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