Beta blocker drugs, prescribed for heart diseases, may also help sufferers of chronic bronchitis and emphysema.
Researchers in the Asthma and Allergy Group at Dundee, NHS Tayside and St Andrews University, found the drugs reduced mortality rates and hospital admissions for patients already taking regular inhaler therapies.
"The clear benefits of beta blocker use in cardiovascular disease are well known but their use is generally avoided in patients who also have COPD, because of concerns they might cause adverse effects with breathing," the Scotsman quoted Prof Brian Lipworth, who heads the group, as saying.
"But our research shows there are no adverse effects and in fact, when used in addition to regular treatments like inhalers, the beta blockers have a very positive effect," added Lipworth.
The research has been published in the British Medical Journal.