Multiclinic comparison of labetalol to metoprolol in treatment of mild to moderate systemic hypertension

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      The antihypertensive effects of oral labetalol, a new alpha- and beta-adrenergic blocking agent, and metoprolol, a relatively beta1 selective adrenergic blocker, were evaluated in 91 patients with mild to moderate hypertension (standing diastolic blood pressure of 90 to 115 mm Hg) in a double-blind parallel group multicenter clinical trial. The effects of the two drugs on plasma lipids and lipoprotein fractions were also assessed. Following a four-week placebo phase, 44 patients were randomized to receive labetalol and 47 metoprolol. During a four-week titration phase, the labetalol dose was increased from 100 mg twice daily to a maximum of 600 mg twice daily to achieve a standing diastolic blood pressure of 90 mm Hg that was decreased by 10 mm Hg or more. Metoprolol was titrated from 50 mg to 200 mg twice daily. An eight-week maintenance period followed during which hydrochlorothiazide could be added. At the end of the maintenance phase, the doses of labetalol and metoprolol were tapered over a two to four day period after which patients received a placebo for one week. Blood pressure in the supine and standing position was measured at each visit. Labetalol and metoprolol both significantly (p < 0.01) lowered the supine and standing blood pressure from baseline with no significant difference found between the two treatment groups. Both drugs lowered the heart rate; however, the rate-lowering effect was significantly greater with metoprolol (p < 0.01). There were no significant effects of either drug on plasma lipids or lipoprotein fractions. Fatigue was the most frequently reported complaint with both drugs. Dizziness, dyspepsia, and nausea were more common with labetalol; bradycardia was more common with metoprolol. There was no blood pressure “overshoot” after withdrawing drug treatment; however, a heart rate “overshoot” was seen after metoprolol was tapered off and stopped. Labetalol is as safe and effective as metoprolol in the treatment of patients with mild to moderate hypertension.
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