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Am J Hypertens. 2001 Jun;14(6 Pt 1):553-8.

Low-dose alpha/beta blockade in the treatment of essential hypertension.

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  • 1New York Presbyterian Hospital, Weill Medical College of Cornell University, New York 10021, USA.


Despite the recent emphasis on combination drug therapy for hypertension, little attention has been given to alpha/beta blockade using agents other than labetalol. The purpose of this study was to 1) compare the efficacy of low-dose alpha/beta blockade using doxazosin + betaxolol, versus monotherapy with an angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitor (quinapril) and a diuretic (hydrochlorothiazide [HCTZ]), and 2) assess the efficacy of low-dose doxazosin. In a crossover study, 21 hypertensive subjects were treated for 3 weeks each with HCTZ, 12.5 to 25 mg/day, quinapril, 10 to 40 mg/day, and a combination of doxazosin, 1 to 4 mg + betaxolol, 5 to 10 mg daily. Doses were titrated to achieve a systolic pressure <130 mm Hg, as assessed by self-recorded home measurements. Home blood pressure decreased 11.5/7.5 mm Hg after HCTZ, 12.9/8.8 mm Hg after quinapril, and 21.2/16.5 mm Hg after doxazosin + betaxolol (P < .001/< .001 v HCTZ and P < .002/< .001 v quinapril). The target systolic pressure was achieved by 33%, 43%, and 71% of subjects, respectively (P = .04 v HCTZ, and .03 v quinapril). Among the 8 subjects in whom doxazosin dosage was increased to the maximum of 4 mg, the mean blood pressure achieved at 4 mg did not differ from that achieved at 2 mg (136/87 v 136/88 mm Hg). We conclude that oral alpha/beta blockade is superior to monotherapy with an angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitor or a diuretic and that maximal or near maximal efficacy can be achieved at a 2-mg dose of doxazosin. Low-dose oral alpha/beta blockade merits greater consideration in the drug therapy of essential hypertension.

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