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Am J Med. 2004 Dec 15;117(12):925-31.

Beta-blockers as single-agent therapy for hypertension and the risk of mortality among patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

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Health Services Research and Development Northwest Center of Excellence, Veterans Affairs Puget Sound Health Care System, Seattle, Washington 98108, USA.



To assess the association between the type of antihypertensive medication and all-cause mortality among patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).


The cohort comprised 1966 patients (mean [+/- SD] age, 65.8 +/- 10.7 years) enrolled in general internal medicine clinics at seven Veterans Affairs medical centers between December 1996 and October 1999. Patients had a diagnosis of both COPD and hypertension and were receiving single-agent antihypertensive therapy.


Compared with calcium channel blockers, beta-blockers were associated with a decrease in mortality from any cause after adjusting for propensity for having been prescribed a beta-blocker (hazard ratio = 0.57; 95% confidence interval: 0.33 to 0.89). The association was similar when beta-blockers were compared with all other antihypertensive medications, and the decreased risk of mortality was apparent among patients with pre-existing cardiac disease. Restriction of analyses to long-acting calcium channel blockers or to patients who used beta-agonists did not affect the point estimates. Exposure to the remaining classes of antihypertensive agents was not associated with mortality.


Beta-blockers may have beneficial effects in patients who have COPD, pre-existing cardiac disease, and hypertension. Beta-blockers may not be contraindicated among patients with COPD.

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