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vasopressin

Pronunciation

Generic Name: vasopressin (VAY soe PRES in)
Brand Name: Pitressin

What is vasopressin?

Vasopressin is a man-made form of a hormone called "anti-diuretic hormone" that is normally secreted by the pituitary gland. Vasopressin acts on the kidneys and blood vessels.

Vasopressin helps prevent loss of water from the body by reducing urine output and helping the kidneys reabsorb water into the body. Vasopressin also raises blood pressure by narrowing blood vessels.

Vasopressin is used to treat diabetes insipidus, which is caused by a lack of this naturally occurring pituitary hormone in the body. Vasopressin is also used to treat or prevent certain conditions of the stomach after surgery or during abdominal x-rays.

Vasopressin may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

What is the most important information I should know about vasopressin?

Follow your doctor's instructions about the amount of liquids you should drink during your treatment with vasopressin. In some cases, drinking too much liquid can be as unsafe as not drinking enough.

What should I discuss with my health care provider before receiving vasopressin?

You should not receive vasopressin if you are allergic to it.

To make sure vasopressin is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:

  • coronary artery disease (hardened arteries);

  • heart disease;

  • kidney disease;

  • asthma;

  • migraine headaches; or

  • epilepsy or other seizure disorder.

FDA pregnancy category C. It is not known whether vasopressin will harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant while using this medication.

It is not known whether vasopressin passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. Tell your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

How is vasopressin given?

Vasopressin is injected into a muscle or under the skin. A healthcare provider will give you this injection.

Vasopressin is usually given as needed every 3 to 4 hours. The time interval between doses will depend on how your body responds to the medication.

To treat diabetes insipidus, vasopressin is sometimes given into the nose by nasal spray or medicine dropper, or insertion of a cotton pad that has been soaked in vasopressin.

When used for abdominal x-ray, vasopressin injections are usually given at 2 hours before and 30 minutes before your x-ray. Your doctor may also recommend you receive an enema before you receive your first dose of vasopressin.

Vasopressin can cause temporary side effects such as nausea, stomach pain, or "blanching" of your skin (such as pale spots when you press on the skin).

Drinking 1 or 2 glasses of water each time you receive an injection may help ease these side effects.

While using vasopressin, you may need frequent blood tests. Your heart function may also need to be checked using an electrocardiograph or ECG (sometimes called an EKG).

Follow your doctor's instructions about the amount of liquids you should drink during your treatment with vasopressin. In some cases, drinking too much liquid can be as unsafe as not drinking enough.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Because you will receive vasopressin in a medical setting, you are not likely to miss a dose.

What happens if I overdose?

Since this medication is given by a healthcare professional in a medical setting, an overdose is unlikely to occur.

What should I avoid while receiving vasopressin?

Avoid drinking alcohol during your treatment with vasopressin. Alcohol can make vasopressin less effective.

Vasopressin side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Tell your caregiver right away if you have:

  • severe or pounding headache;

  • severe drowsiness, slow breathing, feeling very weak;

  • little or no urinating;

  • numbness or tingling around your mouth;

  • chest pain or tight feeling, trouble breathing;

  • skin changes or discoloration; or

  • pain or loss of feeling anywhere in your body.

Common side effects may include:

  • pale skin;

  • mild stomach pain, gas, nausea, vomiting;

  • dizziness, spinning sensation;

  • sweating; or

  • mild rash.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

See also: Side effects (in more detail)

Vasopressin dosing information

Usual Adult Dose for Asystole:

40 units intravenously once, followed by 20 mL of normal saline. If spontaneous circulation is not restored within 3 minutes, another 40 units may be given intravenously. If spontaneous circulation is still not restored, 1 mg of epinephrine maybe given intravenously. All doses should be followed with 20 mL of normal saline.

The use of vasopressin to treat asystole is not approved by the FDA.

Usual Adult Dose for Ventricular Fibrillation:

40 units intravenously once, followed by 20 mL of normal saline. If spontaneous circulation is not restored within 3 minutes, another 40 units may be given intravenously. If spontaneous circulation is still not restored, 1 mg of epinephrine maybe given intravenously. All doses should be followed with 20 mL of normal saline.

