Just say NO…

Beta-blockers are high on my list of drugs to avoid for a lot of reasons. They contribute to fatigue. They slow down your metabolism. They can even trigger asthma attacks.

And as if all that wasn’t enough, one new study shows that they’re practically useless, too.

These medications (which include Atenolol, Lopressor, Metoprolol) are designed to lower blood pressure. But after following 45,000 patients in NYU Langone Medical Center’s data registry for 44 months, researchers have discovered that the drugs don’t ward off heart attacks or stroke.

Among patients with coronary artery disease (CAD), 12.9 percent died of a heart attack or stroke despite being on beta-blockers. Those who didn’t take the blood pressure meds died at a rate of 13.6 percent–not even a full percentage point of difference.

Of the patients taking beta-blockers due to CAD risk factors (like diabetes or high blood pressure), 14.2 percent suffered a negative outcome–as opposed to 12 percent among those not on the drugs. That’s still only a 2.2 percent difference.

I wouldn’t risk a bad hair day on a “success” rate like that–never mind my energy levels or my waistline.

Researchers did find a slight benefit among patients who had suffered a heart attack within the past year. But even so, it’s clear that the majority of heart disease patients have no good reason to take beta blockers.

So why are doctors still prescribing them?

Do yourself a favor and just say NO. There are safer alternatives out there–enough that I’ve devoted an entire article to the topic in my latest issue of Logical Health Alternatives. So if you haven’t subscribed yet, this is a great time to do it.

“ß-Blocker Use and Clinical Outcomes in Stable Outpatients With and Without Coronary Artery Disease.” JAMA October 03, 2012, Vol 308, No. 13