, Volume 70, Issue 1, pp 41-56
Date: 17 Sep 2012


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Nebivolol is a third-generation β-adrenergic receptor antagonist (β-blocker) with high selectivity for β1-adrenergic receptors. In addition, it causes vasodilatation via interaction with the endothelial L-arginine/nitric oxide (NO) pathway. This dual mechanism of action underlies many of the haemodynamic properties of nebivolol, which include reductions in heart rate and blood pressure (BP), and improvements in systolic and diastolic function. With respect to BP lowering, the NO-mediated effects cause a reduction in peripheral vascular resistance and an increase in stroke volume with preservation of cardiac output. Flow-mediated dilatation and coronary flow reserve are also increased during nebivolol administration. Other haemodynamic effects include beneficial effects on pulmonary artery pressure, pulmonary wedge pressure, exercise capacity and left ventricular ejection fraction. In addition, nebivolol does not appear to have adverse effects on lipid metabolism and insulin sensitivity like traditional β-blockers. The documented beneficial haemodynamic effects of nebivolol are translated into improved clinical outcomes in patients with hypertension or heart failure. In patients with hypertension, the incidence of bradycardia with nebivolol is often lower than that with other currently available β-blockers. This, along with peripheral vasodilatation and NO-induced benefits such as antioxidant activity and reversal of endothelial dysfunction, should facilitate better protection from cardiovascular events. In addition, nebivolol has shown an improved tolerability profile, particularly with respect to events commonly associated with β-blockers, such as fatigue and sexual dysfunction. Data from SENIORS (Study of the Effects of Nebivolol Intervention on Outcomes and Rehospitalization in Seniors with Heart Failure) showed that significantly fewer nebivolol versus placebo recipients experienced the primary endpoint of all-cause mortality or cardiovascular hospitalization. The benefits of nebivolol therapy were shown to be cost effective. Thus, nebivolol is an effective and well tolerated agent with benefits over and above those of traditional β-blockade because of its effects on NO release, which give it unique haemodynamic effects, cardioprotective activity and a good tolerability profile.