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Drugs. 1986 Apr;31(4):301-36.

Guanfacine. A review of its pharmacodynamic and pharmacokinetic properties, and therapeutic efficacy in the treatment of hypertension.


Guanfacine, a phenylacetyl-guanidine derivative, is a centrally acting alpha-adrenoceptor agonist, with a mechanism of antihypertensive action similar to that of clonidine. It reduces blood pressure in patients with essential hypertension at least as effectively as clonidine or methyldopa. Like lower doses of clonidine, guanfacine can be given once daily due to its relatively long elimination half-life. Although dry mouth and sedation occur frequently with higher doses of guanfacine, their incidence is lower than with other centrally acting antihypertensives; in addition, other troublesome side effects such as orthostatic hypotension or sexual dysfunction also occur much less with guanfacine than with other centrally acting antihypertensive agents. While a withdrawal syndrome may occur on abruptly discontinuing guanfacine administration, the symptoms are generally mild, and the incidence of withdrawal symptoms appears lower than occurs with abrupt withdrawal of clonidine. Thus, guanfacine is an effective and well tolerated alternative to other centrally acting antihypertensive drugs. Whether its final place in therapy will be as an alternative 'second-line' drug, or as initial monotherapy in patients with mild to moderate hypertension, remains to be clarified in comparative studies with diuretics, calcium antagonists, and beta-adrenoceptor blocking drugs.

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