According to new research from Cleveland Clinic, the use of carvedilol, a beta blocker, had a positive effect on treatment of pulmonary arterial hypertension.

Right-sided heart failure is the leading cause of death in PAH patients.

The Cleveland Clinic team assessed carvedilol use in a group of 30 patients with PAH in a double-blind, randomized study. They found that the drug lowered heart rate in correlation with carvedilol dose, improved heart rate recovery from exercise, and did not worsen heart failure or lead to airflow deterioration. The findings suggest carvedilol is safe to use in PAH patients for six months with evidence of improved outcomes that could prevent right-sided heart failure.

“There is a critical need for new therapies to support right ventricular function in pulmonary hypertension,” said lead author Serpil C. Erzurum, MD, Chair of Cleveland Clinic Lerner Research Institute.