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Doxapram (Dopram-V)

By: Dr. Dawn Ruben

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  • Doxapram is a drug that stimulates the central nervous system. An important aspect of the drug is its effect on the brain's respiratory system.
  • Doxapram affects breathing by directly stimulating the brain's breathing center.
  • Even though in certain situations doxapram can temporarily increase breathing rates and increase the amount of air inhaled, this does not result in increased oxygen in the blood. Doxapram also increases the work necessary to breathe, thus consuming any additional oxygen and producing additional carbon dioxide.
  • The effects of doxapram, if any are to occur, are usually seen within 2 minutes of administration.
  • Doxapram should not be used as a substitute for cardiopulmonary resuscitation and artificial respiration. If used in CPR, it should only be used as an adjunct to standard treatment.
  • Doxapram is a prescription drug and can only be obtained from a veterinarian or by prescription from a veterinarian.

    Brand Names or Other Names

  • This drug is registered for use in animals only.
  • Human formulations: Dopram (Robins)
  • Veterinary formulations: Dopram-V (Fort Dodge)

    Use of Doxapram

  • Doxapram is used to stimulate breathing during and after anesthesia or to speed awakening after anesthesia.
  • For newborns, doxapram is used to initiate or stimulate breathing following difficult births and cesarean sections.

    Precaution and Side Effects

  • While generally safe and effective when prescribed by a veterinarian, doxapram can cause side effects in some animals.
  • Doxapram should not be used in animals with known hypersensitivity or allergy to the drug.
  • Doxapram should not be used in animals with a history of seizures, head trauma or heart failure.
  • This drug should also be avoided in animals with severely high blood pressure, asthma, heart rhythm irregularities, airway obstructions or hyperthyroidism.
  • Doxapram may interact with other medications. Consult with your veterinarian to determine if other drugs your pet is receiving could interact with doxapram. Such drugs include muscle relaxants and some anesthetics.
  • Side effects associated with doxapram include high blood pressure, heart rhythm irregularities, seizures or hyperventilation.

    How Doxapram is Supplied

  • Doxapram is available in 20 mg/ml injectable concentration in 20 ml vials.

    Dosing Information

  • Medication should never be administered without first consulting your veterinarian.
  • To stimulate breathing following anesthesia, doxapram is dosed at 0.5 to 2.5 mg per pound (1 to 5 mg/kg) intravenous.
  • To stimulate breathing in newborns, doxapram is dosed at 1 to 2 drops under the tongue per baby or 0.1 ml intravenous in the umbilical vein.
  • The duration of administration depends on the condition being treated, response to the medication and the development of any adverse effects.

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