Droxidopa for neurogenic orthostatic hypotension: A randomized, placebo-controlled, phase 3 trial

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To determine whether droxidopa, an oral norepinephrine precursor, improves symptomatic neurogenic orthostatic hypotension (nOH).


Patients with symptomatic nOH due to Parkinson disease, multiple system atrophy, pure autonomic failure, or nondiabetic autonomic neuropathy underwent open-label droxidopa dose optimization (100–600 mg 3 times daily), followed, in responders, by 7-day washout and then a 7-day double-blind trial of droxidopa vs placebo. Outcome measures included patient self-ratings on the Orthostatic Hypotension Questionnaire (OHQ), a validated, nOH-specific tool that assesses symptom severity and symptom impact on daily activities.


From randomization to endpoint (n = 162), improvement in mean OHQ composite score favored droxidopa over placebo by 0.90 units (p = 0.003). Improvement in OHQ symptom subscore favored droxidopa by 0.73 units (p = 0.010), with maximum change in “dizziness/lightheadedness.” Improvement in symptom-impact subscore favored droxidopa by 1.06 units (p = 0.003), with maximum change for “standing a long time.” Mean standing systolic blood pressure (BP) increased by 11.2 vs 3.9 mm Hg (p < 0.001), and mean supine systolic BP by 7.6 vs 0.8 mm Hg (p < 0.001). At endpoint, supine systolic BP >180 mm Hg was observed in 4.9% of droxidopa and 2.5% of placebo recipients. Adverse events reported in ≥3% of double-blind droxidopa recipients were headache (7.4%) and dizziness (3.7%). No patients discontinued double-blind treatment because of adverse events.


In patients with symptomatic nOH, droxidopa improved symptoms and symptom impact on daily activities, with an associated increase in standing systolic BP, and was generally well tolerated.

Classification of evidence:

This study provides Class I evidence that in patients with symptomatic nOH who respond to open-label droxidopa, droxidopa improves subjective and objective manifestation of nOH at 7 days.

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