Background: Some studies indicate a reduced risk of serious upper gastrointestinal bleeding (UGIB) for users of beta-blockers, but the association remains to be confirmed in larger studies and characterized with respect to differences among beta-blockers. We aimed to assess whether beta-blocker use decreases the risk of UGIB.
Methods: We conducted a register-based, population-based case-control study in Denmark. We identified cases with a first validated discharge diagnosis of UGIB during the period 1995-2006. Controls were selected by risk-set sampling in a ratio of 10:1. We estimated crude and adjusted odds ratios (ORs) of the association between current beta-blocker use and the risk of UGIB by using conditional logistic regression and further stratified by selective and non-selective beta-blockers, respectively.
Results: We identified 3571 UGIB cases and 35,582 controls. Use of beta-blockers was not found to be associated with a decreased risk of UGIB (adjusted OR 1.10; 95% CI: 1.00-1.21). The association remained neutral after stratification by selective and non-selective beta-blockers, and by single beta-blocker substances. Similarly, we found no association between current beta-blocker use and the risk of UGIB within different subgroups.
Conclusions: We found no association between beta-blocker use and UGIB.
Keywords: beta-blocker use; non-variceal; pharmaco-epidemiology; population-based; upper gastrointestinal bleeding.