Harvard Health Letter

New thinking about beta blockers

For people with high blood pressure, beta blockers are no longer a first line of defense. Research has shown that other medications are more effective at reducing blood pressure—particularly angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, angiotensin-receptor blockers (ARBs), calcium-channel blockers, and diuretics. However, beta blockers are still commonly prescribed to people who’ve had a heart attack, and to people with heart failure or an irregular heartbeat. Beta blocker use may result in side effects such as fatigue and erectile dysfunction.
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