Tuesday, 14 October 2008


The following are some medications that I know about that are used to treat POTS.


For information on Midodrine see patient information leaflet: http://www.uhsm.nhs.uk/patients/Documents/PHARMACY/midodrineforlowbloodpressurOct07-Oct09.pdf

Other Medications

Midodrine (Proamatine), is approved by the U.S. FDA to treat orthostatic hypotension, a condition related to POTS. It is a stimulant that causes vasoconstriction and thereby increases blood pressure and allows more blood to return to the upper parts of the body. Use of midodrine is often discontinued due to intolerable side-effects, and it is known to cause supine hypertension (high blood pressure when lying down


For informaiton on Fludrocortisone see patient information leaflet:http://emc.medicines.org.uk/emc/assets/c/html/DisplayDoc.asp?DocumentID=19330

The first line of treatment for POTS is usually fludrocortisone, or Florinef, a corticosteroid used to increase sodium retention and thus increase blood volume and blood pressure. An increase in sodium and water intake must coincide with fludrocortisone therapy for effective treatment. Dietary increases in sodium and sodium supplements are often used. Gatorade is also effective in providing both sodium and fluid.

Beta Blockers

Beta blockers such as atenolol and propanolol are often prescribed to treat POTS. These medications work by blocking the effects of epinephrine and norepinephrine released by the autonomic nervous system. Beta blockers also reduce sympathetic activity by blocking sympathetic impulses.


Antidepressants, especially selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) such as Prozac, Zoloft, Celexa, Lexapro, and Paxil, can be extremely effective in re-regulating the autonomic nervous system and raising blood pressure. Some studies indicate that serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) such as Effexor and Cymbalta are even more effective. Tricyclic antidepressants, tetracyclic antidepressants, and monoamine oxidase inhibitors are also occasionally, but rarely, prescribed. A combination of two antidepressants, usually an SSRI or SNRI with Wellbutrin or Remeron, is also shown to be very effective.


Medications used to treat ADD and ADHD such as Ritalin and Adderall are used to balance dopamine levels, increase vasoconstriction, and increase blood pressure.

AnxiolyticsAnti-anxiety medications, such as Xanax, Ativan, and Klonopin, can be used to combat imbalances of adrenaline usually seen with POTS patients.

Other medications

Angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors, or ACE inhibitors, are used to increase vasoconstriction, cardiac output, and sodium and water retention.Clonidine can work in patients with reduced sympathetic activity.

Ironically an anti-hypertensive drug, Clonidine promotes production and release of epinephrine and norepinephrine.

Disopyramide, or Norpace, is an antiarrhythmic medication that inhibits the release of epinephrine and norepinephrine.

Erythropoietin, used to treat anemia via intravenous infusion, is very effective at increasing blood volume. It is seldom used, however, due to the dangers of increasing the hematocrit, the inconvenience of intravenous infusion, and its prohibitively expensive cost.

Pregabalin, or Lyrica, an anticonvulsant drug, has been shown to be especially effective in treating neuropathic pain associated with POTS. In fact, Lyrica is currently the only prescription drug approved by the FDA to treat fibromyalgia. Some POTS patients also report improvement in concentration and energy while on Lyrica.

Pseudoephedrine and phenylephrine, over the counter decongestants, increase vasoconstriction by promoting the release of norepinephrine.Pyridostigmine, or Mestinon, inhibits the breakdown of acetylcholine, promoting autonomic nervous system activity. It is especially effective in patients who exhibit symptoms of excessive sympathetic activity.

Theophylline, a drug used to treat respiratory diseases such as COPD and asthma, is occasionally prescribed at low doses for POTS patients. Theophylline increases cardiac output, increases blood pressure, and stimulates epinephrine and norepinephrine production. Due to its very narrow therapeutic index, Theophylline is known to cause a wide variety of side-effects and even toxicity.

Women who report a worsening of symptoms during menstruation will often use combined (containing both estrogen and progestin) forms of hormonal contraception to prevent hormonal changes and an aggravation of their condition.

Drugs That Can Make Symptoms Worse

Drugs that can cause or worsen orthostatic intolerance are:

A-Receptor blockers
Angiotensin-converting-enzyme inhibitors
Calcium channel blockers
Ganglionic blocking agents
HydralazineMonoamine oxidase inhibitors
Sildenafil citrate (Viagra)
Tricyclic antidepressants

Useful NHS Medicin Guide



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1 comment:

Natalie said...


I just wanted to mention that clonidine actually reduces the amount of available epinephrine and norepinephrine.