Research Article

Minoxidil for severe hypertension after failure of other hypotensive drugs.

Br Med J 1977; 2 doi: (Published 10 September 1977) Cite this as: Br Med J 1977;2:667
  1. B L Devine,
  2. R Fife,
  3. P M Trust


    Forty-four patients with severe hypertension who were resistant to treatment with more conventional hypotensive drugs or could not tolerate the side effects were treated with minoxidil, a potent peripheral vasodilator. A beta-blocking drug and a diuretic were used routinely to control, respectively, the tachycardia and fluid retention caused by minoxidil. During treatment the outpatient supine blood pressure fell from a mean of 221/134 mm Hg to 162/98 mm Hg. Eleven patients required additional or alternative hypotensive agents before blood pressure was adequately controlled. Side effects were minor, although the invariable hirsuties caused by minoxidil was unacceptable to three women. The possibility of cardiotoxic effects, raised by early studies in dogs, has not been excluded, and therefore this drug should be used only in patients with severe hypertension. In such patients minoxidil appears to be most effective.