Reviewed on 8/27/2021

What Is Vasopressin ( Vasostrict, ADH) and How Does It Work?

Vasopressin is indicated for prevention and treatment of postoperative abdominal distention, in abdominal roentgenography to dispel interfering gas shadows, and in diabetes insipidus.

Vasopressin is available under the following different brand names: Vasostrict, and ADH.

Dosages of Vasopressin

Adult and Pediatric Dosage Forms and Strengths

Injection solution

  • 20 units/mL

Dosage Considerations – Should be Given as Follows:

Abdominal Distention

  • Adult: 5 units intramuscularly (IM) initially; repeated every 3-4 hours as needed; may be increased to 10 units
  • Pediatric: Proportionately reduced adult dosage

Diabetes Insipidus

  • Adult: 5-10 units intramuscularly/subcutaneously (IM/SC) every 8-12 hours
  • 2.5-10 units IM/SC/intranasally every 8-12 hours
  • Continuous intravenous (IV) infusion: 0.0005 unit/kg/hour initially, then double dose every 30 minutes to reach desired effect; not to exceed 0.01 unit/kg/hour
  • Titrate dose on basis of serum sodium, serum osmolality, fluid balance, and urine output

Abdominal Roentgenography

  • 10 units (0.5mL) intramuscularly/subcutaneously (IM/SC) 2 hours before procedure, then 10 units IM 30 minutes before procedure
  • May give enema prior to first dose of vasopressin

Dosing Modifications

  • Hepatic impairment: Lower doses may be required to achieve response

Gastrointestinal Hemorrhage (Off-label)

  • Adult: 0.2-0.4 unit/minute intravenously (IV) initially; may be increased to 0.8 unit/minute IV as needed
  • Pediatric: 0.3 units/kg IV; not to exceed 20 units
  • 0.002-0.005 unit/kg/minute IV initially; may be increased to 0.01 unit/kg/minute IV as needed
  • If bleeding controlled for 12-24 hours, taper off over 24-36 hours

Vasodilatory Shock (Off-label)

  • 0.01-0.04 unit/minute intravenously (IV)


Salt and sodium are the same. See Answer

What Are Side Effects Associated with Using Vasopressin (Zovirax)?

Common side effects or health problems may include:

  • Abdominal cramps
  • Allergic reaction
  • Bronchial constriction
  • Chest pain (angina)
  • Decreased cardiac output
  • Diarrhea
  • Inadequate blood supply (ischemia) to the heart, intestines, skin, fingers and toes
  • Irregular heart beat
  • Low levels of sodium in the blood (hyponatremia)
  • Nausea
  • Pounding in the head
  • Slow heart rate
  • Spinning sensation (vertigo)
  • Sweating
  • Tremor
  • Uterine contraction
  • White area surrounding the mouth

This is not a complete list of side effects and other serious side effects or health problems may occur as a result of the use of this drug. Call your doctor for medical advice about serious side effects or adverse reactions. You may report side effects or health problems to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

What Other Drugs Interact with Vasopressin (Zovirax)?

If your doctor has directed you to use this medication, your doctor or pharmacist may already be aware of any possible drug interactions and may be monitoring you for them. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of this medicine or any drug before seeking medical advice from your doctor, healthcare provider or pharmacist first. To do so may result in serious consequences or side effects.

  • Vasopressin has no known severe, serious, or moderate interactions with other drugs.
  • Vasopressin has mild interactions with at least 26 different drugs.
  • Vasopressin has mild interactions with at least 65 different drugs.

This document does not contain all possible interactions from the use of this medication. Therefore, before using this drug, tell your doctor or pharmacist of all the drugs you use. Keep a list of all your medications with you, and share the list with your doctor and pharmacist. Check with your physician if you have health questions or concerns.

What Are Warnings and Precautions for Vasopressin ( Vasostrict, ADH)?


  • This medication contains vasopressin. Do not take Vasostrict or ADH if you are allergic to vasopressin or any ingredients contained in this drug.
  • Keep out of reach of children. In case of overdose, get medical help or contact a Poison Control Center immediately.


  • Hypersensitivity

Effects of Drug Abuse

  • No information provided

Short-Term Effects

  • See "What Are Side Effects Associated with Using Vasopressin (Vasostrict, ADH)?"

Long-Term Effects

  • See "What Are Side Effects Associated with Using Vasopressin (Vasostrict, ADH)?"


  • With gastrointestinal (GI) bleeding, infusion should be continued for 12-24 hours after bleeding has stopped, and dosage should then be tapered over 24-48 hours.
  • Continuous infusion should be administered via controlled infusion device.
  • Use caution in chronic nephritis with nitrogen retention.
  • Pre- and postoperative patients with polyuria.
  • Use caution in patients with seizure, migraine, asthma, heart failure, vascular disease, angina pectoris, coronary thrombosis, renal disease.
  • Use in pregnant women only when clearly needed.

Pregnancy and Lactation

  • Use vasopressin with caution during pregnancy if benefits outweigh risks. Animal studies show risk and human studies are not available or neither animal nor human studies were done.
  • It is unknown whether vasopressin is distributed into breast milk; use with caution if breastfeeding.


How to Lower Blood Pressure: Exercise Tips See Slideshow
Medscape. Vasopressin.
RxList. Vasostrict Side Effects Drug Center.
DailyMed. Vassopressin Injection.

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