methyldopa (Aldomet)

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GENERIC NAME: methyldopa



DRUG CLASS AND MECHANISM: Methyldopa is an oral medication used to lower blood pressure. Although the exact mechanism of action is not yet understood, methyldopa is thought to lower blood pressure by activating receptors (alpha-2 receptors) in the central nervous system and by reducing the concentration of epinephrine, norepinephrine, dopamine, and serotonin. Epinephrine, norepinephrine, dopamine, and serotonin are neurotransmitters (chemicals) that nerves use to communicate. Reducing the concentration of these neurotransmitters causes blood vessels to dilate (relax or widen), and, as a result, blood pressure is reduced.

After oral administration maximum reduction in blood pressure occurs in four to six hours. When patients reach an effective dosage, a smooth blood pressure response usually occurs in 12 to 24 hours. Blood pressure usually returns to pretreatment levels 24 to 48 hours after stopping treatment because methyldopa is eliminated from the body quickly. The FDA approved methyldopa on December 20, 1962.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 7/6/2015

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