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Increase in Heart Rate or Blood Pressure
Dobutamine may cause a marked increase in heart rate or blood pressure, especially systolic pressure. Approximately 10% of adult patients in clinical studies have had rate increases of 30 beats/minute or more, and about 7.5% have had a 50 mm Hg or greater increase in systolic pressure. Usually, reduction of dosage promptly reverses these effects. Because dobutamine facilitates atrioventricular conduction, patients with atrial fibrillation are at risk of developing rapid ventricular response. In patients who have atrial fibrillation with rapid ventricular response, a digitalis preparation should be used prior to institution of therapy with dobutamine. Patients with preexisting hypertension appear to face an increased risk of developing an exaggerated pressor response.
Dobutamine contains sodium bisulfite, a sulfite that may cause allergic-type reactions, including anaphylactic symptoms and life-threatening or less severe asthmatic episodes, in certain susceptible people. The overall prevalence of sulfite sensitivity in the general population is unknown and probably low. Sulfite sensitivity is seen more frequently in asthmatic than in nonasthmatic people.
- During the administration of dobutamine, as with any adrenergic agent, ECG and blood pressure should be continuously monitored. In addition, pulmonary wedge pressure and cardiac output should be monitored whenever possible to aid in the safe and effective infusion of dobutamine.
- Hypovolemia should be corrected with suit-able volume expanders before treatment with dobutamine is instituted.
- No improvement may be observed in the presence of marked mechanical obstruction, such as severe valvular aortic stenosis.
Usage Following Acute Myocardial Infarction – Clinical experience with dobutamine following myocardial infarction has been insufficient to establish the safety of the drug for this use. There is concern that any agent that increases contractile force and heart rate may increase the size of an infarction by intensifying ischemia, but it is not known whether dobutamine does so.
Laboratory Tests – Dobutamine, like other β2-agonists, can produce a mild reduction in serum potassium concentration, rarely to hypokalemic levels. Accordingly, consideration should be given to monitoring serum potassium.
Carcinogenesis, Mutagenesis, Impairment of Fertility
Studies to evaluate the carcinogenic or mutagenic potential of dobutamine, or its potential to affect fertility, have not been conducted.
Teratogenic Effects–Pregnancy Category B– Reproduction studies performed in rats at doses up to the normal human dose (10 mcg/kg/min for 24 h, total daily dose of 14.4 mg/kg), and in rabbits at doses up to twice the normal human dose, have revealed no evidence of harm to the fetus due to dobutamine. There are, however, no adequate and well-controlled studies in pregnant women. Because animal reproduction studies are not always predictive of human response, this drug should be used during pregnancy only if clearly needed.
Labor and Delivery
The effect of dobutamine on labor and delivery is unknown.
It is not known whether this drug is excreted in human milk. Because many drugs are excreted in human milk, caution should be exercised when dobutamine is administered to a nursing woman. If a mother requires dobutamine treatment, breastfeeding should be discontinued for the duration of the treatment.
Dobutamine has been shown to increase cardiac output and systemic pressure in pediatric patients of every age group. In premature neonates, however, dobutamine is less effective than dopamine in raising systemic blood pressure without causing undue tachycardia, and dobutamine has not been shown to provide any added benefit when given to such infants already receiving optimal infusions of dopamine.
Of the 1893 patients in clinical studies who were treated with dobutamine, 930 (49.1%) were 65 and older. No overall differences in safety or effectiveness were observed between these and younger subjects. Other reported clinical experience has not identified differences in responses between the elderly and younger patients, but greater sensitivity of some older individuals cannot be ruled out.
In general, dose selection for an elderly patient should be cautious, usually starting at the low end of the dosing range, reflecting the greater frequency of decreased hepatic, renal, or cardiac function, and of concomitant disease or drug therapy.
Last reviewed on RxList: 11/22/2010
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.
Additional Dobutamine Information
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