Beta-blockers are one of the most prescribed drugs. Millions of people take them daily, trusting their doctors. High blood pressure is a real problem. The question is whether beta-blockers are the answer. Doctors have to rely on the science and on the recommendation of the medical authorities in choosing what to prescribe. They can be fined and even fired for not giving drugs according to the recommendations.
Beta-blockers are drugs commonly used in the treatment of high blood pressure and congestive heart failure. They work primarily by blocking the neurotransmitters norepinephrine and epinephrine (adrenaline) from binding to beta receptors, thereby dilating blood vessels, which reduces your heart rate and blood pressure.
Until recently, the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) also recommended using beta-blockers in patients undergoing non-cardiac surgery.
A recent article in Forbes Magazine1 highlights how medical guidelines based on questionable science may have resulted in the death of hundreds of thousands of patients in just a few years:
“Last summer, British researchers provoked concern when they published a paper raising the possibility that by following an established guideline UK doctors may have caused as many as 10,000 deaths each year,2“Larry Husten, editorial director of WebMD professional news, writes.
“Now, they have gone a step further and published an estimate that the same guideline may have led to the deaths of as many as 800,000 people in Europe over the last five years3…
The 800,000 deaths are comparable in size to the worst cases of genocide and mass murder in recent history.”
So the deal is that Poldermans, a research scientist that did the work on approving and recommending the drugs wasn’t exactly above board. He has been fired for misleading research and conflict of interest. but…
You would think that once this was known, immediate action would result. However, it took two years before the ESC (European Society of Cardiology) withdrew the beta-blocker recommendation once the Poldermans scandal had unraveled. This is absolutely scandalous as nearly a half of a million people died unnecessarily due to the delay.
In that two-year span, many European clinicians may have felt that their hands were tied, as failing to follow guidelines can lead to being penalized—even if the doctor knows the guidelines are likely to do more harm than good. As reported by Forbes:8
Those guidelines have not yet been repealed in North America. I think it is time to find other ways to lower your blood pressure. Diet and exercise is where you start.
You can watch the lengthy but very informative interview with Dr Andrew Saul, one of the leading experts on blood pressure, and the motivation for this post. Source: Dr Mercola
Image source: PDclipart