[Intermittent claudication and beta-blockaders. An unfortunate combination?].
ABSTRACT beta-adrenergic blockers have been considered relatively contraindicated in patients with peripheral arterial disease because of reports claiming that these drugs may worsen intermittent claudication. The authors review the published randomized controlled trials and discuss the results of comparisons of this treatment with treatment with alternative drugs. None of the studies of beta-blockade in patients with intermittent claudication showed a reduction of walking distance or impairment of peripheral flow compared with patients given placebo, except one study using a beta-blocker with intrinsic sympathomimetic activity. Alternative drugs are included in only few trials and do not seem to be beneficial. There is a lack of evidence to suggest that beta-blockers adversely effect walking capacity or worsen symptoms in mild to moderate intermittent claudication. beta-blockers should not be avoided if considered in other respects to be the optimal therapy for associated atherosclerotic disease.