European Journal of Clinical Pharmacology

, Volume 72, Issue 10, pp 1265–1273 | Cite as

Use of cardioselective β-blockers and overall death and cardiovascular outcomes in patients with COPD: a population-based cohort study

  • Yaa-Hui Dong
  • Chia-Hsuin ChangEmail author
  • Li-Chiu Wu
  • Mei-Shu Lai
Pharmacoepidemiology and Prescription



Use of β-blockers (BBs) in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and cardiovascular diseases is supported by increasing evidence. However, most of these studies focused on the survival outcome and used a non-active comparison, prevalent-user design. We aimed to examine the risk of overall death and cardiovascular outcomes associated with use of cardioselective BBs using an active comparison, incident cohort approach.


We identified COPD patients initiating cardioselective BBs or non-dihydropyridine calcium channel blockers (CCBs) between 2007 and 2011 in the population-based Taiwan database. A Cox regression model was applied to estimate hazard ratios (HRs) for overall death, cardiovascular death, and cardiovascular events comparing cardioselective BBs and non-dihydropyridine CCBs after propensity score matching. We also conducted sensitivity analyses to quantify the unmeasured confounding effect from COPD severity.


A total of 107,902 patients were included. Cardioselective BBs were associated with a modest, lower risk of overall death (HR, 0.85; 95 % CI, 0.81–0.88). The reduced risk of overall death, however, was vulnerable to distribution of COPD severity and was easily weakened with lower prevalence of severe COPD patients in the initiators of cardioselective BBs and higher prevalence of severe COPD patients in the initiators of non-dihydropyridine CCBs. No excess benefit for cardiovascular death (HR, 1.05; 95 % CI, 0.97–1.13) or cardiovascular events (HR, 0.98; 95 % CI, 0.94–1.03) was detected.


The present study demonstrated a potential effect of confounding by COPD severity and therefore did not suggest an association between use of cardioselective BB and survival benefit in COPD patients.


Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease Cardioselective β-blockers Non-dihydropyridine calcium channel blockers Overall death Cardiovascular outcomes 


Compliance with ethical standards

The protocol was approved by the National Taiwan University Hospital Research Ethics Committee.


This study was in part supported by the Taiwan Department of Health grant (DOH101-TD-B-111-01), which did not play any role in the conception and design of study; collection, management, analysis, and interpretation of data; and preparation, review, or approval of the manuscript.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Supplementary material

228_2016_2097_MOESM1_ESM.doc (156 kb)
ESM 1 (DOC 156 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yaa-Hui Dong
    • 1
  • Chia-Hsuin Chang
    • 2
    • 3
    Email author
  • Li-Chiu Wu
    • 2
  • Mei-Shu Lai
    • 3
  1. 1.Division of Pharmacoepidemiology and Pharmacoeconomics, Department of MedicineBrigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA
  2. 2.Department of Internal MedicineNational Taiwan University HospitalTaipeiTaiwan
  3. 3.Graduate Institute of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, College of Public HealthNational Taiwan UniversityTaipeiTaiwan

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