AB014. Effect of beta-blockers on the risk of COPD exacerbations
Session 1.1: Safety and Risk

AB014. Effect of beta-blockers on the risk of COPD exacerbations

Lies Lahousse1,2, Phebe De Nocker2, A. Hofman2, Bruno H. Stricker2, Guy G. Brusselle1,2, Katia M. C. Verhamme3

1Department of Respiratory Medicine, Ghent University Hospital, De Pintelaan 185, 9000 Ghent, Belgium; 2Department of Epidemiology, 3Department of Medical Informatics, Erasmus Medical Center, 3000 CA Rotterdam, the Netherlands


Background: While β-blockers are known to be protective in patients with cardiovascular disease, retrospective studies have suggested that β-blockers also have beneficial effects in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). To investigate whether (cardioselective) β-blockers have a beneficial effect on the risk of COPD exacerbations.

Methods: This nested case-control study is embedded within the Rotterdam Study, a prospective population-based cohort study among 15,000 subjects aged 45 years and older with long-term follow-up (up to 25 years). COPD subjects were followed until the first moderate to severe COPD exacerbation. A Cox proportional hazards regression analyses was conducted adjusting for age, sex, smoking status and all factors that changed the matched estimate with 10%. A stratified analysis was conducted in patients with or without heart failure.

Results: Within the cohort of 1,621 COPD patients, 1,136 patients developed COPD exacerbations during 11,600 person years of follow-up (of which 268 exacerbations were severe). Current use of β-blockers was associated with a 21% reduced risk of COPD exacerbations (HR adjusted 0.79; 95% CI, 0.67–0.94), driven by the use of cardioselective β-blockers (HRadj 0.79; 95% CI, 0.65–0.95), while no protective effect was observed for non-cardioselectiveβ-blockers though numbers were low (HRadj 1.01; 95% CI, 0.66–1.56). This association was strongest for COPD patients with heart failure (n=109; HRadj 0.45; 95% CI, 0.23–0.87). Regarding severe exacerbations, current use of β-blockers was associated with a 15% risk reduction, though this was statistically not significant (HRadj 0.85; 95% CI, 0.58–1.24).

Conclusions: Use of cardioselective β-blockers is associated with a reduced risk of COPD exacerbations. Further research should reveal whether this association is causal or due to confounding, and whether reduced exacerbation risk translates in reduced mortality.

Keywords: Beta-Blockers (β-blockers); chronic obstructive pulmonary disease exacerbations (COPD exacerbations); cohort study


doi: 10.21037/jtd.2016.s014


Cite this abstract as: Lahousse L, De Nocker P, Hofman A, Stricker BH, Brusselle GG, Verhamme KM. Effect of beta-blockers on the risk of COPD exacerbations. J Thorac Dis 2016;8(Suppl 5):AB014. doi: 10.21037/jtd.2016.s014

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