The effect of a cardioselective beta-adrenergic blocking agent, metoprolol, on symptoms and exercise tolerance was studied in 16 patients with angina pectoris. Metroprolol was compared with placebo at two dose levels (20 mg t.d.s. and 50 mg t.d.s.) in a double-blind trial in 14 patients. Compared with placebo, metroprolol caused a significant reduction of heart rate and systolic blood pressure during exercise, and consequently a reduction of the rate-pressure product. The reduction was greater with 50 mg t.d.s. than with 20 mg t.d.s. The exercise tolerance measured as total work increased significantly by 21 per cent during treatment with metroprolol 20 mg t.d.s., and by 17 per cent during treatment with 50 mg t.d.s. There was a reduction in the number of anginal attacks and in nitroglycerin consumption, and subjective improvement of angina pectoris at both dose levels of metroprolol. No signs of cardiac failure appeared during any of the four treatment periods. Heart volume showed no significant change. Unwanted effects were of the same frequency and severity during treatment with metroprolol at both dose levels as with placebo.
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