Adrenergic β-receptor antagonists have been one of the most important discoveries in cardiovascular medicine in the last 50 years. The first β-blocker was synthesized in the 1960s, and since then a very heterogeneous class of drugs (differing in β-adrenergic receptor selectivity, intrinsic sympathomimetic activity, membrane-stabilizing activity, lipophilicity, and vasodilatory capabilities) was found. No other class of drugs has demonstrated such a widespread therapeutic utility for the treatment and prevention of so many manifestations of cardiovascular disorders. Currently, the key uses of β-blockers are as antihypertensive and antianginal agents, as first-line treatment for rate control in patients with atrial fibrillation, and as drugs that reduce morbidity and mortality after myocardial infarction and in heart failure. Since many other cardiovascular therapies have been developed over the last few years, it is questionable whether the role of β-blockers in this era of the multidrug approach still resonates for the management of cardiovascular diseases.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine