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Recent data on side effects of beta adrenergic blocking drugs

, : Recent data on side effects of beta adrenergic blocking drugs. Therapie (London/Paris) 40(6): 423-428

Statistical data on untoward side effects of beta-blockers were compiled from either controlled trials on secondary prevention using these drugs or pharmacovigilance studies. Compared to placebo, significant increases in the occurrence of bradycardia, hypotension, peripheral vascular phenomena, asthenia, and bronchospasm were all observed. Antinuclear antibodies and fibrosis (peritoneal, retroperitoneal, and pulmonary) were rarely observed during treatment with beta antagonists and their exact causes unknown. The actual role of beta-blockers in the genesis of fibrosis is uncertain. Different studies on the effects of these drugs on vigilance gave conflicting results. As for sleep disorders, liposolubility and instrinsic sympathomimetic activity seem to be favorizing factors. Sotalol can in some instances favorize torsade de pointes. No objective arguments exist in support of the responsibility of beta antagonists in gastrointestinal problems. In all this study shows that when their contraindications are respected, beta-blockers have a high benefit-to-risk ratio.

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