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Cardioselective beta blockers

A drug may be classified by the chemical type of the active ingredient or by the way it is used to treat a particular condition. Each drug can be classified into one or more drug classes.

Beta adrenergic blocking agents prevent stimulation of the beta adrenergic receptors at the nerve endings of the sympathetic nervous system and therefore decrease the activity of the heart. They block sympathetic stimulation of the heart and reduce systolic pressure, heart rate, cardiac contractility and output, so decrease myocardial oxygen demand and increase exercise tolerance.

Beta adrenergic blocking agents are used to treat angina, control abnormal heart rhythms and to reduce high blood pressure. However, blocking of the beta receptors may cause bronchial constriction therefore care has to be taken with the use of beta blockers in patients with respiratory conditions.

Cardioselective beta blockers (beta1- selective blockers) have a clinical advantage in that they mainly affect the heart, which predominantly has beta1 receptors. The effect of broncho-constriction is less with beta1 selective blockers, as the bronchial muscle has more beta2 receptors, however the danger of broncho-constriction cannot be totally ignored, as they are not totally selective.

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