It has long been suspected that beta blockers, which block the activity of the enzyme beta-amyloid peptide (AAP), are beneficial in treating people with chronic pain and dementia.
However, researchers from the University of Sydney and the University College London have now discovered that beta blocker therapy has some of the same side effects as opioids.
The team, led by Professor Peter Grosz of the Department of Medical Science at the University, studied the safety and effectiveness of a beta blocker called rivastigmine acetate, and found that the medication was associated with serious adverse effects on memory and cognitive function.
In an article published in the British Medical Journal, the researchers said the drug’s side effects were similar to those experienced by people who use opioids.
“Our study found that rivastaide acetate appears to have a similar pharmacokinetic profile to opioids and is associated with significant adverse side effects, including cognitive impairments,” the article said.
“The most serious adverse effect of rivaide acetates is respiratory depression.”
Rivastigo acetate also presents a very high risk of serious cardiac adverse events, including ischemic heart disease, cardiac arrest and sudden death.””
Although rivastyacet has not been shown to be effective in treating chronic pain, our results suggest that it may be useful in treating patients with mild to moderate chronic pain,” the authors concluded.
The research was funded by the Medical Research Council, the Alzheimer’s Society, the Australian Research Council and the National Institute of Health.
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