switching many of my patients to a ‘newer’ beta-blocker which is less likely to
cause diabetes while proving just as effective in treating heart failure and
other conditions,” said Dr.
Ragavendra Baliga, a cardiologist at The Ohio State University Wexner
cardiologists, including Baliga, are prescribing alternative types of the
medication. Baliga recently published an editorial on the topic in
Heart Failure Clinics of North America, titled, “Beta-Blockers in Heart
Failure: Breaking Tradition to Avoid Diabetes?”
beta-blockers are less likely to cause diabetes while proving just as effective
in treating high blood pressure, heart failure and other conditions,” said
Baliga, beta-blockers save lives in heart attacks, heart failure, high blood
pressure and cardiac arrhythmia. They are used frequently for common conditions
like migraines, glaucoma, tremors, hyper-active thyroids and more. The benefits
of beta-blockers include reversal of cardiac remodeling, a decrease heart rate
and blood pressure, prevention of sudden death and improved endothelial
function with plaque stabilization.
when used for long periods of time, Baliga cautions that some beta-blockers
like atenolol have potentially detrimental metabolic side-effects including
weight increase, adverse effects on lipid profiles and an impact on insulin
can be a double-edge sword,” said Baliga. “As physicians, we need them to save
lives, but we also need to keep our patients safe from harmful side-effects.”
2007, atenolol was among the few generically available for treatment of common
conditions like high blood pressure, and many people used it, although there
was an associated higher risk of subsequent diabetes. Baliga says if there are
no other limitations, he typically considers substituting this medication for
carvedilol, which many patients may not realize is now generic.
small studies, carvedilol improved skeletal muscle blood supply, allowing
insulin to act more efficiently, helping to prevent the onset of diabetes.
editorial, Baliga writes, perhaps it is time to break tradition to avoid the risk
of diabetes associated with long-term utilization of some beta-blockers. To
patients, he says we need to be vigilant about medications we are taking for
our conditions and the risks associated with them.
never switch medications without consulting your physician,” said Balig
no contractual agreement with Carvedilol USP, maker of carvedilol, or
Astra-Zeneca maker of atenolol.
Gina Bericchia, Wexner Medical Center Public Affairs & Media Relations,