Research Article

Effect of partial agonist activity in beta blockers in severe angina pectoris: a double blind comparison of pindolol and atenolol.

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1984; 289 doi: (Published 13 October 1984) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1984;289:951
  1. A A Quyyumi,
  2. C Wright,
  3. L Mockus,
  4. K M Fox


    The use of beta adrenoceptor blockade in the treatment of rest angina is controversial, and the effects on severe angina of partial agonist activity in beta blockers are unknown. Eight patients with effort angina and seven with effort and nocturnal angina and severe coronary artery disease were studied initially when they were not taking any antianginal drugs. Pindolol 5 mg thrice daily (with partial agonist activity) and atenolol 100 mg daily (without partial agonist activity) were given for five days each in a double blind randomised manner. Diaries of angina were kept and treadmill exercise testing and ambulatory ST monitoring performed during the last 48 hours of each period of treatment. Daytime and nocturnal resting heart rates and the frequency of angina were significantly reduced by atenolol compared with pindolol (p less than 0.01). The duration of exercise was significantly increased and the frequency, duration, and magnitude of daytime and nocturnal episodes of ST segment depression on ambulatory monitoring were reduced by atenolol. Reduction in resting heart rate is important in the treatment of both effort and nocturnal angina. Partial agonist activity in beta adrenoceptor antagonists may be deleterious in patients with severe angina pectoris.