The potential hazards of abrupt withdrawal of propranolol have been described in patients with angina pectoris; however, the effects of abrupt withdrawal from long-term therapy with verapamil have not previously been investigated. The comparative effects of withdrawal from long-term treatment with propranolol and verapamil were assessed in a placebo-controlled double-blind randomized crossover study of 20 patients with stable angina pectoris. Patients received placebo for 2 weeks, then increasing doses of propranolol (60 to 320 mg/day) or verapamil (240 to 480 mg/day) for 3 weeks. Patients were then abruptly withdrawn from drug onto placebo for 1 week, followed by crossover to the other drug treatment and a second withdrawal period. All 20 patients were withdrawn from verapamil without evidence of a rebound increase in frequency of anginal attacks, blood pressure, heart rate, or rate-pressure product and without a rebound deterioration in exercise tolerance. In contrast, with propranolol withdrawal, 2 patients (with the highest baseline angina attack rate) had a severe exacerbation of their anginal syndrome and could not undergo formal exercise testing; the other 18 patients were withdrawn from propranolol without Incident. Plasma catecholamlnes were increased during exercise compared with rest during all treatments; however, the levels of catecholamines during exercise were significantly higher with propranolol than with verapamil and placebo (p < 0.05). Levels of exercise catecholamines returned to placebo baseline values after withdrawal of propranolol.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine