Norepinephrine: Uses & Sides Effects

Norepinephrine is similar to adrenaline. It
works by constricting (narrowing) the blood vessels and increasing blood
pressure and blood glucose (sugar) levels.

Norepinephrine is used to treat
life-threatening low blood pressure (hypotension) that can occur with certain
medical conditions or surgical procedures. This medication is often used during
CPR (cardio-pulmonary resuscitation).

How is norepinephrine given?

Norepinephrine is injected into a vein
through an IV. You will receive this injection in a hospital or emergency

Norepinephrine is usually given for as long
as needed until your body responds to the medication. Some people must receive
norepinephrine for several days.

Your blood pressure, breathing, and other
vital signs will be watched closely while you are receiving norepinephrine.

Tell your caregivers if you feel any pain,
irritation, cold feeling, or other discomfort of your skin or veins where the
medicine is injected. Norepinephrine can damage the skin or tissues around the
injection site if the medication accidentally leaks out of the vein.


If possible before you receive
norepinephrine, tell your doctor if you have:

  • high blood pressure (hypertension);
  • diabetes;
  • coronary artery disease;
  • circulation problems;
  • varicose veins;
  • overactive thyroid;
  • asthma or a sulfite allergy.

In an emergency situation it may not be
possible to tell your caregivers about your health conditions. Make sure any
doctor caring for you afterward knows you have received norepinephrine.

It is not known whether norepinephrine will
harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant.

It is not known whether norepinephrine
passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. Tell your doctor if
you are breast-feeding a baby.

In an emergency situation it may not be
possible before you are treated with norepinephrine to tell your caregivers if
you are pregnant or breast feeding. Make sure any doctor caring for your
pregnancy or your baby knows you have received this medication.


Get emergency medical help if you have any
of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of
your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Tell your caregivers at once if you have a
serious side effect such as:

  • pain, burning, irritation, discoloration, or skin changes where the
    injection is given;
  • sudden numbness, weakness, or cold feeling anywhere in your body;
  • slow or uneven heart rate;
  • blue lips or fingernails, mottled skin;
  • little or no urinating;
  • trouble breathing;
  • problems with vision, speech, or balance;
  • dangerously high blood pressure-severe headache, blurred vision,
    buzzing in your ears, anxiety, confusion, chest pain, shortness of breath,
    uneven heartbeats, seizure.


If possible before you receive
norepinephrine, tell your doctor about all other medicines you use, especially:

  • blood pressure medications;
  • an MAO inhibitor–isocarboxazid, linezolid, methylene blue
    injection, phenelzine, rasagiline, selegiline, tranylcypromine, and others;
  • an antidepressant–amitriptyline, amoxapine, clomipramine,
    desipramine, doxepin, imipramine, nortriptyline, protriptyline, trimipramine.

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

Keyword: norepinephrine.

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