Starting out on Northera (Droxidopa)? We get it, starting out on a new medication can be daunting to many people. You are not alone! We’ve put together this helpful guide packed with FAQs and pertinent information on what you can expect when you begin taking Northera (Droxidopa).
We have done our best to make this article as comprehensive as possible. However, we understand that you personally may have more questions after reading. That’s okay! Call us anytime at (212) 249-8202 and we’ll connect you to a Registered Pharmacist who will answer everything you need to know. You’re always in good hands with QuickRx.
What is Northera (Droxidopa) used to treat?
Northera (Droxidopa) is a medication that is used to treat symptoms of orthostatic hypotension, also known as Postural Hypotension, which is a condition where a person experiences a drop in blood pressure upon standing up. This medication is also known as L-threo-dihydroxyphenylserine (L-DOPS), but we’ll just continue calling it “Northera” and “Droxidopa,” which is the generic name for this medication.
How does Northera (Droxidopa) work to treat neurogenic orthostatic hypotension (NOH)
Northera (Droxidopa) works by increasing levels of norepinephrine, a neurotransmitter that helps to regulate blood pressure. Orthostatic hypotension can cause dizziness, lightheadedness, and even fainting spells. While these symptoms typically set in upon standing, it can be dangerous if they occur while a person is driving or operating machinery.
How is Northera (Droxidopa) administered? Is Northera a pill or an injection?
Great news! Northera is not an injection. Northera (Droxidopa) is available in the form of capsules and is taken orally by mouth. It is typically taken three times a day, with or without food. However, due to your individual needs your prescriber could determine an alternate course for this medication. It is so important that you adhere
The recommended starting dose of Northera is 100 mg three times a day, and the maximum daily dose is 600 mg. The dose may be adjusted by your healthcare provider based on your individual response and tolerability.
It is important to take your medication exactly as prescribed by your healthcare provider, and not to exceed the recommended dose. Do not stop taking Northera (Droxidopa) or change the dose without first consulting with your healthcare provider.
What is the recommended dosage of Northera (Droxidopa)?
Northera (Droxidopa) was approved by the FDA in 2014, and is available in both capsule and oral suspension forms. It is typically taken three times a day, with the dosage adjusted based on the patient’s individual response.
What should I do if I miss a dose of Northera (Droxidopa)?
If you miss a dose of Northera (Droxidopa), you should take it as soon as you remember. However, if it is close to the time for your next scheduled dose, you should skip the missed dose and continue with your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for the missed dose.
It’s important to follow your doctor’s instructions regarding the timing and dosage of this and all medications to ensure that you are getting the maximum benefit from your therapies. If you have any concerns or questions about missed doses or your medication regimen, you should consult with your healthcare provider.
Can Northera (Droxidopa) be taken with other medications?
Northera (Droxidopa) is a useful treatment option for individuals with orthostatic hypotension, but it is not a cure. Patients may still need to take other medications, make lifestyle changes, or undergo other treatments to manage their symptoms.
If you have been diagnosed with orthostatic hypotension, talk to your doctor about whether this may be an appropriate treatment option for you. Your doctor can help you weigh the potential benefits and risks of this medication and develop a comprehensive treatment plan to help you manage your symptoms and maintain your quality of life.
What are the side effects of Northera (Droxidopa)?
Here’s a short list of side effects for quick reference. If you’d like deeper information on what you can most commonly expect, and when, keep reading below.
The most common side effects of Northera (Droxidopa) include:
- High blood pressure
Other less common side effects of Northera (Droxidopa) include:
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
- Rapid heartbeat
- Swelling of the legs or ankles
While this medication is generally well-tolerated, it can cause side effects such as headaches, nausea, and dizziness. In rare cases, it can also cause a dangerous increase in blood pressure, so it should be used with caution in patients with hypertension or other cardiovascular conditions.
The most common side effects of Northera (Droxidopa) include headaches, dizziness, nausea, high blood pressure, and fatigue. In clinical trials, approximately 12% of patients experienced headaches and dizziness, and about 5% of patients experienced nausea, high blood pressure, and fatigue.
Headaches can range in severity from mild to severe and can be accompanied by other symptoms such as nausea, sensitivity to light or sound, and fatigue. Dizziness can also vary in severity and may be described as lightheadedness, feeling off-balance, or feeling like the room is spinning.
Nausea is a common side effect of many medications and can be accompanied by other symptoms such as vomiting, loss of appetite, and stomach pain. High blood pressure is a serious side effect of Northera (Droxidopa) and can lead to complications such as heart attacks, strokes, and kidney damage if left untreated.
Fatigue is a common side effect of many medications and can range in severity from mild to severe. It may be described as feeling tired, lethargic, or lacking in energy.
In rare cases, Northera (Droxidopa) can cause more serious side effects such as seizures, confusion, hallucinations, chest pain, shortness of breath, and irregular heartbeats. Patients who experience these side effects should seek medical attention immediately.
It is important to note that not all patients will experience side effects from Northera (Droxidopa), and many patients will experience only mild or no side effects. Patients should talk to their doctor about any concerns they have about potential side effects and weigh the potential benefits and risks of the medication. Additionally, any questions you may have about the side effects of your medication can be answered by one of our highly-trained pharmacists.
