Diabetes drug inhibits post-meal drop in BP

The anti-diabetes drug voglibose can help reduce a drop in blood pressure after eating, so-called postprandial hypotension, Japanese researchers report.

Reduced blood pressure after a meal is common in the elderly and in those with conditions such as Parkinson’s disease and diabetes mellitus. It can increase the risk of falls and coronary events.

To examine the effect of voglibose on postprandial hypotension, Dr. Takahiro Maruta of Kanazawa University and colleagues studied 48 elderly subjects, including those with Parkinson’s disease, multiple system atrophy and diabetes as well as elderly and younger controls without these disorders.

They report in the journal Neurology that within 2 hours of “glucose loading,” blood pressure fell by more than 20 millimeters mercury in roughly 73 percent of the Parkinson’s patients, all of those with multiple system atrophy, 27 percent of the patients with diabetes, 23 percent of the elderly controls and none of the younger controls.

Following voglibose administration, there was a significant reduction in this drop in blood pressure. Without voglibose, the mean drop was 41.5 millimeters mercury; with voglibose, it was 21.0 mm Hg.

There was also a reduction in the duration of after-meal hypotension under the two conditions (52 minutes versus 17 minutes).

Summing up, Maruta told Reuters Health, “Many people suffer from symptoms due to (low blood pressure). Our research should cast some light on ways to help them.”

SOURCE: Neurology May 9, 2006.

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Revision date: July 5, 2011
Last revised: by Andrew G. Epstein, M.D.