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Early initiation of beta blockade in heart failure: issues and evidence.

Author(s): Williams RE

Affiliation(s): Northwestern University School of Medicine, Evanston, IL, USA. rwilliams@northwestern.edu

Publication date & source: 2005-09, J Clin Hypertens (Greenwich)., 7(9):520-8

Publication type: Randomized Controlled Trial; Review

Despite clinical trials demonstrating that inhibitors of the renin-angiotensin and sympathetic nervous systems can reduce the mortality and morbidity risk associated with heart failure, these drugs have remained underutilized in general clinical practice. In particular, many patients with heart failure due to left ventricular systolic dysfunction fail to receive beta blockers, although this class of drugs, as well as other antihypertensive agents such as angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors or angiotensin receptor blockers, are recommended as part of routine heart failure therapy by national expert consensus guidelines. In-hospital initiation of beta-blocker therapy may improve long-term utilization by physicians and compliance by patients through obviating many of the misperceived dangers associated with beta blockade. The following review of the clinical trial data from the Randomized Evaluation of Strategies for Left Ventricular Dysfunction (RESOLVD) trial, the Metoprolol Controlled-Release Randomized Intervention Trial in Heart Failure (MERIT-HF), the Cardiac Insufficiency Bisoprolol Study II (CIBIS-II), the Carvedilol Prospective Randomized Cumulative Survival (COPERNICUS) trial, and the Initiation Management Predischarge Process for Assessment of Carvedilol Therapy for Heart Failure (IMPACT-HF) trial on the efficacy, safety, and tolerability of beta blockers indicates that early initiation can be safely achieved and can improve patient outcomes.

Page last updated: 2006-01-31

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