Skip to Main Content

We have a new app!

Take the Access library with you wherever you go—easy access to books, videos, images, podcasts, personalized features, and more.

Download the Access App here: iOS and Android



dopamine (dope-a-meen)

Intropin, imageRevimine


Therapeutic: inotropics, vasopressors

Pharmacologic: adrenergics


Adjunct to standard measures to improve: Blood pressure, Cardiac output, Urine output in treatment of shock unresponsive to fluid replacement.


Small doses (0.5–3 mcg/kg/min) stimulate dopaminergic receptors, producing renal vasodilation. Larger doses (2–10 mcg/kg/min) stimulate dopaminergic and beta1-adrenergic receptors, producing cardiac stimulation and renal vasodilation. Doses >10 mcg/kg/min stimulate alpha-adrenergic receptors and may cause renal vasoconstriction. Therapeutic Effects: Increased cardiac output, increased blood pressure, and improved renal blood flow.

Adverse Reactions/Side Effects

CNS: headache. EENT: mydriasis (high dose). Resp: dyspnea. CV: arrhythmias, hypotension, angina, ECG change, palpitations, vasoconstriction. GI: nausea, vomiting. Derm: piloerection. Local: irritation at IV site.


Examination and Evaluation

  • Assess blood pressure (BP) and compare to normal values (See Appendix F). Report whether drug therapy is successful in normalizing BP in patients with shock and other cardiac conditions.

  • Assess heart rate, ECG, and heart sounds, especially during exercise (See Appendices G, H). Report any rhythm disturbances or symptoms of increased arrhythmias, including palpitations, chest discomfort, shortness of breath, fainting, and fatigue/weakness.

  • Monitor urine output whenever possible, and report decreased urine output, cloudy urine, or sudden weight gain due to fluid retention.

  • Monitor signs of peripheral vasoconstriction, such as extreme coldness in the hands and feet, cyanosis, and muscle cramping. Notify physician of severe or prolonged signs of vasoconstriction.

  • Monitor IV injection site for pain, swelling, and irritation. Report prolonged or excessive injection-site reactions to the physician.


  • Because of an increased risk of cardiac arrhythmias and compromised cardiac output, use caution during aerobic exercise and endurance conditioning. Terminate exercise if patient exhibits untoward symptoms (chest pain, shortness of breath, etc.) or displays other criteria for exercise termination (see Appendix L).

Patient/Client-Related Instruction

  • Instruct patient or family/caregivers to report other troublesome side effects such as severe or prolonged headache, dilated pupils (mydriasis), or GI problems (nausea, vomiting).


Absorption: Administered IV only, resulting in complete bioavailability.

Distribution: Widely distributed but does not cross the blood-brain barrier.

Metabolism and Excretion: Metabolized in liver, kidneys, and plasma.

Half-life: 2 min.

|Download (.pdf)|Print

TIME/ACTION PROFILE (hemodynamic effects)

IV 1–2 min up to 10 min <10 min


Contraindicated in: Tachyarrhythmias; Pheochromocytoma; Hypersensitivity to bisulfites (some products).

Use Cautiously in: Hypovolemia; Myocardial infarction; Occlusive vascular diseases; Geri: Older patients may be ...

Pop-up div Successfully Displayed

This div only appears when the trigger link is hovered over. Otherwise it is hidden from view.