Research Article

Long term propranolol treatment and changes in body weight after myocardial infarction.

BMJ 1990; 300 doi: (Published 07 April 1990) Cite this as: BMJ 1990;300:902
  1. S Rössner,
  2. C L Taylor,
  3. R P Byington,
  4. C D Furberg
  1. Department of Public Health Sciences, Bowman-Gray School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, North Carolina 27103.


    OBJECTIVE--To determine the effect of long term propranolol treatment on body weight. DESIGN--Retrospective analysis of data from a placebo controlled randomised double blind clinical trial (the beta blocker heart attack trial). PATIENTS--3837 Men and women randomised 5-21 days after an acute myocardial infarction to treatment with placebo or propranolol for up to 40 months. Patients were followed up at annual visits. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE--Changes in body weight. RESULTS--At the first annual visit patients treated with propranolol had gained more weight than those given placebo (mean weight gain 2.3 kg v 1.2 kg respectively, mean difference 1.2 kg (95% confidence interval 0.9 to 1.5]. These group differences remained at the second and third annual visits. The difference in weight gain could not be explained by discrepancies in the use of diuretics or in physical activity and was similar in patients of both sexes and of all ages. CONCLUSION--Long term beta blockade results in a sustained weight gain.