Beta Blockers 'Killing Patients'

Research uncovers dire effects of pre-surgery drug
By Peter Fearon,  Newser Staff
Posted May 13, 2008 3:29 AM CDT
A new study says beta blockers given to patients prior to surgery to prevent heart complications can cause strokes and even death.   (KRT Photos)
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(Newser) – Beta blockers routinely given to patients before surgery do far more harm than good, with patients 35% more likely to die within a month than those given a dummy pill, according to a study reported in the Lancet.  While the blood pressure drugs did cut the number of heart complications, the risk of stroke doubled, researchers discovered.

"There is a real potential that beta blockers are causing serious harm in the surgical setting," said the lead scientist. "If my mother was undergoing surgery and given a beta blocker, I would be extremely upset based on this evidence."