Therapeutic effects of the combination of inhaled beta2-agonists and beta-blockers in COPD patients with cardiovascular disease
Chalkias, Athanasios F.
Tsekoura, Dorothea K.
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Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a major health problem worldwide, with co-morbidities contributing to the overall severity and mortality of the disease. The incidence and prevalence of cardiovascular disease among COPD patients are high. Both disorders often co-exist, mainly due to smoking, but they also share common underlying risk factors, such as aging and low-grade systemic inflammation. The therapeutic approach is based on agents, whose pharmacological properties are completely opposed. Beta2-agonists remain the cornerstone of COPD treatment due to their limited cardiac adverse effects. On the other hand, beta-blockers are administered in COPD patients with cardiovascular disease, but despite their proven cardiac benefits, they remain underused. There is still a trend among physicians over underprescription of these drugs in patients with heart failure and COPD due to bronchoconstriction. Therefore, cardioselective beta-blockers are preferred, and recent meta-analyses have shown reduced rates in mortality and exacerbations in COPD patients treated with beta-blockers.