart issues, should all heart attack survivors be taking them?

What Does This Mean for Patients?

Doctors and experts agree that more research needs to be done to get a clear answer.

If you’ve had a heart attack but don’t have heart failure or that LVSD condition, it might be a good idea to chat with your healthcare provider about whether you really need to be on a beta blocker long-term.

As always, it’s good to stay updated on heart health topics. You might also be interested in other recent studies that talk about aspirin possibly increasing the risk of heart failure, or how certain vitamins could affect your heart health.

But remember, it’s essential to consult your healthcare provider for personalized advice.

If you care about heart health, please read studies that vitamin K helps cut heart disease risk by a third, and a year of exercise reversed worrisome heart failure.

For more information about heart health, please see recent studies about supplements that could help prevent heart disease, stroke, and results showing this food ingredient may strongly increase heart disease death risk.

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