A β-blocker drug slows the progression of artery-clogging plaque in the carotid arteries of healthy people, researchers report in the April 2 issue of Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.
The 3-year study by researchers from Sweden found that low dosages (25 mg once daily) of metoprolol CR/XL slows the rate of progression of atherosclerosis by 40% in healthy, symptom-free people who have plaque buildup in their carotid arteries.
The Beta-Blocker Cholesterol-Lowering Asymptomatic Plaque Study (BCAPS) is a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Study participants were 793 urban, white Swedish people participating in the Malmo Diet and Cancer Study. Participants were randomly assigned to one of four groups: metoprolol CR/XL, fluvastatin, a combination of metoprolol CR/XL and fluvastatin, and placebo. Participants were enrolled beginning in November 1994 for 36-month treatment periods; the study ended in February 1999. The researchers measured the progression of artery wall thickening at 18 months and 36 months.
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