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Effects of nicardipine and clonidine on cognitive functions and electroencephalography in hypertensive patients.

Author(s): Denolle T, Sassano P, Allain H, Bentue-Ferrer D, Breton S, Cimarosti I, Ouatara B, Merienne M, Gandon JM

Affiliation(s): Biotrial SA, rue Jean-Louis Bertrand 35000 Rennes, France.

Publication date & source: 2002-12, Fundam Clin Pharmacol., 16(6):527-35.

Publication type: Clinical Trial; Randomized Controlled Trial

The aim of this study was to investigate the cognitive and electroencephalography (EEG) short-term effects of a calcium antagonist, nicardipine, compared to placebo and clonidine (which, having known sedative effects, acted as a negative control) for 15 days in elderly hypertensive patients with memory complaints. Nicardipine and clonidine were compared with placebo in a double-blind, randomized, three-way cross-over controlled study after a 2-week placebo run-in period. This was a phase II clinical study carried out on out-patients in a single research centre. Fifteen elderly (63 +/- 10 years) hypertensive patients, without dementia but with memory complaints, were included. Psychomotor performance and cognition were assessed using both an extensive battery of validated psychometric tests (which evaluated attention and vigilance, body sway and memory) and an EEG profile. Cardiovascular parameters measured were blood pressure and heart rate. No detrimental effects of nicardipine were found on attention, vigilance, body sway or memory. Nicardipine produced a significant increase in alpha EEG energies, which may indicate possible alerting effects. In contrast, clonidine induced well-known deleterious sedative effects in psychometric tests and in EEG analysis (decrease in alpha and increase in delta and theta waves). The two drugs produced equivalent decreases in blood pressure at steady state. In conclusion, clonidine induced well-known sedative effects, while nicardipine did not impair central nervous system activity and may have had some short-term alerting effects in elderly hypertensive patients with memory complaints. This study supports the hypothesis of a dissociation between blood pressure and direct drug effects on the central nervous system.

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