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October 16, 2002

β-Blocker Therapy and Depression

Author Affiliations

Stephen J.LurieMD, PhD, Senior EditorIndividualAuthor

JAMA. 2002;288(15):1845-1846. doi:10.1001/jama.288.15.1845

To the Editor: We disagree with the conclusions of Ko et al1 that the conventional wisdom of β-blocker therapy being associated with depressive symptoms, fatigue, and sexual dysfunction is not supported by data from clinical trials. Their data show that the withdrawal rate of β-blockers because of fatigue was more than 2 times higher, and that due to sexual dysfunction almost 5 times higher, than in patients receiving placebo. In the Medical Research Council studies,2,3 the withdrawal rate for patients taking β-blockers because of fatigue was between 10 and 24 times that for those receiving placebo and also significantly higher than that for those taking diuretics, which are known to have a well-documented adverse effects profile.

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