Beta-agonist drugs are used to treat asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and other respiratory ailments. This class of drugs works by relaxing the muscles of the airways, opening up the passageways in a patient’s lungs, and allowing the patient to breathe easier. While it is well known that beta-agonist drugs can cause an increase in heart rate, many people do not realize these drugs can also increase the risk of death by heart attack and stroke.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has now issued new warnings to consumers, healthcare professionals, and manufacturers of asthma inhalers regarding the increased risk of heart attack or stroke with the use of beta-agonist drugs. The new warnings come after a review of a dozen studies looking at the safety profile of these drugs. The FDA has concluded that these drugs are linked to a 23 percent increased risk of death from a heart attack or stroke among patients with COPD.« Back to Glossary Index