Double-blind trial comparing guanfacine and methyldopa in patients with essential hypertension

A. J. Bune, J. P. Chalmers, J. R. Graham, P. R.C. Howe, M. J. West, L. M.H. Wing

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5 Citations (Scopus)


Nine patients with essential hypertension completed a clinical trial designed to study the effects and side effects of administration and withdrawal of guanfacine (2 mg tds) and methyldopa (250 mg tds) on blood pressure, heart rate, and plasma noradrenaline. The study was of randomised doubleblind crossover design with two active therapy phases of eight weeks each, preceded by an initial 4 week placebo phase, separated by an intermediate 2 week placebo phase, and followed by a final 2 week placebo phase. Patients took bendrofluazide 5 mgs daily throughout the entire trial, during both active and placebo periods. Each patient was admitted to hospital at the end of the 8 week active treatment phases, so that the effects of drug withdrawal on blood pressure, heart rate, plasma noradrenaline and side reactions, could be closely observed and monitored. The main conclusions from analysis of the results were that: 1. The hypotensive efficacy of guanfacine and methyldopa was very similar in the doses used, each of the two drugs lowering the supine mean arterial pressure by about 15 mm Hg and the supine diastolic pressure by about 10 mm Hg. 2. The frequency of side effects was greater with guanfacine than with methyldopa. 3. There was no signficant early rebound phenomenon after withdrawal of either methyldopa or guanfacine. 4. There was tendency for the blood pressure to rise slowly and marginally above initial placebo values, 2 weeks after cessation of guanfacine treatment though this was not significant. It was however, accompanied by a significant increase in plasma noradrenaline at 2 weeks. This was not seen 2 weeks after cessation of methyldopa. There was no single incidence of worrying rebound hypertension or withdrawal symptoms either early or late in any patient following cessation of methyldopa or guanfacine.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)309-315
Number of pages7
JournalEuropean Journal of Clinical Pharmacology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Sep 1981
Externally publishedYes


  • guanfacine
  • hypertension
  • methyldopa
  • plasma noradrenaline
  • rebound hypertension
  • withdrawal symptoms


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