July 23, 2016
Recommended Topic Related To:


"Having close biological relatives with heart disease can increase your risk of developing this disease. Family health history offers important information to help you and your family members understand health risks and prevent disease.





Dopamine (dopamine hydrochloride) is a natural catecholamine formed by the decarboxylation of 3,4-dihydroxyphenylalanine (DOPA). It is a precursor to norepinephrine in noradrenergic nerves and is also a neurotransmitter in certain areas of the central nervous system, especially in the nigrostriatal tract, and in a few peripheral sympathetic nerves.

Dopamine (dopamine hydrochloride) produces positive chronotropic and inotropic effects on the myocardium, resulting in increased heart rate and cardiac contractility. This is accomplished directly by exerting an agonist action on beta-adrenoceptors and indirectly by causing release of norepinephrine from storage sites in sympathetic nerve endings.

Dopamine (dopamine hydrochloride) 's onset of action occurs within five minutes of intravenous administration, and with dopamine (dopamine hydrochloride) 's plasma half-life of about two minutes, the duration of action is less than ten minutes. If monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitors are present, however, the duration may increase to one hour. The drug is widely distributed in the body but does not cross the blood-brain barrier to a significant extent. Dopamine (dopamine hydrochloride) is metabolized in the liver, kidney, and plasma by MAO and catechol-O-methyltransferase to the inactive compounds homovanillic acid (HVA) and 3,4-dihydroxyphenylacetic acid. About 25% of the dose is taken up into specialized neurosecretory vesicles (the adrenergic nerve terminals), where it is hydroxylated to form norepinephrine. It has been reported that about 80% of the drug is excreted in the urine within 24 hours, primarily as HVA and its sulfate and glucuronide conjugates and as 3,4-dihydroxyphenylacetic acid. A very small portion is excreted unchanged.

The predominant effects of dopamine (dopamine hydrochloride) are dose-related, although actual response of an individual patient will largely depend on the clinical status of the patient at the time the drug is administered. At low rates of infusion (0.5-2 mcg/kg/min) dopamine (dopamine hydrochloride) causes vasodilation that is presumed to be due to a specific agonist action on dopamine (dopamine hydrochloride) receptors (distinct from alpha and beta adrenoceptors) in the renal, mesenteric, coronary, and intracerebral vascular beds. At these dopamine (dopamine hydrochloride) receptors, haloperidol is an antagonist. The vasodilation in these vascular beds is accompanied by increased glomerular filtration rate, renal blood flow, sodium excretion, and urine flow. Hypotension sometimes occurs. An increase in urinary output produced by dopamine (dopamine hydrochloride) is usually not associated with a decrease in osmolarity of the urine.

At intermediate rates of infusion (2-10 mcg/kg/min) dopamine (dopamine hydrochloride) acts to stimulate the beta1-adrenoceptors, resulting in improved myocardial contractility, increased SA rate and enhanced impulse conduction in the heart. There is little, if any, stimulation of the beta2-adrenoceptors (peripheral vasodilation). Dopamine (dopamine hydrochloride) causes less increase in myocardial oxygen consumption than isoproterenol, and its use is not usually associated with a tachyarrhythmia. Clinical studies indicate that it usually increases systolic and pulse pressure with either no effect or a slight increase in diastolic pressure. Blood flow to the peripheral vascular beds may decrease while mesenteric flow increases due to increased cardiac output. At low and intermediate doses, total peripheral resistance (which would be raised by alpha activity) is usually unchanged.

At higher rates of infusion (10-20 mcg/kg/min) there is some effect on alpha-adrenoceptors, with consequent vasoconstrictor effects and a rise in blood pressure. The vasoconstrictor effects are first seen in the skeletal muscle vascular beds, but with increasing doses they are also evident in the renal and mesenteric vessels. At very high rates of infusion (above 20 mcg/kg/min), stimulation of alpha-adrenoceptors predominates and vasoconstriction may compromise the circulation of the limbs and override the dopamine (dopamine hydrochloride) rgic effects of dopamine (dopamine hydrochloride) , reversing renal dilation and natriuresis.

Last reviewed on RxList: 10/4/2010
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.

Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration


You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

Heart Health

Get the latest treatment options.

Atrial Fibrillation Quiz