The aim of this study was to investigate whether cilnidipine, an N- and L-type calcium channel blocker, and nisoldipine, an L-type calcium channel blocker, have different effects on sympathetic activity, using an identical group of healthy male subjects. Eight healthy men (22-28 years) were given 10 mg of cilnidipine or 10 mg of nisoldipine in a randomized crossover design. In each trial, in subjects without medication on day 1 (control) and with medication on day 2, we measured heart rate (HR), low frequency (LF)/high frequency (HF) of HR variability, and plasma noradrenaline (NA) in a resting supine position and during head-up tilt, and palmar sweating during a mental arithmetic test, before and at 1, 2, 4, 6, and 8 h after administration. Time-plasma concentration profiles of the two drugs were similar. Measurements in controls on the two days showed no significant difference in any of these parameters. Nisoldipine, but not cilnidipine, slightly increased HR and LF/HF at rest. Head-up tilt increased HR, LF/HF, and plasma NA. As evaluated with repeated-measures analysis of variance, head-up tilt induced a significant increase in LF/HF, but not HR or plasma NA, and the effect of cilnidipine was significantly less than that of nisoldipine (P = 0.017). Postural hypotension was not observed. There was no difference in mental arithmetic-induced sweating between the two drugs. Cilnidipine, but not nisoldipine, might have a weak inhibitory effect on reflex sympathetic activity.
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