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Do doctors give short shrift to effective older drugs?

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Studies find doctors frequently fail to prescribe some lifesaving older drugs for their patients with bad hearts and high blood pressure, while overusing newer, less effective medicines.

The research is the latest to lament the slow, often erratic way that new medical knowledge makes its way into everyday practice, as well as the influence of drug company marketing campaigns.Doctors who study this issue say the result is often less-than-ideal treatment with overpriced drugs.

Virtually every set of guidelines issued by expert panels lists an older class of drugs called beta blockers as the first-line treatment for recovering heart attack victims and others with serious coronary artery disease.