08 April 2002
Orthostatic hypotension is one of the major factors interfering with everyday activities in hemodialysis patients, but there has been no effective agent for treating it. In order to clarify the clinical effects of L-threo-3,4-dihydroxyphenylserine ( L-DOPS) on orthostatic hypotension of hemodialysis patients, we conducted a randomized, double-blind comparative trial. 149 regular hemodialysis patients with orthostatic hypotension were randomly allocated to three groups and L-DOPS at doses of 400 mg, 200 mg or placebo was orally administrated to each group 30 min before starting every hemodialysis for 4 weeks. Changes of blood pressure (BP) in orthostatic hypotension immediately after completion of hemodialysis and symptoms related to orthostatic hypotension were compared between the three groups. In the 400-mg group, systolic and diastolic BP after standing increased significantly and the drop of mean BP after standing was also reduced compared with pretreatment levels. No such changes were observed in the placebo group. Fatiguability, malaise/weakness, dizziness and light-headed feeling, the interdialytic symptoms commonly observed in hemodialysis patients who developed orthostatic hypotension, were improved to a significant extent in the L-DOPS group compared with the placebo group. In particular, the improvement was more remarkable for the L-DOPS 400-mg group than the placebo group in patients with diabetic nephropathy, lower systolic BP after standing, and the long duration type of orthostatic hypotension. The incidence of adverse events was comparable between the three groups, and all recovered after discontinuation of L-DOPS or concomitantly administered drugs, or without any treatment. These findings indicate that L-DOPS taken before hemodialysis prevents orthostatic hypotension in patients undergoing hemodialysis, and is also effective for the interdialytic symptoms related to orthostatic hypotension.