Medical Editor: John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP Last updated on RxList: 12/20/2022
Drug Description

What is Vasostrict and how is it used?

Vasostrict is a prescription medicine used to treat the symptoms of Diabetes Insipidus and Abdominal Roentgenography. Vasostrict may be used alone or with other medications.

Vasostrict belongs to a class of drugs called Gastrointestinal Agents, Other; Vasopressin-Related; Antidiuretics, Hormone Analog.

What are the possible side effects of Vasostrict?

Vasostrict may cause serious side effects including:

  • hives,
  • difficulty breathing,
  • swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat,
  • numbness or tingling in your hands or feet,
  • loss of color in your lips or around your mouth,
  • numbness or tingling in your hands or feet,
  • loss of feeling anywhere in your body,
  • unusual skin changes (soreness, tightness, discoloration, pain),
  • especially in your lower legs or feet,
  • chest pain or tightness,
  • slow heart rate,
  • weak pulse,
  • slow breathing,
  • unusual bleeding,
  • severe stomach pain,
  • nausea,
  • vomiting,
  • little or no urination,
  • headache,
  • confusion,
  • slurred speech,
  • severe weakness,
  • loss of coordination,
  • feeling unsteady,
  • severe or pounding headache,
  • severe drowsiness, and
  • weakness

Get medical help right away, if you have any of the symptoms listed above.

The most common side effects of Vasostrict include:

  • fast or slow heartbeats,
  • low sodium level,
  • numbness or tingling,
  • pounding in your head or ears,
  • dizziness,
  • spinning sensation,
  • pale skin,
  • numbness in your fingers or toes,
  • stomach pain,
  • gas,
  • nausea,
  • vomiting, and
  • sweating

Tell the doctor if you have any side effect that bothers you or that does not go away.

These are not all the possible side effects of Vasostrict. For more information, ask your doctor or pharmacist.

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.


Vasopressin is a polypeptide hormone that causes contraction of vascular and other smooth muscles and antidiuresis. Vasostrict is a sterile, aqueous solution of synthetic arginine vasopressin for intravenous administration. The 1 mL solution contains vasopressin 20 units/mL, chlorobutanol, NF 0.5% as a preservative, and Water for Injection, USP adjusted with acetic acid to pH 3.4 – 3.6.

The chemical name of vasopressin is Cyclo (1-6) L-Cysteinyl-L-Tyrosyl-L-Phenylalanyl-LGlutaminyl-L-Asparaginyl-L-Cysteinyl-L-Prolyl-L-Arginyl-L-Glycinamide. It is a white to off-white amorphous powder, freely soluble in water. The structural formula is:

Vasostrict (vasopressin) Structural Formula Illustration

One mg is equivalent to 530 units.

Indications & Dosage


Vasostrict® is indicated to increase blood pressure in adults with vasodilatory shock who remain hypotensive despite fluids and catecholamines.


Preparation Of Solution

Inspect parenteral drug products for particulate matter and discoloration prior to use, whenever solution and container permit.

Vasostrict® Solution For Dilution, 20 Units/mL And 200 Units/10 mL (20 Units/mL)

Dilute Vasostrict® in normal saline (0.9% sodium chloride) or 5% dextrose in water (D5W) prior to use for intravenous administration. Discard unused diluted solution after 18 hours at room temperature or 24 hours under refrigeration.

Table 1 Preparation of diluted solutions

Fluid restriction? Final concentration Mix
Vasostrict® Diluent
No 0.1 units/mL 2.5 mL (50 units) 500 mL
Yes 1 unit/mL 5 mL (100 units) 100 mL

Vasostrict® Premixed Solution, 20 Units/100 mL (0.2 Units/mL), 40 Units/100 mL (0.4 Units/mL), And 60 Units/100 mL (0.6 Units/mL)

This product does not require further dilution prior to administration.


In general, titrate to the lowest dose compatible with a clinically acceptable response.

The recommended starting dose is:

Post-cardiotomy shock: 0.03 units/minute

Septic Shock: 0.01 units/minute

Titrate up by 0.005 units/minute at 10-to 15-minute intervals until the target blood pressure is reached. There are limited data for doses above 0.1 units/minute for postcardiotomy shock and 0.07 units/minute for septic shock. Adverse reactions are expected to increase with higher doses.

After target blood pressure has been maintained for 8 hours without the use of catecholamines, taper vasopressin injection by 0.005 units/minute every hour as tolerated to maintain target blood pressure.


Dosage Forms And Strengths

Vasostrict® (vasopressin injection, USP) is a clear, practically colorless solution available as 20 units/mL in a single dose vial and 200 units/10 mL (20 units/mL) in a multiple dose vial. To be used after dilution.

Vasostrict® is also available premixed as 20 units/100 mL (0.2 units/mL), 40 units/100 mL (0.4 units/mL) and 60 units/100 mL (0.6 units/mL) in single dose vials. Ready to use.

Storage And Handling

Vasostrict® (vasopressin injection, USP) is a clear, practically colorless solution for intravenous administration available as:

NDC 42023-164-10: A carton of 10 single dose vials. Each vial contains vasopressin 1 mL at 20 units/mL.
NDC 42023-164-25: A carton of 25 single dose vials. Each vial contains vasopressin 1 mL at 20 units/mL.
NDC 42023-190-01: A carton of 1 multiple dose vial. Each vial contains vasopressin 10 mL at 200 units/10 mL (20 units/mL).
NDC 42023-219-10: A carton of 10 single dose vials. Each vial contains vasopressin 100 mL at 40 units/100 mL (0.4 units/mL).
NDC 42023-220-10: A carton of 10 single dose vials. Each vial contains vasopressin 100 mL at 60 units/100 mL (0.6 units/mL).
NDC 42023-237-10: A carton of 10 single dose vials. Each vial contains vasopressin 100 mL at 20 units/100 mL (0.2 units/mL).

Store between 2°C and 8°C (36°F and 46°F). Do not freeze.

Vials may be held up to 12 months upon removal from refrigeration to room temperature storage conditions (20°C to 25°C [68°F to 77°F], USP Controlled Room Temperature), anytime within the labeled shelf life. Once removed from refrigeration, unopened vial should be marked to indicate the revised 12 month expiration date. If the manufacturer’s original expiration date is shorter than the revised expiration date, then the shorter date must be used. Do not use Vasostrict® beyond the manufacturer’s expiration date stamped on the vial.

After initial entry into the 10 mL vial, the remaining contents must be refrigerated. Discard the refrigerated 10 mL vial after 30 days after first puncture.

The storage conditions and expiration periods are summarized in the following table.

Unopened Refrigerated 2°C to 8°C (36°F to 46°F) Unopened Room Temperature 20°C to 25°C (68°F to 77°F) Do not store above 25°C (77°F) Opened (After First Puncture)
1 mL Vial Until manufacturer expiration date 12 months or until manufacturer expiration date, whichever is earlier N/A
10 mL Vial Until manufacturer expiration date 12 months or until manufacturer expiration date, whichever is earlier 30 days
100 mL Vial Until manufacturer expiration date 12 months or until manufacturer expiration date, whichever is earlier N/A

Distributed by: Par Pharmaceutical Chestnut Ridge, NY 10977. Revised: Dec 2022.


Low Blood Pressure (Hypotension): Symptoms, Signs, Causes See Slideshow
Side Effects


The following adverse reactions associated with the use of vasopressin were identified in the literature. Because these reactions are reported voluntarily from a population of uncertain size, it is not possible to estimate their frequency reliably or to establish a causal relationship to drug exposure.

Bleeding/lymphatic system disorders: Hemorrhagic shock, decreased platelets, intractable bleeding

Cardiac disorders: Right heart failure, atrial fibrillation, bradycardia, myocardial ischemia Gastrointestinal disorders: Mesenteric ischemia

Hepatobiliary: Increased bilirubin levels

Renal/urinary disorders: Acute renal insufficiency

Vascular disorders: Distal limb ischemia

Metabolic: Hyponatremia

Skin: Ischemic lesions

Postmarketing Experience

Reversible diabetes insipidus [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS]

Drug Interactions



Use with catecholamines is expected to result in an additive effect on mean arterial blood pressure and other hemodynamic parameters. Hemodynamic monitoring is recommended; adjust the dose of vasopressin as needed.


Use with indomethacin may prolong the effect of Vasostrict® on cardiac index and systemic vascular resistance. Hemodynamic monitoring is recommended; adjust the dose of vasopressin as needed [see CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY].

Ganglionic Blocking Agents

Use with ganglionic blocking agents may increase the effect of Vasostrict® on mean arterial blood pressure. Hemodynamic monitoring is recommended; adjust the dose of vasopressin as needed [see CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY].

Drugs Suspected Of Causing SIADH

Use with drugs suspected of causing SIADH (e.g., SSRIs, tricyclic antidepressants, haloperidol, chlorpropamide, enalapril, methyldopa, pentamidine, vincristine, cyclophosphamide, ifosfamide, felbamate) may increase the pressor effect in addition to the antidiuretic effect of Vasostrict®. Hemodynamic monitoring is recommended; adjust the dose of vasopressin as needed

Drugs Suspected Of Causing Diabetes Insipidus

Use with drugs suspected of causing diabetes insipidus (e.g., demeclocycline, lithium, foscarnet, clozapine) may decrease the pressor effect in addition to the antidiuretic effect of Vasostrict®. Hemodynamic monitoring is recommended; adjust the dose of vasopressin as needed.

Warnings & Precautions


Included as part of the "PRECAUTIONS" Section


Worsening Cardiac Function

A decrease in cardiac index may be observed with the use of vasopressin.

Reversible Diabetes Insipidus

Patients may experience reversible diabetes insipidus, manifested by the development of polyuria, a dilute urine, and hypernatremia, after cessation of treatment with vasopressin. Monitor serum electrolytes, fluid status and urine output after vasopressin discontinuation. Some patients may require readministration of vasopressin or administration of desmopressin to correct fluid and electrolyte shifts.

Nonclinical Toxicology

Carcinogenesis, Mutagenesis, Impairment Of Fertility

No formal carcinogenicity or fertility studies with vasopressin have been conducted in animals. Vasopressin was found to be negative in the in vitro bacterial mutagenicity (Ames) test and the in vitro Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cell chromosome aberration test. In mice, vasopressin has been reported to have an effect on function and fertilizing ability of spermatozoa.

Use In Specific Populations


Risk Summary

There are no available data on Vasostrict® use in pregnant women to inform a drug associated risk of major birth defects, miscarriage, or adverse maternal or fetal outcomes. Animal reproduction studies have not been conducted.

Clinical Considerations

Dose Adjustments During Pregnancy And The Postpartum Period

Because of increased clearance of vasopressin in the second and third trimester, the dose of Vasostrict® may need to be increased [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION and CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY].

Maternal adverse reactions

Vasostrict® may produce tonic uterine contractions that could threaten the continuation of pregnancy.


There are no data on the presence of vasopressin injection in either human or animal milk, the effects on the breastfed infant, or the effects on milk production.

Pediatric Use

Safety and effectiveness of Vasostrict® in pediatric patients with vasodilatory shock have not been established.

Geriatric Use

Clinical studies of vasopressin did not include sufficient numbers of subjects aged 65 and over to determine whether they respond differently from younger subjects. Other reported clinical experience has not identified differences in responses between the elderly and younger patients. 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 other drug therapy [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS, ADVERSE REACTIONS, and CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY].

Overdose & Contraindications


Overdosage with Vasostrict® can be expected to manifest as consequences of vasoconstriction of various vascular beds (peripheral, mesenteric, and coronary) and as hyponatremia. In addition, overdosage may lead less commonly to ventricular tachyarrhythmias (including Torsade de Pointes), rhabdomyolysis, and non-specific gastrointestinal symptoms. Direct effects will resolve within minutes of withdrawal of treatment.


