A Mayo Clinic study published this month in Pacing and Electrophysiology (PACE), suggests that a class of medications more commonly prescribed for older adults is a strong first-line treatment for teenagers with a debilitating condition called postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome, or POTS.
Phil Fischer, M.D., medical director of Mayo Clinic's children's hospital and a POTS specialist, led the retrospective study of teenagers diagnosed with POTS at Mayo Clinic. The patients were surveyed approximately a year after their diagnosis, and while over half of those taking midodrine reported improvement in symptoms, all of those taking β-blockers had felt improvement.
Dr. Fischer provides an overview of POTS, the study results and their implications for treatment of future patients with POTS:
"This is a small study, but it is an important step because POTS is not well understood even within the medical community," Dr. Fischer explains. "POTS is a real syndrome in which the patient's heart rate accelerates abnormally when moving from lying down to standing up, and it causes a whole cascade of symptoms from fatigue to stomach upset that are often mistaken for depression. This study points to the important role medications can play, in conjunction with other changes, to help these mostly high-achieving young people get their lives back."
As you can see from the extensive comments in response to the POTS podcast, there would be no shortage of patients to possibly include in a news story about this study. Another interesting angle is that the brother of the patient featured in the 2006 Mayo Clinic Medical Edge TV story raised the funds to pay for the statistical analysis required for the study on medication effectiveness being reported this month in PACE.