The effects of L-dopa on blood pressure, heart rate, plasma renin activity, norepinephrine, epinephrine and prolactin were studied in a randomized single-blind trial in 36 patients with essential hypertension. In response to L-dopa, 250 mg administered orally, the blood pressure decreased significantly as compared with the results of placebo treatment. The heart rate and plasma norepinephrine and epinephrine were unchanged. The plasma renin activity and prolactin decreased as a result of L-dopa administration. The administration of a peripheral DA2 dopamine receptor blocker, domperidone (20 mg, orally) prevented the L-dopa-induced reduction in plasma prolactin but failed to block the fall in blood pressure and plasma renin activity. These results suggest that the blood pressure-lowering effect of L-dopa may be mediated through multiple sites involving D1 dopamine receptors, the central nervous system, and the renin-angiotensin system.
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