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Circulation. 1996 Dec 1;94(11):2817-25.

Comparative hemodynamic, left ventricular functional, and antiadrenergic effects of chronic treatment with metoprolol versus carvedilol in the failing heart.

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University of Utah School of Medicine, Salt Lake City, USA.



The basic pharmacology of the third-generation beta-blocking agent carvedilol differs considerably from second-generation compounds such as metoprolol. Moreover, carvedilol may produce different, ie, more favorable, clinical effects in chronic heart failure. For these reasons, we compared the effects of carvedilol and metoprolol on adrenergic activity, receptor expression, degree of clinical beta-blockade, hemodynamics, and left ventricular function in patients with mild or moderate chronic heart failure.


The effects of carvedilol versus metoprolol were compared in two concurrent placebo-controlled trials with carvedilol or metoprolol that had common substudies focused on adrenergic, hemodynamic, and left ventricular functional measurements. All subjects in the substudies had chronic heart failure resulting from idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy. Carvedilol at 50 to 100 mg/d produced reductions in exercise heart rate that were similar to metoprolol at 125 to 150 mg/d, indicating comparable degrees of beta-blockade. Compared with metoprolol, carvedilol was associated with greater improvement in New York Heart Association functional class. Although there were no significant differences in hemodynamic effects between the carvedilol and metoprolol active-treatment groups, carvedilol tended to produce relatively greater improvements in left ventricular ejection fraction, stroke volume, and stroke work compared with changes in the respective placebo groups. Carvedilol selectively lowered coronary sinus norepinephrine levels, an index of cardiac adrenergic activity, whereas metoprolol did not lower coronary sinus norepinephrine and actually increased central venous norepinephrine levels. Finally, metoprolol was associated with an increase in cardiac beta-receptor density, whereas carvedilol did not change cardiac beta-receptor expression.


The third-generation beta-blocking agent carvedilol has substantially different effects on left ventricular function, hemodynamics, adrenergic activity, and beta-receptor expression than dose the second-generation compound metoprolol. Some or all of these differences may explain the apparent differences in clinical results between the two compounds.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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