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Generic name: milrinone [ MIL-ri-none ]
Brand names: Primacor I.V., Primacor
Dosage form: intravenous solution (1 mg/mL; 200 mcg/mL-D5%)
Drug class: Inotropic agents

Medically reviewed by on Apr 3, 2023. Written by Cerner Multum.

What is milrinone?

Milrinone is a vasodilator that is used as a short-term treatment for life-threatening heart failure.

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

Milrinone side effects

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

Tell your caregivers at once if you have:

  • chest pain;

  • a light-headed feeling, like you might pass out; or

  • low potassium level--leg cramps, constipation, irregular heartbeats, fluttering in your chest, increased thirst or urination, numbness or tingling, muscle weakness or limp feeling.

Common side effects of milrinone may include:

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.


In an emergency, you may not be able to tell caregivers about your health conditions. Make sure any doctor caring for you afterward knows you received milrinone.

Before taking this medicine

You should not be treated with milrinone if you are allergic to it.

If possible before you receive milrinone, tell your doctor if you have ever had:

  • a heart attack;

  • a heart valve disorder;

  • heart rhythm problems; or

  • low levels of potassium in your blood.

Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

In an emergency, you may not be able to tell caregivers if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Make sure any doctor caring for your pregnancy or your baby knows you received this medicine.

How is milrinone given?

Milrinone is given as an infusion into a vein, usually around-the-clock for up to 48 hours. A healthcare provider will give you this injection.

Your heart rate and blood pressure will be constantly monitored. Your kidney function and electrolytes may also need to be checked with blood tests.

Milrinone dosing information

Usual Adult Dose for Congestive Heart Failure:

Loading dose: 50 mcg/kg IV over 10 minutes.
Maintenance infusion: 0.375 to 0.75 mcg/kg/min.

Usual Pediatric Dose for Congestive Heart Failure:

less than 1 month:
Hemodynamic support: Full term neonates: Loading dose: 50 to 75 mcg/kg IV administered over 15 minutes followed by a continuous infusion of 0.5 mcg/kg/minute; titrate to effect; range: 0.25 to 0.75 mcg/kg/minute has been used by several centers. One report used a loading dose of 50 mcg/kg IV administered over 15 minutes, followed by a continuous infusion of 0.5 mcg/kg/minute for 30 minutes in 10 neonates (3 to 27 days old, median age: 5 days) with low cardiac output after cardiac surgery; results showed improved hemodynamic parameters and milrinone was well tolerated.
Prevention of postoperative low cardiac output syndrome (CHD corrective surgery): Full term neonates: Loading dose: 75 mcg/kg IV administered over 60 minutes followed by a continuous IV infusion of 0.75 mcg/kg/minute for 35 hours was used in a randomized, placebo controlled trial of 227 patients (age: 2 days to 6.9 years, median: 3 months) and showed 64% relative risk reduction for development of low cardiac output syndrome compared to placebo; a lower milrinone dose used in the study did not show a statistically significant relative risk reduction compared to placebo for the same endpoint.

1 month and older:
Loading dose: 50 mcg/kg IV over 15 minutes.
Maintenance infusion: 0.25-1 mcg/kg/min.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Since milrinone is given by a healthcare professional, you are not likely to miss a dose.

What happens if I overdose?

Since milrinone is given in a medical setting, you will be watched closely to make sure you do not receive too much of milrinone. Your caregivers will quickly treat you if you have overdose symptoms.

What should I avoid after receiving milrinone?

Follow your doctor's instructions about any restrictions on food, beverages, or activity.

What other drugs will affect milrinone?

Other drugs may affect milrinone, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Tell your doctor about all your current medicines and any medicine you start or stop using.

Further information

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.

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.