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Age Ageing. 2012 Sep;41(5):587-94. doi: 10.1093/ageing/afs061. Epub 2012 May 16.

Efficacy of treatments for orthostatic hypotension: a systematic review.

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Medicine for the Elderly, NHS Tayside, Ninewells Hospital, Dundee DD1 9SY, UK.



orthostatic hypotension (OH) affects up to 30% of adults over 65 and frequently contributes to falls and syncopal episodes. Current guidelines suggest a wide range of treatments, but systematic reviews of the evidence base for such recommendations are lacking.


we performed a systematic review to assess the evidence for all non-pharmacological and pharmacological interventions for OH. Our search included the following databases: MEDLINE; EMBASE; CINAHL; and the Cochrane library. We searched grey literature and references from included studies and other reviews. We included randomised, placebo-controlled trials, which measured postural drop as an outcome. Study quality was assessed using pre-specified measures of bias.


overall, 36 trials (21 interventions) were included. We identified a heterogeneous population and a wide variety of study methods, precluding meta-analysis. Most trials were of poor quality with high risk of bias. Changes in postural drop and symptoms were frequently inconsistent. Compression bandages, indomethacin, oxilofrine, potassium chloride and yohimbine improved the postural drop. Several vasoactive drugs-including midodrine and pyridostigmine-improved the standing blood pressure, but overall worsened the postural drop.


many commonly recommended interventions for OH have a limited evidence base supporting their use. High quality, randomised, controlled trials are needed to underpin clinical practice for this condition.

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