Vasostrict® 10 mL multiple dose vial is contraindicated in patients with known allergy or hypersensitivity to 8-L-arginine vasopressin or chlorobutanol. The 1 mL single dose vial and 100 mL pre-mixed single dose vial does not contain chlorobutanol and is therefore contraindicated only in patients with a known allergy or hypersensitivity to 8-L-arginine vasopressin.

Clinical Pharmacology


Mechanism Of Action

Vasopressin causes vasoconstriction by binding to V1 receptors on vascular smooth muscle coupled to the Gq/11-phospholipase C-phosphatidyl-inositol-triphosphate pathway, resulting in the release of intracellular calcium. In addition, vasopressin stimulates antidiuresis via stimulation of V2 receptors which are coupled to adenyl cyclase.


At therapeutic doses exogenous vasopressin elicits a vasoconstrictive effect in most vascular beds including the splanchnic, renal and cutaneous circulation. In addition, vasopressin at pressor doses triggers contractions of smooth muscles in the gastrointestinal tract mediated by muscular V1-receptors and release of prolactin and ACTH via V3 receptors. At lower concentrations typical for the antidiuretic hormone vasopressin inhibits water diuresis via renal V2 receptors. In addition, vasopressin has been demonstrated to cause vasodilation in numerous vascular beds that are mediated by V2, V3, oxytocin and purinergic P2 receptors.

In patients with vasodilatory shock vasopressin in therapeutic doses increases systemic vascular resistance and mean arterial blood pressure and reduces the dose requirements for norepinephrine. Vasopressin tends to decrease heart rate and cardiac output. The pressor effect is proportional to the infusion rate of exogenous vasopressin. The pressor effect reaches its peak within 15 minutes. After stopping the infusion the pressor effect fades within 20 minutes. There is no evidence for tachyphylaxis or tolerance to the pressor effect of vasopressin in patients.


Vasopressin plasma concentrations increase linearly with increasing infusion rates from 10 to 200 μU/kg/min. Steady state plasma concentrations are achieved after 30 minutes of continuous intravenous infusion.


Vasopressin does not appear to bind plasma protein. The volume of distribution is 140 mL/kg.


At infusion rates used in vasodilatory shock (0.01 to 0.1 units/minute), the clearance of vasopressin is 9 to 25 mL/min/kg in patients with vasodilatory shock. The apparent t1/2 of vasopressin at these levels is ≤10 minutes.


Serine protease, carboxipeptidase and disulfide oxido-reductase cleave vasopressin at sites relevant for the pharmacological activity of the hormone. Thus, the generated metabolites are not expected to retain important pharmacological activity.


Vasopressin is predominantly metabolized and only about 6% of the dose is excreted unchanged into urine.

Specific Populations


Because of a spillover into blood of placental vasopressinase, the clearance of exogenous and endogenous vasopressin increases gradually over the course of a pregnancy. During the first trimester of pregnancy, the clearance is only slightly increased. However, by the third trimester the clearance of vasopressin is increased about 4-fold and at term up to 5-fold. After delivery, the clearance of vasopressin returns to preconception baseline within two weeks.

Drug Interactions

Indomethacin more than doubles the time to offset for vasopressin’s effect on peripheral vascular resistance and cardiac output in healthy subjects [see DRUG INTERACTIONS].

The ganglionic blocking agent tetra-ethylammonium increases the pressor effect of vasopressin by 20% in healthy subjects [see DRUG INTERACTIONS].

Halothane, morphine, fentanyl, alfentanyl and sufentanyl do not impact exposure to endogenous vasopressin.

Animal Toxicology And/Or Pharmacology

No toxicology studies were conducted with vasopressin.

Clinical Studies

Increases in systolic and mean blood pressure following administration of vasopressin were observed in 7 studies in septic shock and 8 in post-cardiotomy vasodilatory shock.

Medication Guide


No information provided. Please refer to the WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS section.

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