Not just a male disease
Part of the study’s conclusions are “really not that surprising, because we have known for a long time that women who have an MI are much more likely to develop HF than men, and we also know that HF raises mortality after MI,” Ileana L. Pina, MD, MPH, Wayne State University, Detroit, said in an interview.
But what surprised her was that women taking beta-blockers were at greater risk for HF. “This association needs to be proven in a prospective study and confirmed in another dataset,” said Dr. Pina, who was not involved with the current study. “The most important message is to remember that HF is not just a ‘male’ disease and to pay attention to the symptoms of women and not discount or relegate them to anxiety or gastric problems.”
The study was observational, Dr. Bugiardini noted, so “the results may have some variance and need confirmation. However, a sex-stratified, randomized, controlled trial of beta-blocker therapy in patients with hypertension but no prior history of coronary heart disease or HF may not be considered ethical, since it would be designed to confirm risk … and not benefit.”
“Further observational studies may give confirmation,” he added. “In the meantime, the Food and Drug Administration should alert health care professionals of the adverse events associated with beta-blocker use in women with hypertension and no prior history of CV disease, [because] prescribing beta-blockers to a woman with hypertension means exposing her to unnecessary risk.”
Dr. Bugiardini and the other authors had no disclosures. Dr. Pina reported no relevant financial relationships.
A version of this article originally appeared on Medscape.com.