The effect of vasodilator β-blockers on renal function in hypertensive patients

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Not only is there a limited number of studies on the effects of vasodilator β-blocker (VBB) therapy on kidney function – specifically, glomerular filtration rate (GFR), serum creatinine (sCr) and proteinuria – but of those that have been reported, the results are mixed. This meta-analysis seeks to assess the efficacy of VBBs on selected renal parameters in hypertensive patients.


We conducted a meta-analysis of any prospective trial that provided both baseline and follow-up of at least 4 weeks of VBB therapy – carvedilol, labetalol, dilevalol, nebivolol and celiprolol in patients with hypertension. We used Ovid MEDLINE, EMBASE and PubMed, all without date restrictions. We included 39 studies totaling 3987 patients.


Although VBBs did not significantly change GFR or sCr levels after at least 4 weeks of therapy, they did significantly decrease protein excretion by −0.12 SD units [95% confidence interval (CI) −0.19 to −0.04; P < 0.01]. VBBs did not alter renal blood or plasma flow, but renal vascular resistance (RVR) decreased by −20.03 mmHg min/l (95% CI −28.92 to −11.15; P < 0.01). In the analysis which compared VBBs with non-VBBs, the only significant difference was the greater decrease in RVR in the VBB group by −38.44 mmHg min/l (95% CI −60.57 to −16.31; P < 0.01).


VBBs do not affect GFR or sCr levels, but decrease protein excretion. This class of β-blockers, however, is not superior to non-VBBs in reducing proteinuria. VBBs decrease RVR significantly more than non-VBBs.

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