Background Hypertension is common among patients with Alzheimer disease. Because this group has been excluded from hypertension trials, evidence regarding safety of treatment is lacking. This secondary analysis of a randomized controlled trial assessed whether antihypertensive treatment increases the prevalence of orthostatic hypotension (OH) in patients with Alzheimer disease. Methods and Results Four hundred seventy-seven patients with mild-to-moderate Alzheimer disease were randomized to the calcium-channel blocker nilvadipine 8 mg/day or placebo for 78 weeks. Presence of OH (blood pressure drop ≥20/≥10 mm Hg after 1 minute of standing) and OH-related adverse events (dizziness, syncope, falls, and fractures) was determined at 7 follow-up visits. Mean age of the study population was 72.2±8.2 years and mean Mini-Mental State Examination score was 20.4±3.8. Baseline blood pressure was 137.8±14.0/77.0±8.6 mm Hg. Grade I hypertension was present in 53.4% (n=255). After 13 weeks, blood pressure had fallen by -7.8/-3.9 mm Hg for nilvadipine and by -0.4/-0.8 mm Hg for placebo ( P<0.001). Across the 78-week intervention period, there was no difference between groups in the proportion of patients with OH at a study visit (odds ratio [95% CI]=1.1 [0.8-1.5], P=0.62), nor in the proportion of visits where a patient met criteria for OH, corrected for number of visits (7.7±13.8% versus 7.3±11.6%). OH-related adverse events were not more often reported in the intervention group compared with placebo. Results were similar for those with baseline hypertension. Conclusions This study suggests that initiation of a low dose of antihypertensive treatment does not significantly increase the risk of OH in patients with mild-to-moderate Alzheimer disease. Clinical Trial Registration URL: https://www.clinicaltrials.gov . Unique identifier: NCT02017340.
Keywords: Alzheimer disease; adverse drug event; antihypertensive agent; calcium channel blocker; orthostatic hypotension; randomized controlled trial.