The use of vasopressin to treat asystole is not approved by the FDA.

Usual Adult Dose for Ventricular Tachycardia:

40 units intravenously once, followed by 20 mL of normal saline. If spontaneous circulation is not restored within 3 minutes, another 40 units may be given intravenously. If spontaneous circulation is still not restored, 1 mg of epinephrine maybe given intravenously. All doses should be followed with 20 mL of normal saline.

The use of vasopressin to treat asystole is not approved by the FDA.

Usual Adult Dose for Diabetes Insipidus:

5 units to 10 units intramuscularly or subcutaneously 2 to 4 times a day.

Continuous IV infusion: 0.0005 units/kg/hour; double dosage as needed every 30 minutes to a maximum of 0.01 units/kg/hour.

Vasopressin can also be administered intranasally on cotton pledgets, by nasal spray, or by dropper. When vasopressin is administered intranasally by spray or on pledgets, the dosage must be individually titrated for each patient.

Usual Adult Dose for Postoperative Gas Pains:

5 units intramuscularly once.

This dose may be doubled and repeated at three to four hour intervals as needed to prevent or relieve postoperative abdominal distention.

These recommendations apply also to distention complicating pneumonia or other acute toxemias.

Usual Adult Dose for Abdominal Distension Prior to Abdominal X-ray:

10 units intramuscularly once 2 hours prior to X-ray and once again 30 minutes prior to X-ray.

Usual Adult Dose for Gastrointestinal Hemorrhage:

0.2 to 0.4 units/min by continuous intravenous infusion. Then titrate dose as needed (maximum dose: 0.8 units/minute); if bleeding stops, continue at same dose for 12 hours, then taper off over 24 to 48 hours.

Usual Pediatric Dose for Diabetes Insipidus:

2.5 units to 10 units intramuscularly once.

This dose may be repeated 2 to 3 times a day as needed.

Alternatively, a vasopressin infusion at 0.0005 units/kg/hour may be administered and titrated to restrict urine output and maintain a more concentrated urine.

Usual Pediatric Dose for Esophageal Varices with Bleeding:

Continuous IV infusion:
Initial: 0.002-0.005 units/kg/minute; titrate dose as needed; maximum dose: 0.01 units/kg/minute.

Alternative: Initial: 0.1 units/minute; increase by 0.05 units/minute to a maximum of:
less than 5 years: 0.2 units/minute
5 to 12 years: 0.3 units/minute
over 12 years: 0.4 units/minute
If bleeding stops for 12 hours, then taper off over 24 to 48 hours.

Usual Pediatric Dose for Asystole:

Limited data available: 0.4 units/kg IV after traditional resuscitation methods and at least two doses of epinephrine have been administered; Note: Due to insufficient evidence, no formal recommendations for or against the routine use of vasopressin during pediatric cardiac arrest are provided.

Usual Pediatric Dose for Ventricular Fibrillation:

Limited data available: 0.4 units/kg IV after traditional resuscitation methods and at least two doses of epinephrine have been administered; Note: Due to insufficient evidence, no formal recommendations for or against the routine use of vasopressin during pediatric cardiac arrest are provided.

Usual Pediatric Dose for Ventricular Tachycardia:

Limited data available: 0.4 units/kg IV after traditional resuscitation methods and at least two doses of epinephrine have been administered; Note: Due to insufficient evidence, no formal recommendations for or against the routine use of vasopressin during pediatric cardiac arrest are provided.

What other drugs will affect vasopressin?

Other drugs may interact with vasopressin, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Tell each of your health care providers about all medicines you use now and any medicine you start or stop using.

Where can I get more information?

  • Your doctor or pharmacist can provide more information about vasopressin>
  • Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.
  • Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ('Multum') is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum's drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.

Copyright 1996-2012 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 2.01. Revision Date: 2014-02-07, 9:14:10 AM.

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