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Doxapram (Injection)

Treats breathing problems after surgery or drug overdose. Also used to treat breathing problems caused by certain types of lung disease.

What works?

Learn more about the effects of these drugs. The most reliable research is summed up for you in our featured article.

Brand names include
Dopram
Drug classes About this
Stimulant, Respiratory

What works? Research summarized

Evidence reviews

Doxapram versus methylxanthine for apnea in preterm infants

Doxapram and methylxanthine stimulate breathing in infants with apnea. Infant apnea is a pause in breathing of greater than 20 seconds. This can be harmful to the developing brain and cause dysfunction of the gastrointestinal tract or other organs. Drugs such as doxapram and methylxanthine are thought to stimulate breathing and are given to reduce apnea. The review of four small trials found that there was no large difference between the drugs in the short term. There is not enough evidence to exclude a small difference in benefit, long term effects or a difference in less common adverse effects. More research is needed into the long term and adverse effects of these drugs.

Doxapram for ventilatory failure due to exacerbations of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

Some people with advanced COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) experience respiratory failure whereby blood oxygen levels fall and high levels of the waste gas carbon dioxide accumulate and cause worsening symptoms. In extreme cases this disturbance in the blood can cause coma and death. When respiratory failure is severe giving oxygen alone is no longer enough because an increase in carbon dioxide levels can make the situation worse by depressing the drive to breathe. Doxapram is a drug that may stimulate breathing. The review of trials found that it may be able to help, but some newer treatments may be more effective. Doxapram may be worthwhile as a short‐term measure or when other treatments are not possible.

Doxapram treatment for apnea in preterm infants

Doxapram stimulates breathing. However, there is not enough evidence to know if it is helpful in premature infants with apnea. Infant apnea is a pause in breathing of greater than 20 seconds. This can be harmful to the developing brain and cause dysfunction of the gastrointestinal tract or other organs. Drugs such as doxapram are thought to stimulate breathing and are given to reduce apnea. The review of one small trial found that apnea might be reduced in the first few days after treatment, but there were not enough infants studied to know if this was a significant effect. There is no evidence from this trial on longer term effects or less common adverse effects. More research is needed on the effectiveness, potential harm and long‐term benefits or adverse effects of these drugs.

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Summaries for consumers

Doxapram versus methylxanthine for apnea in preterm infants

Doxapram and methylxanthine stimulate breathing in infants with apnea. Infant apnea is a pause in breathing of greater than 20 seconds. This can be harmful to the developing brain and cause dysfunction of the gastrointestinal tract or other organs. Drugs such as doxapram and methylxanthine are thought to stimulate breathing and are given to reduce apnea. The review of four small trials found that there was no large difference between the drugs in the short term. There is not enough evidence to exclude a small difference in benefit, long term effects or a difference in less common adverse effects. More research is needed into the long term and adverse effects of these drugs.

Doxapram for ventilatory failure due to exacerbations of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

Some people with advanced COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) experience respiratory failure whereby blood oxygen levels fall and high levels of the waste gas carbon dioxide accumulate and cause worsening symptoms. In extreme cases this disturbance in the blood can cause coma and death. When respiratory failure is severe giving oxygen alone is no longer enough because an increase in carbon dioxide levels can make the situation worse by depressing the drive to breathe. Doxapram is a drug that may stimulate breathing. The review of trials found that it may be able to help, but some newer treatments may be more effective. Doxapram may be worthwhile as a short‐term measure or when other treatments are not possible.

Doxapram treatment for apnea in preterm infants

Doxapram stimulates breathing. However, there is not enough evidence to know if it is helpful in premature infants with apnea. Infant apnea is a pause in breathing of greater than 20 seconds. This can be harmful to the developing brain and cause dysfunction of the gastrointestinal tract or other organs. Drugs such as doxapram are thought to stimulate breathing and are given to reduce apnea. The review of one small trial found that apnea might be reduced in the first few days after treatment, but there were not enough infants studied to know if this was a significant effect. There is no evidence from this trial on longer term effects or less common adverse effects. More research is needed on the effectiveness, potential harm and long‐term benefits or adverse effects of these drugs.

See all (4)

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