Treating symptomatic neurogenic orthostatic hypotension (nOH) in patients with supine hypertension can be challenging.
Before adding new agents, consider discontinuation or dose reduction of medications that can potentially aggravate orthostatic symptoms (eg, diuretics, vasodilators, negative chronotropic agents, including beta blockers).
Midodrine (an α1-adrenoreceptor agonist) and droxidopa (a norepinephrine pro-drug) are the only 2 FDA-approved drugs for the treatment of OH.
- Midodrine is typically dosed between 2.5 mg-15 mg 1-3x/d during waking hours (prior to getting out of bed, before lunch, mid-afternoon).
- Droxidopa is dosed from 100-600 mg 3x/day during waking hours (eg, 8 AM, noon, 4PM).
- To reduce the risk of supine hypertension, these agents are not recommended to be taken within 5 h of bedtime, and should be used with caution in patients with congestive heart failure and chronic renal failure.
Fludrocortisone and pyridostigmine are used off-label for treatment of nOH.
- Fludrocortisone (typical dose 0.1-0.2 mg/day) expands intravascular blood volume by increasing renal sodium and water reabsorption, with an attendant risk of exacerbating supine hypertension, hypokalemia, and edema.
- Pyridostigmine (typical dose 30-60 mg 1-3x/day) is an acetylcholinesterase inhibitor that potentiates neurotransmission in the sympathetic ganglia and has the advantage of not worsening supine hypertension. Side effects include abdominal cramps, diarrhea, excessive sweating and urinary incontinence.
In practice, 1 or more of these agents are often used along with non-pharmacological measures.
Go to a related pearl at https://pearls4peers.com/2017/09/18/which-non-pharmacological-approaches-may-help-symptoms-of-orthostatic-hypotension-in-my-patient-with-autonomic-insufficiency/.
Gibbons CH, Schmidt P, Biaggioni I, et al. The recommendations of a concensus panel for the screening, diagnosis, and treatment of neurogenic orthostatic hypotension and associated supine hypertension. J Neurol 2017;264:1567-82.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28050656