Objective Although β-blockers are an established therapy in heart failure (HF) guidelines, including for patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), there remain concerns regarding bronchoconstriction even with cardioselective β-blockers. We wished to assess the real-life use of β-blockers for patients with HF and comorbid COPD. Methods We evaluated data from the Optimum Patient Care Research Database over a period of 1 year for co-prescribing of β-blockers with either an ACE inhibitor (ACEI) or angiotensin-2 receptor blocker (ARB) in patients with HF alone versus HF+COPD. Association with inhaler therapy was also evaluated. Results We identified 89 861 patients with COPD, 24 237 with HF and 10 853 with both conditions. In patients with HF+COPD, the mean age was 79 years; 60% were male, and 27% had prior myocardial infarction. Of patients with HF+COPD, 22% were taking a β-blocker in conjunction with either ACEI/ARB (n=2416) compared with 41% of patients with HF only (n=10 002) (adjusted OR 0.54, 95% CI 0.51 to 0.58, p<0.001). Among HF+COPD patients taking inhaled corticosteroid (ICS) with long-acting β-agonist (LABA) and long-acting muscarinic antagonist, 27% of patients were taking an ACEI/ARB with β-blockers (n=778) versus 46% taking an ACEI/ARB without β-blockers (n=1316). Corresponding figures for those patients taking ICS/LABA were 20% (n=583) versus 48% (n=1367), respectively. Conclusions These data indicate a substantial unmet need for patients with COPD who should be prescribed β-blockers more often for concomitant HF.