Survey shows new Mayo Clinic treatment for intractable low blood pressure

ROCHESTER, Minn. --Patients are generally pleased with a new Mayo Clinic drug treatment for a common form of impaired nerve transmission that causes dizziness and fainting when patients change position from lying down to standing up, and most want to continue using it.

This finding on patients' satisfaction of the new drug treatment is especially welcome because drug treatments currently used to treat the dizziness and fainting related to orthostatic hypotension are not free of side effects. The most dangerous side effect of these treatments is increased stress on the heart and increased risk of stroke from high blood pressure when the patient is lying down.

Mayo Clinic's treatment includes the drug called pyridostigmine (pi-rid-o-STIG-mine), which is commonly used to treat myasthenia gravis, a disorder of the neuromuscular junction resulting in easy fatigability and muscle weakness. Pyridostigmine does not put extra stress on the heart when patients lie down, thus making it a safe treatment. The addition of patient-satisfaction data increases pyridostigmine's appeal as a possible improved treatment for orthostatic hypotension. Patient satisfaction survey results will be presented by Dr. Paola Sandroni, specialist in neurology and primary author of the study, and colleagues April 28 at the American Academy of Neurology annual meeting in San Francisco.

The patient satisfaction data results from a Mayo Clinic follow-up survey evaluating patient impressions of pyridostigmine. The goal of the drug treatment is to stop the dizziness, light-headedness and fainting that patients experience who suffer from autonomic failure, a common form of impaired nerve transmission which causes orthostatic hypotension. This failure of autonomic nerve function leads to the sudden drop in blood pressure that causes dizziness, fainting or falling. It can be a frequent side effect of Parkinson's disease, diabetes, chronic alcohol abuse and other conditions. Low bl

Contact: John Murphy
Mayo Clinic

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