Safety and efficacy of carvedilol in very elderly diabetic patients with heart failure

Donatella Del Sindaco, Giovanni Pulignano, Giovanni Cioffi, Luigi Tarantini, Andrea Di Lenarda, Stefania De Feo, Cristina Opasich, Giovanni Minardi, Ezio Giovannini, Francesco Leggio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


OBJECTIVE: β-Blockers are often cautiously prescribed to older heart failure diabetics because of the paucity of published data and their perceived unfavourable effects on glucose metabolism, in spite of the evidence of their effectiveness and safety in middle-aged diabetic patients. The aim of this study was to compare the safety, tolerability and efficacy of long-term administration of carvedilol in a group of elderly patients with chronic heart failure, with and without concomitant diabetes. METHODS: Two hundred and fifty-two patients aged ≥70 years with heart failure and left ventricular ejection fraction ≤40% were followed in specialised heart failure clinics. Diabetes was present in 29.7%. Carvedilol was associated with conventional optimised treatment in 64% of diabetics and 65% of non-diabetics (P = NS). RESULTS: At baseline, diabetics presented with a longer duration of symptoms, higher Charlson comorbidity index, more frequent renal dysfunction and smaller left ventricular volumes than non-diabetics. New York Heart Association functional class and ejection fraction were similar in the two groups. At 1-year follow-up, tolerability (93.7 vs. 92.2%) and mean daily dose (24 ± 17 vs. 23 ± 14 mg/day) of carvedilol were similar in diabetics and non-diabetics. No worsening of fasting glucose, glycosylated haemoglobin and creatinine levels as well as the incidence of deaths and hospitalisations was observed in diabetics treated with carvedilol. Similar improvements in New York Heart Association class and mitral regurgitation severity were observed in diabetic and non-diabetic patients taking carvedilol. Ejection fraction showed a significant improvement, more pronounced in non-diabetics than in diabetics (+10 vs. +7 points; improvement of at least 10 points: 15 vs. 36%, P = 0.03). CONCLUSIONS: Similarly to younger ones, also in older patients, diabetes does not negatively influence the safety, tolerability and efficacy of carvedilol. However, diabetes remains a strong prognostic factor limiting the reversibility of left ventricular systolic dysfunction and the effect of treatment on subsequent outcome.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)675-682
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Cardiovascular Medicine
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2007


  • Carvedilol
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Elderly
  • Ventricular remodelling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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