|Pronunciation||drox" i doe' pa|
|Other names||β,3-Dihydroxytyrosine, L-DOPS,L-threo-dihydroxyphenylserine, L-threo-DOPS, SM-5688|
|Main uses||Neurological causes of low blood pressure with standing|
|Side effects||Headache, dizziness, nausea, high blood pressure|
|Typical dose||100 to 600 mg TID|
|Elimination half-life||1.5 hours|
|Chemical and physical data|
|Molar mass||213.189 g·mol−1|
|3D model (JSmol)|
Droxidopa, sold under the brand name Northera, is a medication used to treat neurological causes of low blood pressure with standing. These causes may include Parkinson disease, autonomic neuropathy, and multiple systemic atrophy. It is taken by mouth.
Common side effects include headache, dizziness, nausea, and high blood pressure. Other side effects may include neuroleptic malignant syndrome or worsened heart failure. Safety in pregnancy is unclear. It works after being converted in the body to norepinephrine (noradrenaline).
Droxidopa was approved for medical use in the United States in 2014. It is not approved in either Europe or the United Kingdom. It is available as a generic medication. In the United States a month of medication at a dose of 300 mg per day costs about 740 USD as of 2021.
- Neurogenic orthostatic hypotension (NOH) dopamine beta hydrolase deficiency, as well as NOH associated with multiple system atrophy (MSA), familial amyloid polyneuropathy (FAP), pure autonomic failure (PAF).
- Intradialytic hypotension (IDH) or hemodialysis-induced hypotension.
- Freezing of gait in Parkinson's disease (off-label)
A systematic review comparing the use of droxidopa and midodrine have found that midodrine was more likely to cause supine hypertension in NOH. Midodrine was also found to be slightly more effective at raising blood pressure but not significantly so.
The typical initial dose is 100 mg three times daily, with subsequent increases based upon efficacy and tolerance to as much as 600 mg three times daily.
With over 20 years on the market, droxidopa has proven to have few side effects of which most are mild. The most common side effects reported in clinical trials include headache, dizziness, nausea, hypertension and fatigue.
Droxidopa is a synthetic amino acid precursor which acts as a prodrug to the neurotransmitter norepinephrine (noradrenaline). Unlike norepinephrine, droxidopa is capable of crossing the protective blood–brain barrier (BBB).
It is metabolized by aromatic L-amino acid decarboxylase (AAAD), also known as DOPA decarboxylase (DDC). Patients with NOH have depleted levels of norepinephrine which leads to decreased blood pressure or hypotension upon orthostatic challenge. Droxidopa works by increasing the levels of norepinephrine in the peripheral nervous system (PNS), thus enabling the body to maintain blood flow upon and while standing.
Droxidopa can also cross the blood–brain barrier (BBB) where it is converted to norepinephrine from within the brain. Increased levels of norepinephrine in the central nervous system (CNS) may be beneficial to patients in a wide range of indications. Droxidopa can be coupled with a peripheral aromatic L-amino acid decarboxylase inhibitor (AAADI) or DOPA decarboxylase inhibitor (DDC) such as carbidopa (Lodosyn) to increase central norepinephrine concentrations while minimizing increases of peripheral levels.
Droxidopa was developed by Sumitomo Pharmaceuticals for the treatment of hypotension, including NOH, and NOH associated with various disorders such as MSA, FAP, and PD, as well as IDH. The drug has been used in Japan and some surrounding Asian areas for these indications since 1989. Following a merger with Dainippon Pharmaceuticals in 2006, Dainippon Sumitomo Pharma licensed droxidopa to Chelsea Therapeutics to develop and market it worldwide except in Japan, Korea, China, and Taiwan. In February 2014, the Food and Drug Administration approved droxidopa for the treatment of symptomatic neurogenic orthostatic hypotension.
Chelsea Therapeutics obtained orphan drug status (ODS) for droxidopa in the US for NOH, and that of which associated with PD, PAF, and MSA. In 2014, Chelsea Therapeutics was acquired by Lundbeck along with the rights to droxidopa which was launched in the US in Sept 2014.
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