Posted by: getthenac | December 15, 2010

Yohimbine and Head Rush

from Leigh MacMillan:

Orthostatic hypotension – a sudden drop in blood pressure that causes dizziness and near-fainting (a “head rush”) – is the main cause of disability in patients with autonomic failure, a disorder of the nervous system that normally controls functions like heart rate, digestion and respiration.

Cyndya Shibao, Italo Biaggioni, M.D., and colleagues compared the ability of two different drugs (alone and in combination) to improve blood pressure on standing in 31 patients with severe autonomic failure. They report in the November issue of Hypertension that the drug yohimbine – a plant-derived compound with stimulant and aphrodisiac effects – significantly improved standing blood pressure compared to placebo, and that pyridostigmine did not. Yohimbine and pyridostigmine in combination did not improve blood pressure more than yohimbine alone.

Because yohimbine increases blood pressure by activating the sympathetic nervous system, the findings suggest that patients with autonomic failure still have residual sympathetic activity and that this mechanism is an important therapeutic target.



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