Beta-blocker therapy is not associated with symptoms of depression and anxiety in patients receiving an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator
Beta-blockers are frequently prescribed to implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) patients. Beta-blocker therapy has been proposed to induce emotional distress such as depression and anxiety, but a paucity of studies has examined the relationship between beta-blockers and distress. We investigated the association between beta-blocker therapy, including type and dosage, and symptoms of anxiety and depression in a consecutive cohort of patients receiving an ICD. Between 2003 and 2010, 448 consecutively implanted ICD patients were enrolled in the prospective Mood and personality as precipitants of arrhythmia in patients with an Implantable cardioverter Defibrillator: A prospective Study (MIDAS), of which 429 completed the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) and the ICD Patient Concerns questionnaire (ICDC) at baseline. Eighty per cent of all patients received beta-blocker therapy. In univariate analysis, beta-blocker therapy was not significantly associated with symptoms of anxiety, depression, and ICD concerns (β = -0.030, β = 0.007, and β = -0.045, respectively; all P's >0.36). Type of beta-blocker showed a trend towards significance for mean levels of ICD concerns (P = 0.09). No association was found between dosage and emotional distress (all P's >0.21). After adjustment for relevant clinical and demographic variables, the association of beta-blocker therapy and symptoms of anxiety, depression, and ICD concerns remained non-significant (β = 0.009, β = 0.037, and β = 0.019, respectively; all P's >0.47). In patients receiving an ICD, beta-blocker therapy was not associated with symptoms of anxiety, depression, and ICD concerns. Research is warranted that further elucidates the link between beta-blocker therapy and emotional distress in this vulnerable patient group.