UMEM Educational Pearls

Category: Critical Care

Title: A quick vasopressor review

Keywords: norepinephrine, dopamine, vasopressin, phenylephrine (PubMed Search)

Posted: 8/28/2007 by Mike Winters, MD (Updated: 3/5/2024)
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-Norepinephrine: has both alpha-1 and beta-1 activity; stronger alpha than beta receptor agonist; increases MAP primarily through increase in SVR; dose 2-20mcg/minute -Phenylephrine: all alpha-1 activity; increases MAP through increase in SVR; initial dose 100-180 mcg/minute and titrate 40-60 mcg/min; primarily a 3rd line vasopressor -Vasopressin: a non-adrenergic vasoconstricting agent; activates vasopressin receptors; dose 0.01-0.04 Units/min; currently used as a second-line agent in the setting of sepsis; should not be used as the sole vasopressor medication due to gut and cardiac ischemia -Dopamine: activates dopaminergic receptors; at doses of 10-20 mcg/kg/min it has both alpha-1 and beta-1 activity; increases MAP primarily through increases in CO; stronger chronotropic agent than norepinephrine - will worsen existing tachycardia -Epinephrine: has potent beta-1 activity with moderate alpha-1 and beta-2 activity; at lower doses increases MAP through increase in CO; at higher doses increases MAP by increase in SVR; primarily used in anaphylactic shock; dose 1-20 mcg/min