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Correlation between propranolol in plasma and urine, renin-aldosterone system and blood pressure in essential hypertension

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Thirty patients with mild or moderate essential hypertension, and a fixed elevation of diastolic blood pressure, were randomly allocated to three groups and treated with propranolol 40 mg×4 (Group 1), 80 mg×4 (Group 2) and 160 mg×4 (Group 3). Blood pressure (BP), pulse rate (PR), plasma renin activity (PRA), plasma aldosterone concentration (PAC), total plasma propranolol (tPP), free plasma propranolol (fPP), and 24 h urinary propranolol excretion (UP) were determined at the end of four consecutive periods: (A) after four weeks without any treatment; (B) after two to three weeks during which the propranolol dose was gradually increased to the intended level; (C) after four weeks, and (D) after eight weeks of unchanged treatment. The maximum reduction in diastolic BP occurred after period B, and in systolic BP after Period C, for Groups 2 and 3, and for all groups together; for Group 1, however, the maximum diastolic BP reduction was first seen after period C. PR was reduced to the same level in all groups after period B. After period B, PRA and PAC fell in all groups, and remained reduced during C and D in Group 1. After periods C and D, PRA and PAC in Groups 2 and 3 did not differ significantly from the levels after period A; tPP, fPP and UP were significantly correlated with the propranolol dose, and were lowest in Group 1 and highest in Group 3; UP was negatively correlated with systolic but not diastolic BP in Periods B, C and D. In contrast neither fPP nor tPP were correlated with systolic or diastolic BP. There was no significant correlation between PRA, PAC and changes in PRA or PAC on the one hand and tPP, fPP, UP, BP or changes in BP on the other. It was concluded that propranolol effectively reduced BP, but diastolic BP reduction was most rapidly obtained at 320 and 640 mg daily, that the activity of the renin-aldosterone system was initially suppressed in all groups, but for unknown reasons it increased towards the control level after seven to eleven weeks of therapy with 320 and 640 mg/day, and that the reduction in systolic BP increased with higher doses of propranolol and with increasing urinary propranolol excretion.

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Pedersen, E.B., Kornerup, H.J., Pedersen, O.L. et al. Correlation between propranolol in plasma and urine, renin-aldosterone system and blood pressure in essential hypertension. Eur J Clin Pharmacol 20, 251–258 (1981). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00618774

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Key words

  • aldosterone
  • hypertension
  • propranolol
  • blood pressure
  • plasma level
  • renin
  • urine level