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Common heart treatment fails to help

Beta blockers may offer little against heart attack, stroke

4:39pm, October 2, 2012

Commonly prescribed drugs called beta blockers fail to protect against heart attacks and strokes even while helping to control heart rate and blood pressure, researchers report in the Oct. 3 Journal of the American Medical Association. Beta blockers also didn’t lessen the odds of a heart-related death, in heart attack patients or others at risk, over a median follow-up of 44 months.

The American Heart Association had previously discouraged the long-term use of beta blockers for people with only risk factors or as a post–heart attack treatment beyond three years. The new findings further dim the prospects for drugs that have been a standard treatment for decades.

“I think this study is valid,” says Valentin Fuster, a cardiologist at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York who wasn’t involved in the new study. Once seen as a leading treatment for heart attack patients, beta blockers are losing their luster thanks to new drugs and

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