How does Northera (Droxidopa) work in the body?
Northera (Droxidopa) works by increasing the levels of norepinephrine, a neurotransmitter that regulates blood pressure and heart rate. It is a prodrug, which means it is not active itself, but it is converted into an active form in the body.
In patients with NOH, there is a deficiency of norepinephrine, leading to a decrease in blood pressure when standing up. This drug is converted to norepinephrine in the body and thus increases the levels of this neurotransmitter. This, in turn, increases blood pressure and improves symptoms such as dizziness, lightheadedness, and fainting.
Overall, by increasing norepinephrine levels, it helps to improve symptoms of NOH and increase blood pressure in patients with this condition.
How long does it take for Northera (Droxidopa) to start working?
Northera (Droxidopa) typically starts working within 1-2 hours of taking the medication. However, the full therapeutic effects may take several weeks to become apparent, as it can take time for the body to adjust to the increased levels of norepinephrine.
In clinical trials, patients with neurogenic orthostatic hypotension (NOH) who took Northera experienced a significant improvement in their symptoms within one week of treatment. The improvement continued over the course of the 12-week study.
It is important to note that the response to this or any other medications may vary among individuals, and some patients may experience a more rapid or slower onset of action. If you have any concerns or questions about the timing of Northera’s onset of action, it is best to consult with your healthcare provider.
Can Northera (Droxidopa) be used to treat other conditions besides NOH?
Northera (Droxidopa) is currently only approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of neurogenic orthostatic hypotension (NOH), which is a condition characterized by a drop in blood pressure upon standing up.
While Northera (Droxidopa) is currently only approved for NOH, it has been studied for the treatment of other conditions that involve a deficiency of norepinephrine, such as Parkinson’s disease and multiple system atrophy (MSA). However, more research is needed before this medication can be recommended for these conditions.
It is important to note that this is a prescription medication and should only be used under the guidance and supervision of a healthcare provider. The old adage we were all taught in school stands true: Never take someone else’s medication. If you have questions about the use of this drug for a particular condition, it is best to consult with your healthcare provider.
Can Northera (Droxidopa) be used during pregnancy or while breastfeeding?
The safety of Northera (Droxidopa) during pregnancy and breastfeeding has not been established, and the medication should only be used during pregnancy or while breastfeeding if the potential benefits outweigh the potential risks to the fetus or infant.
Animal studies have shown that this drug can cross the placenta and reach the fetus. There are no adequate and well-controlled studies in pregnant women, so the risks to the fetus are not known.
It is also not known whether this medication is excreted in human breast milk, and the potential effects on the nursing infant are not known.
If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, or planning to become pregnant, it is important to discuss the potential risks and benefits of taking this medication with your healthcare provider. They may recommend alternative treatment options that are safer during pregnancy or while breastfeeding.
Is it safe to drink alcohol while taking Northera (Droxidopa)?
It is recommended to avoid or limit alcohol consumption while taking Northera (Droxidopa). Drinking alcohol can increase the risk of side effects such as dizziness, lightheadedness, and fainting, which are already potential side effects of this medication.
Alcohol can also affect blood pressure and heart rate, which are two parameters that Northera works to regulate. Drinking alcohol while taking Northera (Droxidopa) may interfere with the medication’s effectiveness and increase the risk of adverse effects.
If you do choose to drink alcohol while taking this or any other medication (yes, even some over the counter!), it is recommended to do so in moderation and under the guidance of your healthcare provider. They may advise you to limit your alcohol intake or to avoid it altogether.
How effective is Northera in treating neurogenic orthostatic hypotension (NOH)?
Northera (Droxidopa) has been shown to be effective in treating the symptoms of neurogenic orthostatic hypotension (NOH) in clinical studies.
In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study, patients with NOH who took this medication experienced a significant improvement in their symptoms compared to those who took a placebo. Specifically, patients who took Northera had a greater increase in standing systolic blood pressure and a longer duration of orthostatic tolerance. This means that the length of time they could stand without experiencing symptoms was significantly longer than those in the placebo group.
In another study, patients with NOH who took Northera had a significant improvement in their symptoms of dizziness, lightheadedness, and fatigue compared to those who took a placebo.
Overall, the evidence suggests that Northera is an effective treatment for NOH and can help improve symptoms and quality of life for patients with this condition. However, it is important to note that individual responses to the medication may vary, and some patients may experience a more or less significant improvement in their symptoms when compared to other patients. Additionally, it is important to follow the dosing instructions provided by your healthcare provider to ensure optimal therapeutic effects.
Is Northera (Droxidopa) Expensive? Is there Northera (Droxidopa) Copay Assistance?
The reality we face is that any medication can prove to be difficult to afford for many patients in America. To answer your question, yes there are many copay assistance programs for Northera (Droxidopa) and we have a dedicated team ready to take on this rather sizable task for you. The way it works is you will fill out a few forms and send us some documents. That’s it, from there we handle the rest for you and even make sure your savings are already applied when you arrive at one of our pharmacies. We strive to make copay assistance for Northera, its generic counterpart Droxidopa, and many other medications a breeze for all patients who wish to apply.
Give us a call today at (212) 249-8202 or click the button below to get started with our super easy copay assistance program.