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Orthostatic hypotension in patients, bed rest subjects, and astronautsOrthostatic hypotension after even short space flights has affected a significant number of astronauts. Given the need for astronauts to function at a high level of efficiency during and after their return from space, the application of pharmacologic and other treatments is strongly indicated. This report addresses the clinical problem of orthostatic hypotension and its treatments to ascertain whether pharmacologic or physiologic treatment may be useful in the prevention of orthostatic hypotension associated with space flight. Treatment of orthostatic hypotension in patients now includes increasing intravascular volume with high sodium intake and mineralocorticoids, or increasing vascular resistance through the use of drugs to stimulate alpha or block beta vascular receptors. Earlier treatment used oral sympathomimetic ephedrine hydrochloride alone or with "head-up" bed rest. Then long-acting adrenocortical steroid desoxycorticosterone preparations with high-salt diets were used to expand volume. Fludrocortisone was shown to prevent the orthostatic drop in blood pressure. The combination of the sympathomimetic amine hydroxyamphetamine and a monoamine oxidase inhibitor tranylcypromine has been used, as has indomethacin alone. Davies et al. used mineralocorticoids at low doses concomitantly with alpha-agonists to increase vasoconstrictor action. Schirger et al used tranylcypromine and methylphenidate with or without a Jobst elastic leotard garment or the alpha-adrenergic agonist midodrine (which stimulates both arterial and venous systems without direct central nervous system or cardiac effects). Vernikos et al established that the combination of fludrocortisone, dextroamphetamine, and atropine exhibited a beneficial effect on orthostatic hypotension induced by 7-day 6 degrees head-down bed rest (a model used to simulate the weightlessness of space flight). Thus, there are numerous drugs that, in combination with mechanical techniques, including lower body negative pressure to elevate transmural pressure, could be studied to treat orthostatic hypotension after space flight.
Document ID
Document Type
Reprint (Version printed in journal)
Lathers, C. M. (NASA Johnson Space Center Houston, TX United States)
Charles, J. B.
Date Acquired
August 22, 2013
Publication Date
May 1, 1994
Publication Information
Publication: Journal of clinical pharmacology
Volume: 34
Issue: 5
ISSN: 0091-2700
Subject Category
Aerospace Medicine
Distribution Limits
Review, Tutorial
Case Reports