Beta-blockers in the management of hypertension: focus on nebivolol.

Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Georgetown University Medical Center, Washington, DC 20422, USA.
Expert Review of Cardiovascular Therapy 05/2008; 6(4):471-9. DOI: 10.1586/14779072.6.4.471
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Hypertension is a major cardiovascular risk factor but most patients remain asymptomatic for many years. Successful therapy not only needs to be effective, it also needs to be well tolerated. beta-blockers are well established as effective antihypertensive agents. However, one major drawback to the currently available beta-blockers, particularly the noncardioselective beta-blockers, is their side-effect profile, including sexual dysfunction, fatigue, depression and metabolic abnormalities such as impaired glucose tolerance and lipid abnormalities. Nebivolol (Bystolic), a novel, highly cardioselective, third-generation beta-blocker that recently received approval by the US FDA for the treatment of hypertension in the USA, is effective in treating blood pressure and has a favorable side-effect profile. Studies conducted in Europe, where nebivolol has been available for some time for the treatment of hypertension, have shown that nebivolol achieves blood pressure reductions comparable to other beta-blockers but with fewer side effects. Additionally, nebivolol has demonstrated similar efficacy in blood pressure reduction when compared with calcium channel blockers and inhibitors of the renin-angiotensin system. When combined with hydrochlorothiazide there was an additive antihypertensive effect. Lastly, nebivolol exhibits a vasodilatory property that is related to its effect on nitric oxide, an intrinsic vasodilator produced in the vascular endothelium. Nebivolol enhances nitric oxide bioavailability. Studies have also demonstrated nebivolol's ability to function as an antioxidant and decrease markers of oxidative stress. These effects are believed to ultimately produce a modulation of the endothelial dysfunction typically seen in hypertension.