Beta blockers have positive effect in pulmonary arterial hypertension
A team of researchers have found that a common heart disease medication may help treat lung disease…
A team of researchers have found that a common heart disease medication, beta blockers, may help treat pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH), a debilitating lung disease.
The Cleveland Clinic team assessed carvedilol use in a group of 30 patients with PAH in a double-blind, randomised study. The participants received either placebo, low fixed-dose, or escalating doses of carvedilol over a six-month period.
They found that the drug lowered heart rate in correlation with carvedilol dose, improved heart rate recovery from exercise, and did not worsen heart failure or lead to airflow deterioration. The findings suggest carvedilol is safe to use in PAH patients for six months with evidence of improved outcomes that could prevent right-sided heart failure.
Previously, the use of beta blockers in PAH patients has not been widely studied due to mostly anecdotal concerns about decreased functional lung capacity.
“There is good reason to consider beta blockers for the right ventricular failure in PAH,” said Dr W. H. Wilson Tang, co-author and advanced heart failure/transplant cardiologist at Cleveland Clinic.
“The fact that beta blockers were well-tolerated and effective in lowering heart rates thereby improving the heart efficiency is unto itself a key observation, since doctors have been cautioned against using them in this setting for safety concerns. This study provides important new data that advances our knowledge of using this class of drugs in this chronic and life-threatening lung-associated vascular disease,” he added.
“There is a critical need for new therapies to support right ventricular function in pulmonary hypertension,” said Dr Serpil Erzurum, Chair of Cleveland Clinic Lerner Research Institute. “While treatments with beta blockers such as carvedilol are standard therapy in patients with left-sided heart failure, successful therapies in right-sided heart failure and PAH have lagged behind. Longer-term studies are needed but our initial analysis shows that carvedilol may also benefit patients with PAH, who currently have few available treatment options.”