Is it time to replace propranolol with carvedilol for portal hypertension?

Shahab Abid, Saadat Ali, Muhammad Asif Baig, Anam Akbar Waheed

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Beta-adrenergic receptor antagonists (beta-blockers) have been well established for use in portal hypertension for more than three decades. Different Non-selective beta-blockers like propranolol, nadolol, timolol, atenolol, metoprolol and carvedilol have been in clinical practice in patients with cirrhosis. Carvedilol has proven 2-4 times more potent than propranolol as a beta-receptor blocker in trials conducted testing its efficacy for heart failure. Whether the same effect extends to its potency in the reduction of portal venous pressures is a topic of on-going debate. The aim of this review is to compare the hemodynamic and clinical effects of carvedilol with propranolol, and attempt assess whether carvedilol can be used instead of propranolol in patients with cirrhosis. Carvedilol is a promising agent among the beta blockers of recent time that has shown significant effects in portal hypertension hemodynamics. It has also demonstrated an effective profile in its clinical application specifically for the prevention of variceal bleeding. Carvedilol has more potent desired physiological effects when compared to Propranolol. However, it is uncertain at the present juncture whether the improvement in hemodynamics also translates into a decreased rate of disease progression and complications when compared to propranolol. Currently Carvedilol shows promise as a therapy for portal hypertension but more clinical trials need to be carried out before we can consider it as a superior option and a replacement for propranolol.

Original languageUndefined/Unknown
JournalSection of Gastroenterology
Publication statusPublished - 16 May 2015

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