The antianginal effects of diltiazem 180 mg/day and propranolol 240 mg/day, alone and in combination, were investigated in 15 patients with effort related angina in a double blind placebo controlled crossover trial, with each period of treatment lasting four weeks. Patients performed a symptom limited treadmill exercise test at the end of each period of treatment. Mean (SEM) time to onset of angina was increased from 293(32) s when receiving placebo to 347(38) s when receiving diltiazem alone, to 350(30) s when receiving propranolol alone, and further to 421(34) s when receiving diltiazem and propranolol combined. Similar changes occurred in the duration of exercise testing and time to 1 mm ST segment depression. The sum of ST segment depression at peak exercise was reduced by both diltiazem and propranolol alone compared with placebo, and combination treatment produced a further significant improvement. Rate pressure product was significantly reduced at rest and at peak exercise after propranolol alone and combination treatment. The study clearly showed the superior value of diltiazem and propranolol combined in effort related angina when compared with either drug used alone.
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