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Acta Med Scand. 1987;222(1):57-63.

Effects of metoprolol on the counter-regulation and recognition of prolonged hypoglycemia in insulin-dependent diabetics.

Abstract

The effect of metoprolol on the counter-regulation of prolonged hypoglycemia was studied in eight insulin-dependent diabetics. Insulin was given as an i.v. infusion of 2.4 U/h over 180 min alone, or together with metoprolol (3.0 mg i.v. bolus followed by an i.v. infusion of 4.8 mg/h) in random order. Blood glucose, counter-regulatory hormones, hypoglycemic symptoms and the cardiovascular responses were assayed over 240 min. Metoprolol did not significantly modify the blood glucose levels. The plasma levels of free insulin, however, were elevated by approximately 20% (p less than 0.01) by metoprolol during hypoglycemia and the plasma concentrations of epinephrine, norepinephrine, growth hormone and cortisol were enhanced by the drug. Sweating was increased by metoprolol, while other symptoms were unaltered. We conclude that metoprolol administered acutely does not aggravate prolonged hypoglycemia in diabetics with blunted response of glucagon. Moreover, exaggerated responses of counter-regulatory hormones, provoked by metoprolol, may compensate for the inhibitory effect of this drug on insulin clearance.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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