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World J Surg. 2002 Aug;26(8):1037-42. Epub 2002 Jun 19.

Efficacy and safety of doxazosin for perioperative management of patients with pheochromocytoma.

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Sir Humphry Davy Department of Anaesthesia, University of Bristol, Level 7, Bristol Royal Infirmary, UK.


Despite adverse side effects, phenoxybenzamine has been widely used for the preoperative management of patients with pheochromocytoma. Doxazosin, a specific a 1-adrenoceptor antagonist, has a pharmacologic profile more suited to controlling blood pressure in such patients. A sequential study of 35 patients with pheochromocytoma encompassed a definite and prescribed change in preoperative drug management from phenoxybenzamine to doxazosin. Hemodynamic, pharmacologic, and biochemical indicators of a- and b-adrenoceptor blockade were measured before, during, and after anesthesia and surgery in 8 patients pretreated with phenoxybenzamine and 27 patients pretreated with doxazosin. Doxazosin (2-16 mg/day) was as effective as phenoxybenzamine in controlling arterial pressure and heart rate before and during surgery, but doxazosin caused fewer undesirable side effects both before and after surgery. Following phenoxybenzamine therapy substantial a 1-adrenoceptor blockade, detected as a right shift of phenylephrine dose-response curves, persisted for more than 2 days postoperatively, whereas after doxazosin it was undetectable on the first postoperative day. Doxazosin provided safe, efficacious pre- and perioperative control of arterial pressure. In patients with predominantly norepinephrine-secreting tumors, pretreatment 24-hour urinary norepinephrine excretion gave an indication of the daily doxazosin requirement.

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