Aims: Platelets play an important role in cardiovascular disease, and β-blockers are often prescribed for cardiovascular disease prevention. β-Blockers may directly affect platelet aggregation, because β-adrenergic receptors are present on platelets. There is uncertainty about the existence and magnitude of an effect of β-blockers on platelet aggregation. The aim of this study was to perform a systematic review and meta-analysis of the effect of β-blockers on platelet aggregation.
Methods: MEDLINE and EMBASE were searched until April 2014. Two reviewers independently performed data extraction and risk of bias assessment. Type of β-blocker, population, treatment duration and platelet aggregation were extracted. Standardized mean differences were calculated for each study and pooled in a random-effects meta-analysis.
Results: We retrieved 31 studies (28 clinical trials and three observational studies). β-Blockers decreased platelet aggregation (standardized mean difference -0.54, 95% confidence interval -0.85 to -0.24, P < 0.0001). This corresponds to a reduction of 13% (95% confidence interval 8-17%). Nonselective lipophilic β-blockers decreased platelet aggregation more than selective nonlipophilic β-blockers.
Conclusions: Clinically used β-blockers significantly reduce platelet aggregation. Nonselective lipophilic β-blockers seem to reduce platelet aggregation more effectively than selective nonlipophilic β-blockers. These findings may help to explain why some β-blockers are more effective than others in preventing cardiovascular disease.
Keywords: meta-analysis; platelet aggregation; β-blockers.
© 2014 The British Pharmacological Society.