Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Acronyms, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.


a catecholamine that is the neurotransmitter of most sympathetic postganglionic neurons and also of certain tracts in the central nervous system. It is also a neurohormone stored in the chromaffin granules of the adrenal medulla and released in response to sympathetic stimulation, primarily in response to hypotension. It produces vasoconstriction, an increase in heart rate, and elevation of blood pressure. It is administered intravenously in the form of the bitartrate salt as a vasopressor to restore blood pressure in certain cases of acute hypotension and to improve cardiac function during decompensation associated with congestive heart failure or cardiovascular surgery. Called also noradrenaline.
Miller-Keane Encyclopedia and Dictionary of Medicine, Nursing, and Allied Health, Seventh Edition. © 2003 by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier, Inc. All rights reserved.

norepinephrine bitartrate

Levophed, Noradrenaline (UK)

Pharmacologic class: Sympathomimetic

Therapeutic class: Alpha- and beta-adrenergic agonist, cardiac stimulant, vasopressor

Pregnancy risk category C

FDA Box Warning

If extravasation occurs, infiltrate area promptly with 10 to 15 ml of saline solution containing 5 to 10 mg phentolamine to prevent sloughing and necrosis. Use syringe with fine hypodermic needle, and infiltrate solution liberally throughout area. Give phentolamine as soon as possible; its sympathetic blockade causes immediate local hyperemic changes if area is infiltrated within 12 hours.


Stimulates beta1 and alpha1 receptors in sympathetic nervous system, causing vasoconstriction, increased blood pressure, enhanced contractility, and decreased heart rate


Injection: 1 mg/ml

Indications and dosages

Severe hypotension

Adults: 8 to 12 mcg/minute I.V.; then titrate based on blood pressure response. For maintenance, 2 to 4 mcg/minute.


• Concurrent cyclopropane or halo-thane anesthesia

• Hypotension caused by blood volume deficit (except in emergencies until blood volume replacement is completed), profound hypoxia or hypercarbia

• Mesenteric or peripheral vascular thrombosis


Use cautiously in:

• sulfite sensitivity (some products), especially in asthmatic patients

• arterial embolism, cardiac disease, peripheral vascular disease, hypertension, hyperthyroidism

• patients receiving MAO inhibitors or tricyclic antidepressants concurrently

• elderly patients

• pregnant or breastfeeding patients

• children (safety and efficacy not established).


• Mix with dextrose 5% in water or dextrose 5% in normal saline solution.

• Inspect solution to make sure it's clear and colorless. Don't infuse if it's brown or pink.

• Administer through infusion pump. Titrate infusion rate to achieve and maintain low-normal systolic blood pressure (80 to 100 mm Hg).

• Continue infusion until adequate blood pressure and tissue perfusion persist without drug therapy.

• Gradually titrate dosage downward.

• To avoid extravasation, administer only into large vein (antecubital) or through central line. Don't use femoral vein in patients who are elderly or have occlusive vascular disorders.

To prevent delivery of large drug concentrations, avoid line stasis and flushing.

Adverse reactions

CNS: headache, anxiety

CV: bradycardia, severe hypertension, arrhythmias

Respiratory: respiratory difficulty

Skin: irritation with extravasation, necrosis

Other: ischemic injury


Drug-drug. Alpha-adrenergic blockers: antagonism of norepinephrine effects Antihistamines, ergot alkaloids, guanethidine, MAO inhibitors, oxytocin, tricyclic antidepressants: severe hypertension Bretylium, inhalation anesthetics: increased risk of arrhythmias

Patient monitoring

Check blood pressure every 2 minutes until desired pressure is achieved. Recheck every 5 minutes for duration of infusion.

• Maintain continuous ECG monitoring and blood pressure monitoring.

Be aware that headache may signal extreme hypertension and overdose.

• Monitor infusion site for extravasation.

Watch for signs and symptoms of peripheral vascular insufficiency (decreased capillary refill, pale to cyanotic to black skin color).

Never leave patient unattended during infusion.

Patient teaching

• When patient is alert, explain why he's receiving drug.

• Reassure patient he'll be monitored continuously until he's stable.

