No Consistent Link Found Between β-Blockers, Psychiatric Outcomes

In HealthDay News
by Healthday

Periods of β-blocker treatment linked to reduced risk for psychiatric hospitalization, increased risks for suicidal behavior

By Elana Gotkine HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, March 1, 2023 (HealthDay News) — There are no consistent links between β-blockers and psychiatric outcomes, according to a study published online Jan. 31 in PLOS Medicine.

Yasmina Molero, Ph.D., from the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, and colleagues conducted a population-based longitudinal study to examine the associations between β-blockers and psychiatric and behavioral outcomes. Data were included for 1,400,766 individuals aged 15 years or older who were followed for eight years between 2006 and 2013.

The researchers found that during the study period, 6.9, 0.7, and 0.7 percent of the β-blocker users were hospitalized for a psychiatric disorder, presented with suicidal behavior, and were charged with a violent crime, respectively. Heterogeneity was seen in the direction of the results; periods of β-blocker treatment were associated with reduced risks for psychiatric hospitalizations and charges of violent crime but with increased risks for suicidal behavior (hazard ratios, 0.92, 0.87, and 1.08, respectively). Reduced associations with psychiatric hospitalizations during β-blocker treatment were mainly related to lower hospitalization rates due to depressive and psychotic disorders after stratification by diagnosis (hazard ratios, 0.92 and 0.89, respectively). In most sensitivity analyses, reduced associations with violent charges remained, while inconsistent associations were seen with psychiatric hospitalizations and suicidal behaviors.

“The differing treatment patterns for psychiatric hospitalizations and violent crime suggest that nonspecific treatment effects were not prominent. The increased links with suicidal behavior could suggest that associations were not specific (i.e., causally related) to β-blockers,” the authors write.

One author disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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