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Posts Tagged ‘mechanism of action of atenolol metoprolol nebivolol’

Q : Beta blockers reduce  blood pressure mainly through

  1. Reduction in Heart rate
  2. Reduction in cardiac output
  3. Negative Inotropic action
  4. Vascular sensitization to circulating catecholamines
  5. Blocks  Renin secretion and  reduce vascular tone.

Answer : (May be  4 as well !)

Our understanding of beta blocker’s  action  in SHT has changed considerably over the years .The  negative inotropic action on the myocardium  attributed for BP reduction ,  is no longer considered  important . Now we know , beta blockers can  reduce peripheral vascular resistance significantly.(There were days , we presumed  the opposite to be  true ,  ie when beta blockers are blocked , alpha action will overshoot to cause excess vascular resistance ! ) This  is more of  perceived fear.  This concept was never proved convincingly even in the  dreaded  Prinzmetal  angina* where beta blockers are  relatively contraindicated for fear of  aggravating vasospasm.

*Note : This is may  still be valid in selected few  who  show a  tendency for  Raynaud  phenomenon especially in peripheral vascular  system.


Additional  factors   influencing  beta blockers in SHT

  • Suppression  of  central adrenergic drive  ,  modulation of   brain stem vasomotor centre  are aslo considered vital . This action is linearly related to the ability of beta blockers to cross the blood brain barrier which is more with lipophilic drugs like metoprolol.
  • The role of beta blocker in isolated systolic hypertension in elderly  is unique.Here it reduces the myocardial dp/dt (ie contractility )  and hence help them prevent  systolic spikes of pressure and the resultant  stroke.
  • The newer  vasodilating beta blockers  like Nebivolol, (Nitric oxide mediated ?)  and Carvidilol may have additional advantage in controlling BP.
  • It needs to be appreciated , beta blockers combine well with  diuretics like  hydrochlorthaizide  .This  makes it easier to control severe forms of HT  especially volume dependent ones in  both young and elderly. (SHEP trial )

Final message

The modification of vascular response to catecholamines  is  the single most important mechanism of reduction of blood pressure.

This may be a direct consequence  of  1.  Blockade of  vascular  adrenergic receptors . Indirectly  through suppression of  Rennin secretion.

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