For use in the treatment of patients with pheochromocytoma, for preoperative preparation of patients for surgery, management of patients when surgery is contraindicated, and chronic treatment of patients with malignant pheochromocytoma.
In patients with pheochromocytoma, who produce excessive amounts of norepinephrine and epinephrine, administration of one to four grams of metyrosine per day has reduced catecholamine biosynthesis from about 35 to 80 percent as measured by the total excretion of catecholamines and their metabolites (metanephrine and vanillylmandelic acid). The maximum biochemical effect usually occurs within two to three days, and the urinary concentration of catecholamines and their metabolites usually returns to pretreatment levels within three to four days after metyrosine is discontinued. Most patients with pheochromocytoma treated with metyrosine experience decreased frequency and severity of hypertensive attacks with their associated headache, nausea, sweating, and tachycardia. In patients who respond, blood pressure decreases progressively during the first two days of therapy with metyrosine; after withdrawal, blood pressure usually increases gradually to pretreatment values within two to three days.
mechanism of action
Metyrosine inhibits tyrosine hydroxylase, which catalyzes the first transformation in catecholamine biosynthesis, i.e., the conversion of tyrosine to dihydroxyphenylalanine (DOPA). Because the first step is also the rate-limiting step, blockade of tyrosine hydroxylase activity results in decreased endogenous levels of catecholamines and their synthesis. This consequently, depletes the levels of the catecholamines dopamine, adrenaline and noradrenaline in the body,usually measured as decreased urinary excretion of catecholamines and their metabolites. One main end result of the catecholamine depletion is a decrease in blood presure.
Signs of metyrosine overdosage include those central nervous system effects observed in some patients even at low dosages. At doses exceeding 2000 mg/day, some degree of sedation or feeling of fatigue may persist. Doses of 2000-4000 mg/day can result in anxiety or agitated depression, neuromuscular effects (including fine tremor of the hands, gross tremor of the trunk, tightening of the jaw with trismus), diarrhea, and decreased salivation with dry mouth. The acute toxicity of metyrosine was 442 mg/kg and 752 mg/kg in the female mouse and rat respectively.
Little biotransformation, with catechol metabolites accounting for less than 1% of the administered dose.
Well absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract.
3.4 to 3.7 hours
route of elimination
Because the first step is also the rate-limiting step, blockade of tyrosine hydroxylase activity results in decreased endogenous levels of catecholamines, usually measured as decreased urinary excretion of catecholamines and their metabolites.