(HealthDay News) – There are no significant differences in the rates of incident myocardial infarction (MI), heart failure, or stroke for patients with hypertension starting treatment with atenolol or metoprolol tartrate.

Emily D. Parker, MPH, PhD, from the HealthPartners Institute for Education and Research in Minneapolis, and colleagues used electronic health records and health plan data from the Cardiovascular Research Network Hypertension Registry for patients who were new β-blocker users between 2000–2009 to examine their effectiveness for preventing cardiovascular events.

The researchers found that, over a median of 5.2 years of follow-up, in a cohort of 120,978 patients there were 3,517 incident cases of MI; 3,272 incident cases of heart failure; and 3,664 incident stroke events. In metoprolol tartrate users, the hazard ratios for MI, heart failure, and stroke were 0.99 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.97–1.02), 0.99 (95% CI, 0.96–1.01), and 0.99 (95% CI, 0.97–1.02), respectively. The use of propensity score matching yielded similar results in 11,176 new metoprolol tartrate users, who had similar demographic and clinical characteristics as 11,176 new atenolol users.

“In conclusion, we found no differences in cardiovascular event rates when comparing patients without a history of cardiovascular events who were initiating treatment with either atenolol or metoprolol tartrate,” the authors write. “These findings suggest that hypertension trial outcomes with atenolol may not relate to unfavorable characteristics of this particular drug.”

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