dopamine (hydrochloride; Intropin - Discontinued in the US)

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GENERIC NAME: dopamine hydrochloride

BRAND NAME: Intropin (discontinued in the US)

DRUG CLASS AND MECHANISM: Dopamine is a chemical produced by our body and it has several functions. Dopamine works as a neurotransmitter (chemical that nerves use to communicate) in the brain. It is also converted to norepinephrine, another neurotransmitter. Dopamine increases heart rate and heart muscle contractions. It also causes increases in blood pressure. The FDA approved dopamine in February 1974.



PREPARATIONS: Additive solutions for IV infusion: 40, 80, 160 mg/ml. Infusion Solution: 80, 160, 320, mg/100 ml

STORAGE: Dopamine injections are stored at room temperature between 20 C to 25 C (68 F to 77 F).

PRESCRIBED FOR: Dopamine is prescribed to correct hemodynamic status in patients with shock syndrome due to heart attack (myocardial infarction), trauma, open-heart surgery, renal failure, congestive heart failure, and other causes of shock syndrome. This means dopamine may be capable of improving urine flow, blood pressure, blood flow to vital organs, and improving heart function in patients with shock syndrome.



Dopamine is given by intravenous (IV) infusion.

  • Low dose: 1 to 5 mcg/kg/minute IV to increase urine output and kidney blood flow.
  • Intermediate dose: 5 to 15 mcg/kg/minute IV to increase kidney blood flow, cardiac output and contractility, and heart rate.
  • High dose: 20 to 50 mcg/kg/minute IV to increase blood pressure and stimulate vasoconstriction; may increase infusion by 1 to 4 mcg/kg/minute at 10 to 30 minute intervals until desired response (for example, adequate blood pressure) is achieved.

Safe and effective use of dopamine is not established in children.

DRUG INTERACTIONS: Dopamine should not be used in patients with pheochromocytoma and abnormal heart rate and rhythm.

Dopamine should not be used with medications like selegiline (Eldepryl, Zelapar), linezolid (Zyvox), and MAIO inhibitors like phenelzine (Nardil), isocarboxazid (Marplan) due to increased risk of a hypertensive episode.

Dopamine should not be used with tricyclic antidepressants (for example, amitriptyline [Elavil, Endep]) that increase dopamine and norepinephrine due to increased risk of hypertension and abnormal heart rate and rhythm.

PREGNANCY: There are no adequate studies done on dopamine to determine its safe and effective use in pregnant women.

NURSING MOTHERS: It is not known whether dopamine enters breast milk; therefore, it is best to be cautious before using it in nursing mothers.

SIDE EFFECTS: Side effects of dopamine may include increased heart rate, abnormal heart rhythm, increased or decreased blood pressure, disordered breathing, nausea, vomiting, headache, and increased blood urea nitrogen.


FDA Prescribing Information.

Medscape. dopamine (Rx) - Intropin.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/16/2014

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