Beta-Blockers May Not Be Associated With Lower Event Rates in Patients With CAD

October 6, 2012

β-Blockers remain the standard of care after a myocardial infarction (MI). However, the benefit of β-blocker use in patients with coronary artery disease (CAD) but no history of MI, those with a remote history of MI, and those with only risk factors for CAD is unclear.
S. Bangalore, et al, analysed data on 44,708 patients enrolled in the international REACH registry with a known prior MI (n=14,043), CAD without a history of MI (n=12,012) and patients with risk factors for CAD (n=18,653), to assess the association of β-blocker use with cardiovascular events in stable patients with a prior history of MI, in those with CAD but no history of MI, and in those with only risk factors for CAD.

The primary outcome was a composite of cardiovascular death, nonfatal MI, or nonfatal stroke. The secondary outcome was the primary outcome plus hospitalization for atherothrombotic events or a revascularization procedure.
With a median follow-up of 44 months (range, 35-45 months), event rates were not significantly different in patients with β-blocker use compared with those without β-blocker use for any of the outcomes tested, even in the prior MI cohort (489 [16.93%] vs 532 [18.60%], respectively. In the CAD without MI cohort, the associated event rates were not significantly different in those with β-blocker use for the primary outcome (391 [12.94%]) vs without β-blocker use (405 [13.55%]). In the cohort with CAD risk factors only, the event rates were higher for the primary outcome with β-blocker use (467 [14.22%]) vs without β-blocker use (403 [12.11%]). However, in those with recent MI (≤1 year), β-blocker use was associated with a lower incidence of the secondary outcome (OR, 0.77 [95% CI, 0.64-0.92]).
The study authors concluded that among patients enrolled in the international REACH registry, beta-blocker use was not associated with a lower event rate of cardiovascular events at 44-month follow-up, even among patients with prior history of MI. They suggest further research is warranted to identify subgroups that benefit from beta-blocker therapy and the optimal duration of beta-blocker therapy.

Source: JAMA. 2012;308(13):1340-1349.

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