Changes in blood pressure, heart rate, electrolyte excretion, and the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system were monitored before and after minoxidil was added to a regimen of a diuretic and propranolol hydrochloride in 12 severely hypertensive patients. None required more than 40 mg of minoxidil daily for control. On a constant intake, urinary sodium excretion decreased, while urinary potassium excretion remained stable. Heart rate, body weight, and plasma volume increased, while creatinine clearance did not change. Although plasma renin activity increased fourfold, the plasma aldosterone concentration did not increase. Six subjects were restudied after two months of minoxidil treatment. Although blood pressure control continued to be excellent in these subjects, plasma renin values and plasma volume had returned to pretreatment levels. These studies suggest that minoxidil rapidly and effectively lowers blood pressure. Although sodium retention accompanies minoxidil administration acutely, the effect is independent of aldosterone and may be transient.
(Arch Intern Med 139:529-533, 1979)