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Generic name: vasopressin [ VAY-soe-PRES-in ]
Brand names: Vasostrict, Pitressin
Dosage form: intravenous solution (0.4 units/mL; 1 unit/mL-D5%; 20 units/100 mL-D5%; 20 units/mL)
Drug class: Antidiuretic hormones

Medically reviewed by on Sep 5, 2023. Written by Cerner Multum.

What is vasopressin?

Vasopressin is used to raise blood pressure in adults with life-threatening low blood pressure when other treatments have not worked.

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

Vasopressin 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 medical caregivers at once if you have:

  • severe numbness or tingling in your hands or feet;

  • blue lips or fingernails;

  • unusual skin changes (sores, tightness, discoloration, pain), especially in your lower legs or feet;

  • chest pain or tightness, trouble breathing;

  • slow or uneven heart rate, slow breathing;

  • unusual bleeding;

  • severe stomach pain, nausea, vomiting;

  • kidney problems--swelling, urinating less, feeling tired or short of breath; or

  • low blood sodium--headache, confusion, problems with thinking or memory, weakness, feeling unsteady.

Common side effects of vasopressin may include:

  • irregular heartbeats;

  • low blood sodium level;

  • low blood pressure, dizziness, spinning sensation;

  • stomach pain, gas, nausea, vomiting; or

  • pale skin, numbness in your fingers or toes.

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.


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

If you receive vasopressin during an emergency, make sure any follow-up doctor knows you received vasopressin.

Before taking this medicine

You should not receive this medicine if you are allergic to vasopressin or chlorobutanol.

If possible during an emergency, tell your medical caregivers if you've ever had:

If you receive vasopressin during an emergency, make sure any follow-up doctor knows you received this medicine.

Vasopressin can cause premature labor contractions. If possible during an emergency, tell your medical caregivers if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

How is vasopressin given?

Vasopressin is injected into a vein. A healthcare provider will give you this injection.

You will need frequent medical tests. Your heart rate and blood pressure will be constantly monitored.

What happens if I miss a dose?

In an emergency medical setting, you are not likely to miss a dose.

What happens if I overdose?

In a medical setting an overdose would be treated quickly.

What should I avoid while receiving vasopressin?

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

What other drugs will affect vasopressin?

Many drugs can affect vasopressin. This includes prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible interactions are listed here. Tell your doctor about all other medicines you use.

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.