Time to re-appraise the role of alpha-1 adrenoceptor antagonists in the management of hypertension?
The role of alpha-1 adrenoceptor antagonists (alpha-blockers) in the management of hypertension continues to evolve. Recent data support their use as add-on therapy in uncontrolled hypertension when used in combination with all other major classes of antihypertensive drug and there is increasing evidence suggesting that they have modest but significant beneficial effects on lipid and glucose metabolism. The availability of extended-release formulations has contributed to an excellent tolerability profile. New data from an observational analysis of the Anglo-Scandinavian Cardiac Outcomes Trial (ASCOT) suggest that doxazosin gastrointestinal therapeutic system (GITS) used as a third-line antihypertensive agent lowered blood pressure and caused modest reductions in plasma lipids. Furthermore, use of doxazosin in ASCOT was not associated with an increased risk of heart failure, in contrast to the earlier finding of the Antihypertensive and Lipid-Lowering Treatment to Prevent Heart Attack Trial (ALLHAT). Overall, currently available data support the use of alpha-blockers as safe, well tolerated and effective add-on antihypertensive drugs, which have additional favourable metabolic effects. © 2010 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.