Beta-blockers as single-agent therapy for hypertension and the risk of mortality among patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

Am J Med. 2004 Dec 15;117(12):925-31. doi: 10.1016/j.amjmed.2004.07.043.


Purpose: To assess the association between the type of antihypertensive medication and all-cause mortality among patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Methods: The cohort comprised 1966 patients (mean [+/- SD] age, 65.8 +/- 10.7 years) enrolled in general internal medicine clinics at seven Veterans Affairs medical centers between December 1996 and October 1999. Patients had a diagnosis of both COPD and hypertension and were receiving single-agent antihypertensive therapy.

Results: Compared with calcium channel blockers, beta-blockers were associated with a decrease in mortality from any cause after adjusting for propensity for having been prescribed a beta-blocker (hazard ratio = 0.57; 95% confidence interval: 0.33 to 0.89). The association was similar when beta-blockers were compared with all other antihypertensive medications, and the decreased risk of mortality was apparent among patients with pre-existing cardiac disease. Restriction of analyses to long-acting calcium channel blockers or to patients who used beta-agonists did not affect the point estimates. Exposure to the remaining classes of antihypertensive agents was not associated with mortality.

Conclusion: Beta-blockers may have beneficial effects in patients who have COPD, pre-existing cardiac disease, and hypertension. Beta-blockers may not be contraindicated among patients with COPD.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adrenergic beta-Antagonists / therapeutic use*
  • Aged
  • Comorbidity
  • Contraindications
  • Female
  • Heart Diseases / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / drug therapy*
  • Hypertension / epidemiology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / mortality*


  • Adrenergic beta-Antagonists