The effects of two centrally-acting anti-hypertensive drugs on the quality of life
The objectives of this study were to compare the effects of two centrally-acting antihypertensive drugs on measures of quality of life in a three-month double-blind trial of hypertensive patients randomized to methyldopa (n=79) or rilmenidine (n=78).
We studied men and women aged over 21 y attending eight hospital out-patient clinics in the United Kingdom. They had average diastolic blood pressures between 95 and 110 mm Hg and systolic pressures below 210 mm Hg after a 4-week placebo run-in period. The doses ranged from 1 to 2 mg daily of rilmenidine and 500 mg to 1 g of methyldopa. Hydrochlorothiazide (25 mg daily) was added after 8 weeks when the diastolic blood pressure remained at 90 mm Hg or more in 29% of patients on rilmenidine and 35% of those on methyldopa. Quality of life was assessed from self-completed questionnaires using standardized instruments.
Both drugs reduced blood pressure, but at the end of the trial the fall in the methyldopa group (19.3/13.0 mm Hg) was significantly greater than in the rilmenidine group (13.2/10.0 mm Hg). Ten patients in the methyldopa group withdrew from the trial compared with three in the rilmenidine group, primarily because of adverse effects. In both groups there was a significant increase in the overall reporting of adverse effects. Reports of dry mouth increased on both drugs, and sleepiness on rilmenidine but not methyldopa. There was no significant difference between the drugs in the overall reporting of adverse effects or of individual adverse effects.
Psychological well-being tended to improve on rilmenidine, but was adversely affected by methyldopa, with increases in reports of depression and cognitive impairment. However, at the end of the trial there were no significant differences in overall psychological well-being between the two groups.
Key wordsAntihypertensive therapy Quality of life centrally-acting drugs clinical trials adverse effects
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