This finding is not new, said Dr. Kanu Chatterjee, a professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, who wrote an accompanying editorial in the journal.
A Swedish trial done more than 25 years ago showed heart-failure patients benefited from beta blocker therapy, "but it never caught on," Chatterjee
said."I remember that when I was in England, a lot of famous cardiologists thought it was dangerous."
But during the past decade "a large number of clinical trials have unequivocally documented survival benefit of beta blocker therapy" in heart-failure patients, his
editorial said."It is thus indisputable that beta blocker therapy saves lives."
Like almost all other heart medications, beta blockers are not completely safe, Krumholz and Chatterjee
recommended that doctors tell patients there might be a temporary worsening of symptoms when therapy begins, but that it will pass.
More information The Texas Heart Institute
has more on beta blockers. SOURCES: Harlan Krumholz, M.D., professor, medicine, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Conn.: Kanu Chatterjee, B.M., professor, medicine, University of California, San Francisco; July 12, 2004, Archives of Internal Medicine~HRTM~~PRES~~HATT~