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Does Aldomet (methyldopa) cause side effects?
Although the exact mechanism of action is not yet understood, Aldomet is thought to lower blood pressure by activating receptors (alpha-2 receptors) in the central nervous system and by reducing the concentration of the neurotransmitters epinephrine, norepinephrine, dopamine, and serotonin.
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 Aldomet is eliminated from the body quickly.
Common side effects of Aldomet include
- stuffy nose, and
- weakness, especially when starting Aldomet and when dosage is increased.
Serious side effects of Aldomet include
- anemia (low red blood cell count),
- water retention (edema or swelling of the legs) or weight gain, and
- high blood pressure (hypertension) in certain dialysis patients and in patients with cerebrovascular disease.
Drug interactions of Aldomet include monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), a class of medications used to treat depression, because combining these drugs with Aldomet may lead to dangerous side effects.
Administration of Aldomet with iron supplements including ferrous sulfate and ferrous gluconate is not recommended as coadministration may decrease blood levels of Aldomet.
The safety of Aldomet in pregnant women has not been adequately evaluated.
What are the important side effects of Aldomet (methyldopa)?
- Methyldopa may cause anemia (low number of red blood cells). Before starting treatment, doctors may order certain blood tests to check blood levels of red blood cells. Additionally, periodic blood tests should be done during treatment to detect hemolytic anemia (spontaneous break-down of red blood cells). Methyldopa should be discontinued if hemolytic anemia occurs during treatment.
- Methyldopa should be used cautiously in patients who have a history of liver disease and should be avoided in patients with active liver disease including acute hepatitis and active cirrhosis.
- Methyldopa may cause water retention (edema or swelling of the legs) or weight gain in some patients and, therefore, should be used cautiously in heart failure patients.
- Methyldopa is removed by certain types of dialysis procedures. In certain dialysis patients, hypertension (high blood pressure) has occurred as a result of methyldopa being removed from the body during dialysis.
- Methyldopa should be used cautiously in patients with cerebrovascular disease because involuntary movements have been observed during treatment.
Aldomet (methyldopa) side effects list for healthcare professionals
Sedation, usually transient, may occur during the initial period of therapy or whenever the dose is increased. Headache, asthenia, or weakness may be noted as early and transient symptoms. However, significant adverse effects due to Aldomet (methyldopa) have been infrequent and this agent usually is well tolerated.
The following adverse reactions have been reported and, within each category, are listed in order of decreasing severity.
Nervous System/Psychiatric: Parkinsonism, Bell's palsy, decreased mental acuity, involuntary choreoathetotic movements, symptoms of cerebrovascular insufficiency, psychic disturbances including nightmares and reversible mild psychoses or depression, headache, sedation, asthenia or weakness, dizziness, lightheadedness, paresthesias.
Metabolic: Rise in BUN.
Respiratory: Nasal stuffiness.
Skin: Toxic epidermal necrolysis, rash.
What drugs interact with Aldomet (methyldopa)?
When methyldopa is used with other antihypertensive drugs, potentiation of antihypertensive effect may occur. Patients should be followed carefully to detect side reactions or unusual manifestations of drug idiosyncrasy.
Patients may require reduced doses of anesthetics when on methyldopa. If hypotension does occur during anesthesia, it usually can be controlled by vasopressors. The adrenergic receptors remain sensitive during treatment with methyldopa.
When methyldopa and lithium are given concomitantly the patient should be carefully monitored for symptoms of lithium toxicity. Read the circular for lithium preparations.
Several studies demonstrate a decrease in the bioavailability of methyldopa when it is ingested with ferrous sulfate or ferrous gluconate. This may adversely affect blood pressure control in patients treated with methyldopa. Coadministration of methyldopa with ferrous sulfate or ferrous gluconate is not recommended.
Monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitors: See prescription labeling.
Drug/Laboratory Test Interactions
Methyldopa may interfere with measurement of: urinary uric acid by the phosphotungstate method, serum creatinine by the alkaline picrate method, and SGOT by colorimetric methods. Interference with spectrophotometric methods for SGOT analysis has not been reported.
Since methyldopa causes fluorescence in urine samples at the same wave lengths as catecholamines, falsely high levels of urinary catecholamines may be reported. This will interfere with the diagnosis of pheochromocytoma. It is important to recognize this phenomenon before a patient with a possible pheochromocytoma is subjected to surgery.
Methyldopa does not interfere with measurement of VMA (vanillylmandelic acid), a test for pheochromocytoma, by those methods which convert VMA to vanillin. Methyldopa is not recommended for the treatment of patients with pheochromocytoma. Rarely, when urine is exposed to air after voiding, it may darken because of breakdown of methyldopa or its metabolites.
