If you or someone you love has a major surgery planned and they are taking one of the many 'beta blockers' often prescribed to those who have high blood pressure, you'll want to know about the additional risk of these pharmaceutical drugs.

Beta blockers are the subject of some serious medical inquiry. In a recent Forbes magazine article, it was pointed out that hundreds of thousands of people have died from beta-blockers in the past several years. The Forbes article references a study published in JAMA which suggests that beta blockers may not improve outcomes for heart patients.

Sriapl Bangalore and colleagues analyzed data from 44,708 patients enrolled in the Reduction of Atherothrombosis for Continued Health, 31% of whom had a prior myocardial infarction (MI), 27% of whom had documented coronary artery disease (CAD) without MI, and 42% of whom only had CAD risk factors.

Patients who received beta blockers were compared with matched controls and were followed for a median of 44 months. To summarize, beta blockers did not show any improvement in the heart health of the patients who took them.

What is more concerning is that beta blockers may have caused as many as 800,000 deaths in Europe over the past 5 years. A paper published in the European Heart Journal shows that beta blockers may increase incidence of a major cardiac event, including heart attack and death up to fifty percent. This brings to mind the question - is this bad medicine, or mass murder?

According to Consumer Reports, these drugs can cost anywhere from between $200 to $2000 annually for a single patient. Even the cheaper Beta blockers available as generic drugs can cause huge safety risks. These include those prescribed as:
  • A second drug for high blood pressure such as atenolol, metoprolol tartrate, nadolol, and propranolol
  • Drugs prescribed for angine including atenolol, metoprolol tartrate, nadolol, and propranolol
  • Drugs prescribed after a heart attack including atenolol, metoprolol tartrate, and propranolol
  • And even drugs prescribed for mild and severe heart failure, among them are bisoprolol, carvedilol, and metoprolol succinate
If you have any major surgery planned, including those which are unrelated to heart disease, you may want to avoid beta blockers.