McGraw-Hill Nurse's Drug Handbook, 7th Ed. Copyright © 2013 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved

nor·ep·i·neph·rine (NE),

A catecholamine hormone the natural form of which is d, although the l form has some activity; the base is considered to be the postganglionic adrenergic mediator, acting on α and β receptors; it is stored in chromaffin granules in the adrenal medulla in much smaller amounts than epinephrine and secreted in response to hypotension and physical stress; in contrast to epinephrine it has little effect on bronchial smooth muscle, metabolic processes, and cardiac output, but has strong vasoconstrictive effects and is used pharmacologically as a vasopressor, primarily as the bitartrate salt.
Farlex Partner Medical Dictionary © Farlex 2012


The American Heritage® Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2007, 2004 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.


Norepinephrine, see there.
McGraw-Hill Concise Dictionary of Modern Medicine. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


A catecholamine hormone, acting on α- and β-receptors; it is stored in chromaffin granules in the medulla of suprarenal gland in much smaller amounts than epinephrine and secreted in response to hypotension and physical stress; used pharmacologically as a vasopressor.
Synonym(s): noradrenaline.
Medical Dictionary for the Health Professions and Nursing © Farlex 2012


Norepinephrine, an important adrenergic NEUROTRANSMITTER released by POSTGANGLIONIC adrenergic nerve endings and secreted by the MEDULLA of the adrenal gland. Noradrenaline acts chiefly on alpha-adrenergic receptors and causes constriction of arteries and a rise in the blood pressure. This is a SYMPATHOMIMETIC action. One of the catecholamines. A brand name is Levophed.
Collins Dictionary of Medicine © Robert M. Youngson 2004, 2005


a transmitter substance produced at the nerve endings of ADRENERGIC nerves giving effects very similar to those of ADRENALINE and having a closely related structure. After transmission it is inactivated by monoaminoxidase in order to prevent a build-up. The action of noradrenaline can be inhibited by various drugs, such as mescaline, which produce hallucinatory effects.
Collins Dictionary of Biology, 3rd ed. © W. G. Hale, V. A. Saunders, J. P. Margham 2005

noradrenaline (norepinephrine)

A neurohumoral transmitter for most postganglionic sympathetic fibres. It is produced with adrenaline (epinephrine) in the adrenal medulla. It is a powerful excitator of α-adrenergic receptors. See adrenaline (epinephrine); adrenergic receptors; mydriatic; neurotransmitter.
Millodot: Dictionary of Optometry and Visual Science, 7th edition. © 2009 Butterworth-Heinemann
References in periodicals archive ?
Double-blind quantitative determination of noradrenaline, serotonin, GABA, and glycine concentrations in cerebrospinal fluid was performed using commercially available sandwich enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) kits, according to manufacturer's protocol.
Surprisingly, the selective inhibitor of iNOS L-NIL promoted similar effects in relation to the nonselective inhibitor of NOS, increasing the contraction to noradrenaline in thoracic aorta of control and obese mice (Figure 2(e); Table 4).
Noradrenaline has also been shown to decrease the uptake of triglyceride-rich lipoprotein into white adipose tissue via the inhibition of the rate limiting enzyme lipoprotein lipase (LPL), while beta-adrenergic activation in skeletal muscle stimulates LPL activity and promotes lipid uptake.
The application of 1 [micro]M noradrenaline to isolated rat aortic rings at physiological electrolyte concentrations produces contractions which are characterized by an initial transient (phasic) component followed by a sustained (tonic) component (Bohr, 1963; Hudgins and Weiss, 1968).
Dopamine and noradrenaline produced concentration-dependent contractions of epididymal segments of the isolated rat vas deferens preparation are shown in Figures 2(a) and 2(b).
The Effect of Noradrenaline on the Tight Junction Integrity of T84 Cells.
But the hearing was told it was standard practice to administer 1mg of noradrenaline an hour until the affects of sedation had been combated.
Monoamine neurotransmitters are a family of complex chemicals that include 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT, or serotonin), noradrenaline, dopamine, histamine and melatonin.
Dexmedetomidine is marketed as a colourless isotonic, water-soluble solution with a pH of 4.5 to 7 (2) and has been shown to decrease plasma noradrenaline levels (3).
It has been reported that walking in forest environments significantly enhances human immune function, reduces the levels of stress hormones such as urinary adrenaline and noradrenaline, and increases the score for vigor and decreased the scores for anxiety, depression, fatigue, confusion and anger on the Profile of Mood States (POMS) test.
More studies are needed to know exactly how Ritalin, which boosts levels of dopamine and another chemical called noradrenaline in the brain, influences risky behavior.

Full browser ?