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Prescribing Advice for GPs

An NHS Prescribing Advisers' Blog

InfoPOEM on Beta Blockers

An InfoPOEM has been produced that interprets the results and conclusions of the meta-analysis published in the Lancet titled "Should beta blockers remain the first choice in the treatment of primary hypertension?"1

The InfoPOEM is available online provided you have a subscription to InfoPOEMs.

The InfoPOEM concludes that, assuming the literature search for this study was adequate, beta-blockers are better than placebo but not other antihypertensives at preventing hypertension complications. It also points out that some patients will rightly need to be prescribed beta-blockers for co-morbidities like heart failure.

This site has already covered this study and suggested that clinicians should follow the NICE Guideline for Hypertension. Since this guideline places thiazides as first line the continued debate to those following this advice will seem irrelevant.

Action: Clinicians should follow the NICE Hypertension Guideline, which has placed thiazides as the first line treatment in hypertension. Beta-blockers still have a place in therapy as an add-on in primary hypertension and for patients with specific co-morbidities that benefit from beta-blocker therapy.


  1. Lindholm et al. Should beta blockers remain the first choice in the treatment of primary hypertension? A meta-analysis. Lancet 2005;366:1545-53

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