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Int J Cardiol. 2000 Sep 15;75(2-3):167-76; discussion 176-7.

The effects of chronic, sustained-release moxonidine therapy on clinical and neurohumoral status in patients with heart failure.

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  • 1Cardiology Division, Central Hospital in Rogaland, 4011, Stavanger, Norway.



Congestive heart failure (CHF) is characterized by elevated plasma norepinephrine (PNE) associated with a poor prognosis. Moxonidine selectively stimulates medullary imidazoline receptors which centrally inhibit sympathetic outflow and potently suppress levels of circulating PNE. This study was designed to evaluate the effects of central sympathetic inhibition on clinical and neurohumoral status in patients with CHF.


This study evaluated 25 patients (age=69+/-7 years, 20 males) with symptomatic CHF (NYHA II-III), stabilized on standard therapy. The mean ejection fraction was 28+/-7% at baseline. Patients were titrated in a double-blind fashion to 11 weeks of oral therapy with placebo (n=9) or sustained-release (SR) moxonidine 0.9 mg bid (n=16). Clinical and neurohumoral status were evaluated at baseline, on chronic therapy at the target dose, and during cessation of therapy. All patients completed the trial and reached the target dose. Dry mouth, symptomatic hypotension, and asthenia were more frequent in the moxonidine SR-treated group. PNE was substantially reduced after 6 weeks at the maximum dose (0.9 mg bid) by 50% vs. placebo (P<0. 0005). A reduction in 24-h mean heart rate (P<0.01) was correlated to the reduction in PNE (r=0.70, P<0.05). A 36% increase in the standard deviation of normal-to-normal intervals (SDNN) was observed in the moxonidine SR group vs. a 2% decrease for placebo (P=0.06); for the root mean square of successive differences (rMSSD), there was a 21% increase for moxonidine SR vs. a 19% decrease for placebo (P<0.05). Abrupt cessation of chronic therapy resulted in substantial increases in PNE, blood pressure, and heart rate.


Chronic therapy with a sustained-release formulation of moxonidine in patients with CHF was well tolerated, with substantial and sustained reductions in PNE. The tachyarrhythmias were attenuated, with evidence of improved autonomic tone. Due to the observed effects following moxonidine discontinuation, tapering of therapy is recommended.

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