Centrally Acting Antihypertensive Drugs

  • Mark Houston
Part of the Current Clinical Practice book series (CCP)


The centrally acting antihypertensive drugs are one of the oldest classes still in use for the treatment of hypertension. As a group, their common and unique mechanism of action is to stimulate receptors in the brain that reduce sympathetic nervous system (SNS) activity, and lower blood pressure (BP) heart rate, and systemic vascular resistance while preserving cardiac output (1). The overall hemodynamic and metabolic profiles are quite favorable for these drugs, but their clinical use has been limited owing to side effects of sedation, dry mouth, or mild depression. Recently, newer centrally acting drugs have been developed that are more specific for the imidazoline receptor, which results in excellent antihypertensive effects but minimal to no adverse effects (2). These newer agents will assume an important role in the future management of hypertension as monotherapy or in combination with other antihypertensive drugs.


Plasma Renin Activity Essential Tremor Mitral Valve Prolapse Sympathetic Nervous System Activity Coronary Heart Disease Risk Factor 
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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2001

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  • Mark Houston

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