• Direct within-patient comparisons of the effects of centrally acting sympathetic inhibitors and β-blockers on blood pressure (BP) of the elderly have not been done. In the present study, 32 elderly hypertensive patients were treated with a diuretic. Methyldopa (500 mg/d) (16 patients, subgroup A) or slow-release oxprenolol (80 mg/d) (subgroup B) was added as a second-step antihypertensive agent for a period of eight weeks, after which the second-step agents were switched, respectively, for another period of eight weeks. In subgroup A the supine BP dropped from 193/99 to 169/93 mm Hg and the standing BP from 183/100 to 163/92 mm Hg, whereas in subgroup B the supine BP fell from 190/103 to 182/97 mm Hg and the standing BP from 187/101 to 172/95 mm Hg. After switching the drugs, the respective BP values were 177/91 and 170/95 Hg and 170/90 and 156/89 mm Hg. In the doses given, methyldopa therapy is more effective than oxprenolol therapy in lowering the BP of elderly hypertensive patients.
(Arch Intern Med 1988;148:77-80)