Evidence for a predominantly central hypotensive effect of alpha-methyldopa in humans.
We examined the time course and extent to which central and peripheral mechanisms contribute to the short-term effects of a 500-mg oral dose of alpha-methyldopa on supine mean arterial pressure, cardiac output, and total peripheral resistance, as well as its effects on total urinary excretion of norepinephrine and its metabolites, in five subjects with essential hypertension. Total peripheral resistance was reduced significantly 1 hour after alpha-methyldopa administration and remained so for the ensuing 7 hours of the study (p less than 0.05). A small but significant reduction in mean arterial pressure occurred 7 hours after the dose (p less than 0.05), while cardiac output did not change significantly. Total 24-hour urinary norepinephrine and metabolite excretion was reduced by 8.1 mumol (35% compared with placebo). The relative distribution of urinary norepinephrine metabolites was unaffected by alpha-methyldopa, and the catecholamine metabolites of alpha-methyldopa, alpha-methylnorepinephrine and alpha-methylnormetanephrine did not account for this reduction. Competitive inhibition of methyldopa transport across the blood-brain barrier and into the central nervous system by large oral doses of isoleucine antagonized most of the effect of alpha-methyldopa. The effects on total peripheral resistance were completely abolished, and small, insignificant changes during the 7-hour study were similar to those observed after placebo. Changes in mean arterial pressure were not significant; however, 24-hour total urinary norepinephrine and metabolite excretion increased by 6.1 mumol to 22.7 mumol (24.7 mumol excreted after placebo). Adding benserazide to the alpha/methyldopa-isoleucine dose regimen in an attempt to inhibit any residual, presumably peripheral, effects of alpha-methyldopa caused little, if any, further antagonism.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)
- Copyright © 1986 by American Heart Association