Genetics of Marfan Syndrome Medication

Updated: Jan 07, 2021
  • Author: Germaine L Defendi, MD, MS, FAAP; Chief Editor: Maria Descartes, MD  more...
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Medication Summary

Beta-blocker and calcium antagonist therapy retard the aortic growth rate in children and adolescents with Marfan syndrome (MFS). Atenolol is a beta blocker that is longer acting and more cardioselective than others; it has largely replaced propranolol as the beta blocker of choice. Experience with calcium antagonists is limited.

An ARB regimen is now recommended as first-line treatment and should be emphasized. Some cardiologists who specialize in MFS also have their patients on beta blockers, to cover both arms of the pathway.


Beta-adrenergic blocking agents

Class Summary

These drugs are used to delay aortic expansion and its subsequent progression to dissection or rupture. They inhibit chronotropic, inotropic, and vasodilatory responses to beta-adrenergic stimulation.

Atenolol (Tenormin)

Selective beta1-adrenergic antagonist.

Propranolol hydrochloride (Inderal)

Nonselective beta-adrenergic antagonist. Has membrane-stabilizing activity and decreases automaticity of contractions.


Calcium channel blocking agents

Class Summary

These drugs inhibit the transport of calcium ions across cell membranes.

Verapamil hydrochloride (Calan, Isoptin)

Calcium ion influx inhibitor. Prevents aortic growth in Marfan syndrome.