Diuretic treatment alters clonidine suppression of plasma norepinephrine.
The effect of short-term diuretic treatment on the action of clonidine was evaluated in eight subjects with mild, uncomplicated hypertension. A single oral dose of clonidine (0.3 mg) was given before and after 1 week of therapy with hydrochlorothiazide, 50 mg, and amiloride, 5 mg, taken daily. Changes in mean arterial pressure, heart rate, plasma norepinephrine and epinephrine levels, and plasma renin activity were assessed. Diuretic treatment caused a significant weight loss, increased plasma renin activity, and reduced serum potassium concentration but did not significantly alter the absolute reduction in mean arterial pressure caused by clonidine. Absolute clonidine-induced reduction in plasma renin activity after diuretic treatment was three times greater than before treatment, although percent changes were similar. Before diuretic therapy, clonidine significantly reduced the level of norepinephrine (absolute and percent change). After diuretic treatment, clonidine failed to suppress norepinephrine, and the difference from prediuretic changes was significant. The level of epinephrine was not altered significantly either by diuretic treatment or clonidine. These results indicate that diuretic therapy alters the clonidine-activated mechanism for reduction of arterial pressure through a shift from overall suppression of sympathetic tone to pathways that are more restricted to renal tone. This shift may be due to changes in fluid or electrolyte balance that alter the action of alpha 2-adrenergic receptor-mediated pathways. Use of the clonidine suppression test for the diagnosis of pheochromocytoma may give false-positive results in diuretic-treated patients.
- Copyright © 1986 by American Heart Association