Researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham have obtained an $11 million grant from the Department of Defense to study the role of beta blockers in patients with COPD.

“The objective of this study is to determine whether beta blockers can reduce the risk of acute exacerbations of COPD and whether patients can take the drug without major side effects,” said Dransfield, who is also the medical director of the UAB Lung Health Center. “If beta blockers are shown to reduce COPD exacerbations, it will provide a totally new approach to treat patients with this chronic disabling disease.”

The UAB-led study will be carried out at 14 research centers across the United States, including civilian and Veterans Affairs hospitals. Approximately 1,100 patients with at least moderately severe COPD will be enrolled and placed on either a beta blocker called metoprolol or a placebo for up to 12 months. At the end of the study, the research team will determine how well the beta blocker was tolerated and whether it reduced the risk of exacerbations in comparison to the placebo.

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