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CNS Drug Rev. 2006 Fall-Winter;12(3-4):236-49.

A new look at the respiratory stimulant doxapram.

Author information

1
Department of Anesthesia and Perioperative Care, University of California at San Francisco, San Francisco, California 94143, USA. yosts@anesthesia.ucsf.edu

Abstract

A number of life-threatening clinical disorders may be amenable to treatment with a drug that can stimulate respiratory drive. These include acute respiratory failure secondary to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, post-anesthetic respiratory depression, and apnea of prematurity. Doxapram has been available for over forty years for the treatment of these conditions and it has a low side effect profile compared to other available agents. Generally though, the use of doxapram has been limited to these clinical niches involving patients in the intensive care, post-anesthesia care and neonatal intensive care units. Recent basic science studies have made considerable progress in understanding the molecular mechanism of doxapram's respiratory stimulant action. Although it is unlikely that doxapram will undergo a clinical renaissance based on this new understanding, it represents a significant advance in our knowledge of the control of breathing.

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