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Related Disease Conditions
High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)
High blood pressure (hypertension) is a disease in which pressure within the arteries of the body is elevated. About 75 million people in the US have hypertension (1 in 3 adults), and only half of them are able to manage it. Many people do not know that they have high blood pressure because it often has no has no warning signs or symptoms. Systolic and diastolic are the two readings in which blood pressure is measured. The American College of Cardiology released new guidelines for high blood pressure in 2017. The guidelines now state that blood normal blood pressure is 120/80 mmHg. If either one of those numbers is higher, you have high blood pressure. The American Academy of Cardiology defines high blood pressure slightly differently. The AAC considers 130/80 mm Hg. or greater (either number) stage 1 hypertension. Stage 2 hypertension is considered 140/90 mm Hg. or greater. If you have high blood pressure you are at risk of developing life threatening diseases like stroke and heart attack.REFERENCE: CDC. High Blood Pressure. Updated: Nov 13, 2017.
High Blood Pressure Treatment (Natural Home Remedies, Diet, Medications)
High blood pressure (hypertension) means high pressure (tension) in the arteries. Treatment for high blood pressure include lifestyle modifications (alcohol, smoking, coffee, salt, diet, exercise), drugs and medications such as ACE inhibitors, angiotensin receptor blockers, beta blockers, diuretics, calcium channel blockers (CCBs), alpha blockers, clonidine, minoxidil, and Exforge.
Portal hypertension is most commonly caused by cirrhosis, a disease that results from scarring of the liver. Other causes of portal hypertension include blood clots in the portal vein, blockages of the veins that carry the blood from the liver to the heart, and a parasitic infection called schistosomiasis. Symptoms of portal hypertension include varices (enlarged veins), vomiting blood, blood in the stool, black and tarry stool, ascites (abnormal fluid collection within the peritoneum, the sac that contains the intestines within the abdominal cavity), confusion and lethargy, splenomegaly or enlargement of the spleen, and decreased white blood cell counts.
Pulmonary hypertension is elevated pressure in the pulmonary arteries that carry blood from the lungs to the heart. The most common symptoms are fatigue and difficulty breathing. If the condition goes undiagnosed, more severe symptoms may occur. As pulmonary hypertension worsens, some people with the condition have difficulty performing any activities that require physical exertion. While there is no cure for pulmonary hypertension, it can be managed and treated with medications and supplemental oxygen to increase blood oxygen levels.
Hypertension-Related Kidney Disease
Second Source WebMD Medical Reference
Hypertensive Kidney Disease
High blood pressure can damage the kidneys and is one of the leading causes of kidney failure (end-stage renal kidney disease). Kidney damage, like hypertension, can be unnoticeable and detected only through medical tests. If you have kidney disease, you should control your blood pressure. Other treatment options include prescription medications.
Pseudotumor Cerebri (Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension)
Pseudotumor Cerebri (intracranial hypertension) is a condition where there is an increase in pressure of fluid surrounding the brain and spinal cord (cerebrospinal fluid or CSF) mimicing a brain tumor. The cause is unknown. The most common symptom is headache but also include eye-pain, vision loss and double vision. Pseudotumor cerebri is diagnosed with MRI or CAT scans and treated by discontinuing offending medications (if applicable), weight loss and diuretic medications. The condition can also be helped by repeated drainage of spinal fluid using the lumbar puncture.
Preeclampsia (Pregnancy Induced Hypertension)
Preeclampsia is related to increased blood pressure and protein in the mother's urine. Preeclampsia typically begins after the 20th week of pregnancy. When preeclampsia causes seizures, it is termed "eclampsia" and is the second leading cause of maternal death of in the US. Preeclampsia is the leading cause of fetal complications. Risk factors for preeclampsia include high blood pressure, obesity, multiple births, and women with preexisting medical conditions such as diabetes, kidney disease, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, or scleroderma. Pregnancy planning and lifestyle changes may reduce the risk of preeclampsia during pregnancy.
High Blood Pressure Symptoms
Most people with high blood pressure have no signs or symptoms, even if blood pressure readings reach dangerously high levels. In some patients, symptoms may include fatigue, headaches, dizziness, confusion, sweating, chest pain and vision problems.
What Is High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)?
High blood pressure or hypertension is when the blood pressure readings consistently range from 140 or higher for systolic or 90 or higher for diastolic. Blood pressure readings above 180/120 mmHg are dangerously high and require immediate medical attention.
Treatment & Diagnosis
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Medications & Supplements
Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
Professional side effects and drug interactions sections courtesy of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.