02 August 2002
Background: Orthostatic hypotension (OH) is a serious complication observed in hemodialysis (HD) patients after HD as well as during the interdialytic period. L-Threo-3,4-dihydroxyphenylserine ( L-DOPS) is a nonphysiological neutral amino acid that is directly converted to the neurotransmitter norepinephrine by aromatic L-amino acid decarboxylase. Methods: A placebo-controlled double-blind study for 4 consecutive weeks and a long-term study (24–52 weeks) were conducted to evaluate the efficacy of L-DOPS for OH after HD. The drug was administered orally 30 min before the start of each HD period in both studies. Doses of 400 mg of L-DOPS or placebo were given to HD patients with OH (45 and 41 patients, respectively) in the double-blind study, and doses of 200 or 400 mg of L-DOPS were given to 74 HD patients in the long-term study. Results: In the double-blind study, L-DOPS significantly ameliorated subjective symptoms related to OH, including dizziness/light-headed feeling, and malaise, throughout the interdialytic period. For 19 patients with delayed-type OH, hypotension with the lowest blood pressure recorded 10 min after standing, the decrease in blood pressure was suppressed significantly after L-DOPS treatment (10 patients) as compared with the placebo-treated group (9 patients). In the long-term study, the efficacy of L-DOPS was not attenuated, and the marked fluctuations in the plasma L-DOPS and norepinephrine levels were not noted after long-term use, without increases in incidence or severity of adverse reactions. Conclusions: These results indicate that L-DOPS is effective for improving OH-related interdialytic subjective symptoms in HD patients after short-term as well as after long-term administration.