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Am J Cardiol. 1986 Mar 28;57(9):43E-49E.

Comparison of guanfacine versus clonidine for efficacy, safety and occurrence of withdrawal syndrome in step-2 treatment of mild to moderate essential hypertension.


Guanfacine, an alpha 2-adrenoceptor agonist, was compared with clonidine as step-2 therapy of mild to moderate essential hypertension in a 24-week, double-blind, randomized, parallel evaluation to determine efficacy, safety and occurrence of withdrawal syndrome. During a 5-week period, patients were weaned from current antihypertensives, if any, and stabilized on step-1 therapy with 25 mg of chlorthalidone once a day. Those with a diastolic blood pressure (BP) from 95 to 114 mm Hg while taking chlorthalidone were randomized to treatment. The 2 agents had equal efficacy; 149 of 270 patients treated with guanfacine (55%) and 164 of 276 treated with clonidine (59%) achieved goal diastolic BP of less than or equal to 90 mm Hg. Terminations because of adverse effects were relatively low. Dry mouth (30% of guanfacine and 37% of clonidine groups) and somnolence (21% of guanfacine and 35% of clonidine groups, p less than 0.05) were reported most frequently. Nonsyncopal dizziness was reported in 11% of guanfacine-treated and 8% of clonidine-treated patients. This difference was not statistically significant. To evaluate the occurrence of a withdrawal syndrome in 316 outpatients and 156 inpatients, vital signs were monitored at least twice a day for up to 7 days after the end of therapy. Segmented 24-hour urine studies were performed on inpatients. Abrupt withdrawal of clonidine produced a rapid increase in diastolic and, especially, systolic BP, whereas guanfacine withdrawal produced more gradual increases. The differences were significant over the first 3 withdrawal days. It is concluded that guanfacine is a safe, effective, second-generation alpha 2-adrenoceptor agonist.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS).

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