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Clin Sci (Lond). 2014 Feb;126(4):289-96. doi: 10.1042/CS20130222.

A double-blind placebo-controlled cross-over study of the vascular effects of midodrine in neuropathic compared with hyperadrenergic postural tachycardia syndrome.

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*Department of Behavioral Biology, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD 21218, U.S.A.


POTS (postural tachycardia syndrome) is a chronic form of OI (orthostatic intolerance). Neuropathic POTS is characterized by decreased adrenergic vasoconstriction, whereas hyperadrenergic POTS exhibits increased adrenergic vasoconstriction. We hypothesized that midodrine, an α1-adrenergic receptor agonist, would increase CVR (calf vascular resistance), decrease C(v) (calf venous capacitance) and decrease orthostatic tachycardia in neuropathic POTS, but not alter haemodynamics in hyperadrenergic POTS. A total of 20 POTS patients (12 neuropathic and eight hyperadrenergic), ages 12-20 years, participated in this randomized placebo-controlled double-blind cross-over study. Of these subjects, 15 were female. POTS subjects received 2 weeks of treatment with midodrine or placebo, with increased dosing from 2.5 to 10 mg three times daily. Following a 7-day drug-washout period, subjects received the cross-over treatment. HR (heart rate), MAP (mean arterial pressure), Q(calf) (calf blood flow) and CVR were measured supine and during 35° HUT (head-up tilt). C(v) was measured supine. In neuropathic POTS, midodrine decreased supine HR, Q(calf) and C(v), while increasing MAP and CVR compared with placebo. During HUT, in neuropathic POTS, midodrine decreased HR, Q(calf) and C(v), while increasing MAP and CVR. In hyperadrenergic POTS, placebo and midodrine both decreased upright HR and increased supine CVR. Placebo also increased supine C(v), compared with midodrine in hyperadrenergic POTS. Therefore midodrine improved postural tachycardia in neuropathic POTS by increasing CVR and decreasing Q(calf) and C(v), whereas these effects were not seen in hyperadrenergic POTS patients who experienced a placebo effect. This suggests that midodrine is probably an effective treatment for neuropathic POTS, but not for hyperadrenergic POTS.

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