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Isoproterenol (Isuprel®)

By: Dr. Nicholas Dodman

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  • Isoproterenol (also called isoprenaline) is a drug that traditionally has been used to treat certain heart problems, circulatory disorders, and bronchospasm.
  • Isoproterenol increases the heart rate, relaxes muscles in the airways and stomach, and dilates blood vessels. These actions make it easier for the heart to pump oxygen-rich blood throughout the body.
  • Isoproterenol is a prescription drug and can only be obtained from a veterinarian or by prescription from a veterinarian.
  • This drug is not approved for use in animals by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) but may be prescribed legally by veterinarians as an extra-label drug.

    Brand Names and Other Names

  • This drug is registered for use in humans only.
  • Human formulations: Isuprel® (Sanofi) and various generic preparations
  • Veterinary formulations: None

    Uses of Isoproterenol

  • Isoproterenol is used in the treatment of bronchospasm.
  • Isoproterenol is also used to treat some types of abnormal heart rhythm.
  • Occasionally, isoproterenol has been used to dilate airways in the treatment of acute feline allergic bronchitis (asthma).

    Precautions and Side Effects

  • While generally safe and effective when prescribed by a veterinarian, isoproterenol may cause side effects in some animals.
  • Isoproterenol should not be used in animals with known hypersensitivity or allergy to the drug.
  • The drug should be used with caution in diabetic patients or those diagnosed with hyperthyroidism.
  • Heart rate should be monitored carefully during and following administration of isoproterenol. The drug should not be administered when heart rate exceeds 120 beats per minute in dogs or more than 150 beats per minute in cats.
  • Isoproterenol may interact with other medications. Consult your veterinarian to determine if other drugs your pet is receiving could interact with isoproterenol. Such drugs include aminophylline, sodium bicarbonate, epinephrine, beta blockers, certain anesthetics, and tricyclic antidepressants.

    How Isoproterenol is Supplied

  • Isoproterenol is available as an injectable solution in 5 and 10 mL vials.

    Dosing Information

  • Medication should never be administered without first consulting your veterinarian.
  • Isoproterenol is only likely to be used in a veterinary or hospital setting.
  • For bronchoconstriction in dogs, isoproterenol is dosed at 0.1 to 0.2 mg per dog every 6 hours subcutaneously or intramuscularly.
  • For heart rhythm disorders in dogs, the drug is dosed at 0.01 to0.04 µ/kg/min by continuous rate intravenously, or 0.1 to 0.2 mg per dog subcutaneously or intramuscularly every 4 hours. It can also be administered at a dose of 0.4 mg in 250 ml of 5 percent dextrose in water (or normal saline) given intravenously slowly to effect.
  • For cats with asthma, isoproterenol is dosed at 0.2 mg in 100 ml of 5 percent dextrose in water (or normal saline) given intravenously slowly to effect or 0.004 to 0.006 mg per cat intramuscularly every 30 minutes.
  • 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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