Respiratory stimulants

The drugs used (analytics) are central nervous system stimulants and the therapeutic dose is close to that which causes convulsions. Their use must therefore be carefully monitored.

Doxapram increases the rate and depth of respiration by stimulating the medullary respiratory centres both directly and reflexly through the carotid body. A continuous i.v. infusion of 1.5-4.0 mg/min is given according to the patient's response. Coughing and laryngospasm that develop after its use may represent a return of normal protective responses. Adverse effects include restlessness, twitching, itching, vomiting, flushing and cardiac arrhythmias, and in addition it causes patients to experience a feeling of perineal warmth; in high doses it raises blood pressure.

Aminophylline (a complex of theophylline and EDTA) in addition to its other actions (see also p. 558) is a respiratory stimulant and may be infused slowly i.v. (500 mg in 6 h).

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