Older Men Taking Alpha Blockers Have Higher Risk for Stroke: Study

Older Men Taking Alpha Blockers Have Higher Risk for Stroke: Study

Authored by DesiMD Doctor on 10 Dec 2015 - 15:44


Older men who take alpha-blockers are at a greater risk of ischemic stroke during the first 21 days of the treatment, according to a study by Dr. Chao-Lun Lai, National Taiwan University Hospital. Alpha-blockers are a class of drugs that are used to treat numerous health conditions including Raynaud's disease, high blood pressure and urine flow in older men with enlarged prostates.

In the findings published in Canadian Medical Association Journa, researchers explain that alpha-blockers relax the muscles of the prostrate and bladder and keeps small blood vessels open. Although these drugs help treat a variety of conditions, it can increase the risk of stroke within the first few days.

Research Study: In order to examine the association between alpha-blockers and stroke risk, researchers analyzed a group of about 7,500 Taiwanese men aged above 50 years as they entered the stage of alpha-blockers.

Study Findings: After a follow-up of 3 years, results showed:

  • An increased risk of ischemic stroke for men in the early initiation period and a lower risk in the late initiation period (22-60 days after starting treatment).
  • Men who were not consuming other BP medication were twice liable for an increased risk of ischemic stroke during the first 21 days as compared with men who started taking alpha-blockers later.
  • However, men who were already taking other BP medicines did not face an increased risk of stroke, possibly because their bodies were already habituated to the drugs and their blood pressure-stabilizing effects.

"We recommend caution when prescribing alpha-blockers to patients who are not taking other antihypertensive medications," researchers add.


Reference:Risk of ischemic stroke during the initiation period of α-blocker therapy among older men, Chao-Lun Lai et al., CMAJ, doi:10.1503/cmaj.150624, published 7 December 2015, abstract.


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