FEB 22, 2022 8:00 AM PST

Beta-blockers as a Potential Treatment for COVID-19

WRITTEN BY: Savannah Logan

Beta-blockers are relatively common medications used to treat high blood pressure, abnormal heart rhythms, and a range of other conditions. They work by blocking epinephrine (a.k.a. adrenaline), which causes lower heart rates and less forceful heartbeats. By blocking those receptors in the body, beta-blockers can impact the body’s “fight-or-flight” response.

Recently, researchers have been looking into whether beta-blockers may be useful in treating COVID-19. COVID-19 illness can be divided into three stages: stage I, the early viral response characterized by flu-like symptoms; stage II, the pulmonary phase with possible pneumonia and respiratory symptoms; and stage III, a “hyperinflammatory” phase in which organ failure may occur. Patients in stage III are often affected by acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). A study recently published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology suggests that metoprolol, a common beta-blocker, may be useful in treating COVID-induced ARDS.

The researchers who conducted the study randomized 20 COVID-19 patients with ARDS to be treated with metopropol or to be in a control group that received no additional treatment. They saw that the patients treated with metopropol had reduced lung inflammation and improved oxygenation with no side effects. While this was a small pilot study, its results suggest that metopropol may be a simple and inexpensive way to treat ARDS in COVID patients.

Beta-blockers like metopropol may be useful in treating ARDS because they help terminate exacerbated inflammation, which plays a major role in COVID-induced ARDS. This exacerbated inflammation is caused in part by an excessive immune response and the overactivation of neutrophils (a type of white blood cell and essential component of the immune system). Metopropol “stuns” neutrophils and can reduce neutrophil counts in the lungs, leading to positive outcomes for COVID patients.

Sources: Mayo Clinic, News-Medical, Journal of the American College of Cardiology, Medical News Today

About the Author
PhD in Biophysics
Savannah (she/her) is a scientific writer specializing in cardiology at Labroots. Her background is in medical writing with significant experience in obesity, oncology, and infectious diseases. She has conducted research in microbial biophysics, optics, and education. She recieved her Ph.D. from the University of Oregon and her B.S. from the University of Oklahoma.
You May Also Like
JAN 16, 2022
Plants & Animals
Consuming More Olive Oil Lowers Risk of Cardiovascular Disease Mortality
JAN 16, 2022
Consuming More Olive Oil Lowers Risk of Cardiovascular Disease Mortality
It’s estimated that olive oil has been manufactured by humans for nearly 6,000 years. When it was first produced, ...
MAR 21, 2022
Cardiology
How Does Wartime Stress Impact the Heart?
MAR 21, 2022
How Does Wartime Stress Impact the Heart?
In the United States, heart disease is the leading cause of death. However, the impact of heart disease is felt around t ...
APR 21, 2022
Cardiology
Physical Activity Improves Memory Function
APR 21, 2022
Physical Activity Improves Memory Function
Just 10 minutes of mild exercise immediately improves brain connectivity.
MAY 03, 2022
Cardiology
Marathon Training Reduces Your Heart's Age
MAY 03, 2022
Marathon Training Reduces Your Heart's Age
First-time marathon runners in a 6-month training program saw major heart benefits in a recent study.
JUN 09, 2022
Cardiology
Supplements and Heart Health
JUN 09, 2022
Supplements and Heart Health
There is little evidence that supplements actually improve heart health.
JUN 10, 2022
Health & Medicine
Are Cardiac Complications More Common After COVID-19 Infection or Vaccination?
JUN 10, 2022
Are Cardiac Complications More Common After COVID-19 Infection or Vaccination?
Myocarditis was a well-known reported side effect of COVID-19 vaccines, but heart issues were also a reported symptom of ...
Loading Comments...