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Are beta blockers the best drugs for lowering blood pressure?

Posted Oct 01 2008 8:12pm

Beta blockers are among the most-prescribed drugs to treat high blood pressure, but a study from Sweden shows that they can increase risk for strokes ( Lancet, October 29, 2005.)

Brand names of the beta blockers include Toprol, Inderal, Blocadron, Coreg, Inopran, Levatol, Pindolol, Sectral, Tenormin, Timolol Trandate, Zebeta and Bisoprol. Studies show that they are the drugs of choice to treat people who have had heart attacks, heart pain, heart failure, rapid heart beat and atrial fibrillation. However, even though many physicians prescribe beta blockers to treat high blood pressure in their patients who have not had heart attacks, no data show that they prevent heart attacks in healthy people. This is the second major study to show that beta blockers do not prevent first heart attacks and may even increase a person’s risk for stroke. Besides, they often make a person so tired that he has difficulty exercising.

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