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MagazineAugust 1994 (Vol. 5 Issue 5)Cardura

Cardura (doxazosin mesylate) is among the growing list of alpha blockers being prescribed as a first line treatment of high blood pressure

Cardura (doxazosin mesylate) is among the growing list of alpha blockers being prescribed as a first line treatment of high blood pressure. Manufactured by Invicta Pharmaceutical, a division of Pfizer, the drug's main constituent is doxazosin mesylat

Your biggest worry with this drug is that it drops your bloodpressure too low, causing you to faint, particularly after standing up. Drugs with this affect account for a large number of accidental falls and resulting fractures amoung older adults.

This is why the manufacturer said that it is essential to start treatment with the 1 mg dosage, and only gradually increase to the 2, 4 and 8 mg tablets over many weeks. During this time, says Invicta, you should be careful that you're not in a situation where you could hurt yourself if you collapse.

Dizziness is still experienced by about 12 per cent of all users once the maximum dosage is reached. Paradoxically, low doses of Cardura are intended to prevent the very dizziness that the drug itself may cause in high doses. However, dizziness has been reported at low doses and this, along with feelings of light headedness, were the most common reported in clinical trials. It occurred in nearly a quarter of all patients; about two per cent were forced to stop the treatment as a result.

Like all alpha blockers, other common side-effects include headaches, fatigue and malaise. In a clinical trial among 4000 patients, nearly half reported some side-effect, and seven per cent had to stop taking the drug.

Less common reactions included chest pains, nausea, nervousness, sexual dysfunction, blurring vision, palpitations and edema. It can also cause a lowering of blood count. More worrying, some reported a disturbance of the heart rate and even heart attacks (Physicians' Desk Reference, 1992).

People with liver complaints should not take the drug. Nor should pregnant or nursing women.

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