Journal of cardiovascular pharmacology

Review of long-term trials with nitrendipine.

PMID 2468850


The dihydropyridine calcium antagonist nitrendipine offers a pathophysiologically based antihypertensive treatment with a potent dilation of resistance vessels, increased arterial compliance, and an acute natriuretic/diuretic response. Prolonged nitrendipine treatment in essential hypertension is not associated with stimulation of the sympathetic nervous and the renin-angiotensin systems or accumulation of sodium and water. The antihypertensive effectiveness is similar to that of diuretics and beta-blockers, and the responsiveness appears to be greater in elderly and black patients. During long-term (approximately 1 year) nitrendipine treatment in mild to moderate hypertension, the blood pressure reduction is well sustained in "short-term" nitrendipine responders. In patients with severe hypertension, nitrendipine has a potent antihypertensive effect in combination with beta-blockers and/or diuretics. In mild-moderate hypertension, a single daily dose (10-40 mg) may be sufficient, whereas two daily doses (20-80 mg/day) seem necessary in severe hypertension. Common side effects are headache, flush, and palpitations (approximately 20-30%), but these are generally mild and transient. Dizziness and malaise occur in approximately 5%, often later during treatment. Peripheral edema in 5-20% of the patients is generally mild but persistent. Nitrendipine has no adverse effects on glucose and lipid metabolism or on plasma levels of electrolytes and urate. The ultimate aim of antihypertensive treatment is to prevent cardiovascular complications. As for other calcium antagonists, no study on primary prevention of cardiovascular complications in hypertension has been published. With regard to regression of left ventricular hypertrophy accompanying essential hypertension, conflicting results have been found with nitrendipine.