What is Isoprenaline?

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  • Written By: C.B. Fox
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 06 November 2019
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Isoprenaline is a medication that increases blood flow and heart rate while it opens up small breathing pathways in the lungs. The medication is usually administered through injection, intravenous (IV) tube or inhaled through the nose. It is often prescribed in emergency situations to patients suffering from cardiac arrest or a severe asthma attack.

Patients brought in to a hospital for cardiac arrest or cardiogenic shock may be given isoprenaline. Under life threatening conditions, this medication, given through an IV injection may save a patient by increasing heart rate and allowing blood to flow more easily through the body. Isoprenaline may also be used in the treatment of asthma. One of the effects of the medication is that it dilates the bronchial tubes, or small airways in the lungs. When used to treat asthma, isoprenaline is inhaled directly into the nostrils, where it travels through the nasal cavity and into the lungs to quickly open constricted bronchial passageways.

There are a number of side effects associated with the use of isoprenaline. These side effects may include heart palpitations, anxiety, fatigue, flushing, sweating, shaking, headache, and chest pain. Though these symptoms can be psychological disturbing, they are rarely life threatening. Severe side effects may include severe headache, dizziness and irregular heartbeat.


The medication should not be used if a patient is known to have an allergy to one of the ingredients or if they have a condition that causes an irregular heartbeat. Patients who have taken monoamine-oxidase inhibitor antidepressants (MAOIs) within the previous 14 days should also avoid isoprenaline. Patients who are taking the drug for the first time are cautioned not to drive or operate machinery because it is known to cause dizziness.

Patients with kidney, liver, or heart disease or those with diabetes may have adverse reactions when using isoprenaline. It is important to discuss existing medical conditions with a doctor before taking isoprenaline. In many cases, a doctor may cautiously prescribe the medication and then watch carefully for potential adverse reactions.

Studies suggest that using isoprenaline during a pregnancy may harm an unborn baby. Despite this risk, if the life of the mother is at stake, a doctor may determine that the benefits of treatment with the medication outweigh the potential risks and may choose to administer it to a pregnant patient. Women who are breastfeeding should notify their doctors before taking the medicine, as it is unknown whether isoprenaline can be passed to an infant through breast milk.


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