Background: In patients with prior myocardial infarction (MI), beta-blockers reduce mortality by 23% to 40%. However, despite this favorable effect, adverse effects limit compliance to this medication. The purpose of the study was to compare a beta-blocker-based strategy with a heart rate-lowering calcium antagonists-based strategy in patients with prior MI.
Methods: We evaluated 7,218 patients with prior MI enrolled in the INternational VErapamil SR-Trandolapril (INVEST) substudy randomized to verapamil-sustained release (SR)- or atenolol-based strategies. Primary outcome was time to first occurrence of death (all-cause), nonfatal MI, or nonfatal stroke. Secondary outcomes included death, total MI (fatal and nonfatal), and total stroke (fatal and nonfatal) considered separately.
Results: During the 2.8 +/- 1.0 years of follow-up, patients assigned to the verapamil-SR-based and atenolol-based strategies had comparable blood pressure control, and the incidence of the primary outcome was equivalent. There was no difference between the 2 strategies for the outcomes of either death or total MI. However, more patients reported excellent/good well-being (82.3% vs 78.0%, P = .02) at 24 months with a trend toward less incidence of angina pectoris (12.0% vs 14.3%, adjusted P = .07), nonfatal stroke (1.4% vs 2.0%; P = .06), and total stroke (2.0% vs 2.5%, P = .18) in the verapamil-SR-based strategy group.
Conclusions: In hypertensive patients with prior MI, a verapamil-SR-based strategy was equivalent to a beta-blocker-based strategy for blood pressure control and prevention of cardiovascular events, with greater subjective feeling of well-being and a trend toward lower incidence of angina pectoris and stroke in the verapamil-SR-based group.