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Ann Intern Med. 1995 Oct 1;123(7):481-7.

Diuretics, beta-blockers, and the risk for sudden cardiac death in hypertensive patients.

Author information

1
Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Erasmus University Medical School, Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To determine whether the use of non-potassium-sparing diuretics and beta-blockers is associated with an excess risk for sudden cardiac death in hypertensive patients.

DESIGN:

Case-control study.

SETTING:

Rotterdam, the Netherlands.

PATIENTS:

257 case-patients who had died suddenly while receiving drug therapy for hypertension and 257 living controls also receiving drug therapy for hypertension.

MEASUREMENTS:

Detailed information on medication use and clinical characteristics of all case-patients and controls was collected from the files of general practitioners. Additional information on medication use was obtained from computerized pharmacy records.

RESULTS:

Patients receiving non-potassium-sparing diuretics had an increased risk for sudden cardiac death (relative risk, 1.8 [95% CI, 1.0 to 3.1]) compared with a reference group treated primarily with potassium-sparing diuretics. The corresponding relative risk for beta-blocker use was 1.7 (CI, 1.1 to 2.6). The use of non-potassium-sparing diuretics without beta-blockers was associated with a higher risk for sudden death (relative risk, 2.2 [CI, 1.1 to 4.6]) than was concomitant use of non-potassium-sparing diuretics and beta-blockers (relative risk, 1.4 [CI, 0.6 to 3.0]). The risk for sudden cardiac death among recipients of non-potassium-sparing diuretics was more pronounced in those who had been receiving the diuretic for less than 1 year and in those aged 75 years or younger.

CONCLUSIONS:

The use of non-potassium-sparing diuretics and beta-blockers is associated with an increased risk for sudden cardiac death. This association may offset part of the mortality benefit of these drugs in the treatment of hypertension.

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[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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