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Exercise metabolism in healthy volunteers taking celiprolol, atenolol, and placebo.
  1. A Head,
  2. S Maxwell,
  3. M J Kendall
  1. Department of Sport Sciences, Brunel University College, Isleworth, Middlesex, United Kingdom.


    OBJECTIVE: Previous studies have shown that beta 1 selective agents have fewer adverse effects on exercise metabolism than nonselective beta blockers, and this has been attributed to their reduced blockade of beta 2 receptors. This study aimed at determining whether a beta blocker with partial agonist activity at beta 1 and beta 2 receptors (celiprolol) was better than a conventional beta 1 receptor-blocker (atenolol) in prolonging exercise capabilities. METHODS: After four days of treatment with celiprolol 200 mg, atenolol 50 mg, or placebo, 22 healthy volunteers exercised on a treadmill for two hours at 50% of their maximal oxygen uptake. Resting heart rate and blood pressure were recorded before and after exercise. During exercise, fat oxidation, plasma free fatty acids, glycerol, glucose, and ammonia were measured together with heart rate and perceived exertion. RESULTS: Mean exercising heart rate was significantly lower in those taking either of the beta blockers than in those taking placebo, and significantly lower for those taking atenolol rather than celiprolol. Fat oxidation was significantly lower for those taking celiprolol (38.8 (SD 12.2)%, P < 0.01) and atenolol (36.6 (15.9)%, P < 0.01) compared with placebo (45.6 (14.1)%). For the first 15 minutes of exercise, fat oxidation was significantly lower for those taking atenolol (24.6 (12.8)%, P < 0.01) than celiprolol (29.6 (14.3)%). The rise in plasma free fatty acids and glycerol during exercise was also significantly attenuated by both beta blockers in comparison with the rise in those taking placebo (P < 0.01). CONCLUSIONS: Both celiprolol and atenolol reduced fat oxidation compared with placebo. For the first 15 minutes of exercise fat oxidation was preserved by celiprolol, but not atenolol. This preservation of fat oxidation during the early part of exercise may confer some small benefit to patients who take beta blockers and intend to exercise regularly. However, we did not detect significant differences between atenolol and celiprolol in overall mean fat oxidation or perceived exertion in this study.

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