Sodium nitroprusside (Intravenous)
Generic Name: nitroprusside (SOE-dee-um nye-troe-PRUS-ide)
Sodium nitroprusside may cause precipitous decreases in blood pressure and may lead to irreversible ischemic injuries or death. Continuous blood pressure monitoring is required. Sodium nitroprusside metabolism produces dose-related cyanide and may be lethal. Limit infusions at the maximum rate (10 mcg/kg/min) to the shortest duration possible as patient's ability to buffer cyanide will be exceeded in less than 1 hour at this rate .Intravenous route(Solution)
Sodium nitroprusside is not suitable for direct injection; the reconstituted solution must be further diluted in sterile 5% dextrose injection before infusion. Sodium nitroprusside can cause precipitous decreases in blood pressure; monitor blood pressure continuously while patient is on therapy. Nitroprusside can cause cyanide toxicity which can be lethal. Infusion at the maximum dose rate (10 mcg/kg/min) should never last more than 10 minutes. Monitor acid-base balance and venous oxygen concentration while on therapy; these tests may indicate cyanide toxicity .
Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on Aug 18, 2020.
Commonly used brand name(s)
In the U.S.
- Nipride RTU
Available Dosage Forms:
Therapeutic Class: Peripheral Vasodilator
Uses for sodium nitroprusside
Sodium nitroprusside injection is used for lowering of blood pressure immediately in adults and children with high blood pressure. Sodium nitroprusside is also used to reduce bleeding during surgery, and treats acute heart failure. Sodium nitroprusside is a direct-acting vasodilator.
Sodium nitroprusside is to be given only by or under the direct supervision of your doctor.
Before using sodium nitroprusside
In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of taking the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For sodium nitroprusside, the following should be considered:
Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to sodium nitroprusside or any other medicines. Also tell your health care professional if you have any other types of allergies, such as to foods, dyes, preservatives, or animals. For non-prescription products, read the label or package ingredients carefully.
Appropriate studies performed to date have not demonstrated pediatric-specific problems that would limit the usefulness of sodium nitroprusside injection in children.
No information is available on the relationship of age to the effects of sodium nitroprusside injection in geriatric patients. However, elderly patients are more likely to have low blood pressure, which may require caution in patients receiving sodium nitroprusside.
There are no adequate studies in women for determining infant risk when using this medication during breastfeeding. Weigh the potential benefits against the potential risks before taking this medication while breastfeeding.
Interactions with medicines
Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. When you are receiving sodium nitroprusside, it is especially important that your healthcare professional know if you are taking any of the medicines listed below. The following interactions have been selected on the basis of their potential significance and are not necessarily all-inclusive.
Using sodium nitroprusside with any of the following medicines is not recommended. Your doctor may decide not to treat you with this medication or change some of the other medicines you take.
Interactions with food/tobacco/alcohol
Certain medicines should not be used at or around the time of eating food or eating certain types of food since interactions may occur. Using alcohol or tobacco with certain medicines may also cause interactions to occur. Discuss with your healthcare professional the use of your medicine with food, alcohol, or tobacco.
Other medical problems
The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of sodium nitroprusside. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:
- Anemia or
- Hypovolemia (low blood volume)—Should be corrected first before using sodium nitroprusside.
- Anuria (trouble urinating) or
- Liver disease—Use with caution. May increase risk for cyanide toxicity.
- Circulation problems or
- Heart disease (eg, arteriovenous shunting, coarctation of the aorta) or
- Heart failure, acute caused by reduced peripheral vascular resistance or
- Leber's optic atrophy, congenital or
- Tobacco amblyopia—Should not be used in patients with these conditions.
- Head injury or
- Methemoglobinemia—Use with caution. May make these conditions worse.
Proper use of sodium nitroprusside
A nurse or other trained health professional will give you or your child sodium nitroprusside in a hospital. Sodium nitroprusside is given through a needle placed in one of your veins.
Precautions while using sodium nitroprusside
Your doctor will check your progress closely while you or your child are receiving sodium nitroprusside. This will allow your doctor to see if the medicine is working properly and to decide if you should continue to receive it. Blood tests may be needed to check for unwanted effects.
Using sodium nitroprusside while you are pregnant can harm your unborn baby. Use an effective form of birth control to keep from getting pregnant. If you think you have become pregnant while using sodium nitroprusside, tell your doctor right away.
Do not use sodium nitroprusside together with riociguat (Adempas®), sildenafil (Viagra®), tadalafil (Cialis®), or vardenafil (Levitra®). Using these medicines together may cause unwanted effects.
Sodium nitroprusside could lower your blood pressure too much and cause you to feel dizzy or lightheaded. Stand or sit up slowly if you are dizzy.
Tell your doctor right away if you or your child have bluish-colored lips, fingernails, or palms, dark urine, trouble breathing, unusual bleeding, bruising, or weakness while using sodium nitroprusside.
Sodium nitroprusside side effects
Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.
Check with your doctor or nurse immediately if any of the following side effects occur:
- Chest pain or discomfort
- fast, pounding, or irregular heartbeat or pulse
- lightheadedness, dizziness, or fainting
- slow heartbeat
- trouble breathing
- unusual tiredness
Incidence not known
- Bluish-colored lips, fingernails, or palms
- blurred vision
- dark urine
- difficulty with breathing
- pale skin
- rapid heart rate
- sore throat
- unusual bleeding or bruising
Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:
- Abdominal or stomach pain
- depressed mood
- dry skin and hair
- feeling cold or warmth
- hair loss
- hoarseness or husky voice
- increased sweating
- irritation at the infusion site
- muscle cramps, stiffness, or twitching
- redness of the face, neck, arms, and occasionally, upper chest
- weight gain
Other side effects not listed may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your healthcare professional.
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
More about nitroprusside
- Side Effects
- During Pregnancy or Breastfeeding
- Dosage Information
- Drug Interactions
- Pricing & Coupons
- En Español
- Drug class: agents for hypertensive emergencies
Related treatment guides
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.