Intended for healthcare professionals

Research Article

Blood pressure and heart rate and withdrawal of antihypertensive drugs.

Br Med J 1977; 1 doi: (Published 14 May 1977) Cite this as: Br Med J 1977;1:1243
  1. A D Goldberg,
  2. E B Raftery,
  3. P Wilkinson


    The immediate effects on heart rate and blood pressure of withdrawing antihypertensive drugs were studied over three-day periods in 26 patients. Four groups of drugs were studied. After withdrawal all patients taking clonidine showed a considerable increase in heart rate and blood pressure with intense ectopic activity. Patients taking postganglionic neurone-blocking drugs showed a similar but less pronounced reaction with increased ventricular ectopic activity. No alarming reactions were seen after withdrawal of methyldopa or beta-blocking drugs. Methyldopa and, especially, beta-blocking drugs are less likely to produce withdrawal reactions than clonidine or the postganglionic neurone-blocking drugs, and patients taking these drugs are therefore less likely to suffer violent reactions if they forget to take their tablets.