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Yakugaku Zasshi. 2004 Nov;124(11):825-31.

Beta-adrenergic blocking agents and intermittent claudication: systematic review.

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  • 1Course of Clinical Pharmacy, Graduate School, Meiji Pharmaceutical University, Kiyose City, Tokyo 204-8588, Japan.


To clarify contradictions in past reports and the package inserts for beta-adrenergic blocking agents (beta-blockers) for patients with intermittent claudication (IC), we investigated the effects of beta-blockers in patients with IC using the systematic review technique. Data sources were randomized, controlled trials that investigated the effects of beta-blockers compared with the placebo or untreated group (controls) in patients with IC. Primary endpoints were walking distance and walking time, and secondary endpoints were ankle-brachial index (ABI) and calf blood flow. Nine trials were included in the analysis. Meta-analysis showed that there was a significant worsening in maximal walking distance and initial claudication distance in patients receiving beta-blockers, with standardized mean differences of -0.31 and -0.39 (95% confidence interval -0.58 to -0.04 and -0.73 to -0.06, P=0.03 and 0.02, respectively) compared with controls. There were no significant differences in maximal walking time (0.07, -0.24 to 0.37), time to onset of claudication (0.12, -0.23 to 0.47), ABI at rest (0.24, -0.30 to 0.78), calf blood flow at rest (0.00, -0.26 to 0.25), and calf blood flow after exercise (-0.23, -0.69 to 0.22). However, only one trial evaluated ABI, and the number of cases is increasing, suggesting that beta-blockers do not worsen ABI. There was no evidence that beta-blockers prescribed for patients with IC have unsuitable "precautions" in the package inserts. However, reluctance to administer beta-blockers to patients because they have IC is not appropriate.

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