Droxidopa for Symptomatic Neurogenic Hypotension
Droxidopa is a first-in-class, orally available, synthetic amino acid precursor of norepinephrine that received accelerated Food and Drug Administration approval in February 2014 after Orphan Drug status for a debilitating condition known as symptomatic neurogenic orthostatic hypotension. Neurogenic disorders often lead to postural hypotension as a result of poor norepinephrine release from its storage sites. Clinical data suggest increases in standing systolic blood pressure and improvements in many other markers for subjective relief in patients with symptomatic neurogenic hypotension who received droxidopa therapy over 1–2 weeks. Studies evaluating the sustained effects of droxidopa are ongoing. With minimal drug interactions (even with carbidopa use) or adverse effects, droxidopa therapy can be used safely in patients with a variety of neurologic conditions; however, more data are needed to determine its appropriate pharmacotherapeutic role. In all, droxidopa is a safe and effective medication for the treatment of orthostatic dizziness/lightheadedness, or the “feeling that you are about to black out” in adult patients with symptomatic neurogenic orthostatic hypotension secondary to primary autonomic failure (Parkinson’s disease, multiple system atrophy, and pure autonomic failure), dopamine beta-hydroxylase deficiency, and nondiabetic autonomic neuropathy.