Curr Opin Pulm Med. 2021 Mar 1;27(2):125-131. doi: 10.1097/MCP.0000000000000748.
PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Several observational studies have suggested that β-blockers, especially cardioselective ones, are well tolerated and associated with a lower risk of acute exacerbations and death in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). However, there are dissenting studies. This review provides an update on the use of β-blockers in COPD, focusing on results of recent prospective studies and randomized controlled trials.
RECENT FINDINGS: In totality, cohort studies indicate that β-blockers are generally well tolerated and effective in COPD patients who also have a clear cardiovascular indication for these medications. Although β-blockers on average reduce lung function acutely in COPD patients, the absolute decrease is relatively small, especially if cardioselective β-blockers are used. The results of two large randomized controlled trials suggest that β-blocker use does not reduce the therapeutic benefits of inhaled bronchodilators in COPD patients. The use of β-blockers in COPD patients, who do not have overt cardiovascular disease, does not prevent COPD exacerbations and may paradoxically increase the risk of COPD-related hospitalization and mortality.
SUMMARY: The use of β-blockers is generally well tolerated and effective in COPD patients, who also have a clear cardiovascular indication for these drugs. However, they should not be used in patients who do not have overt cardiovascular disease as β-blockers can reduce lung function, worsen health status and increase the risk of COPD-related hospitalization.