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All about: Pitressin

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Generic Name: vasopressin (vay soe PRES in)
Brand Names: Pitressin

What is Pitressin (vasopressin)?

Vasopressin is a man-made form of a hormone called "anti-diuretic hormone" that is normally secreted by the pituitary gland. In the body, vasopressin acts on the kidneys and blood vessels.

Vasopressin helps prevent the loss of water from the body by reducing urine output and helping the kidneys reabsorb water in the body. Vasopressin also raises blood pressure by constricting (narrowing) blood vessels.

Vasopressin is used to treat diabetes insipidus, which is caused by a lack of this naturally occurring pituitary hormone in the body. Vasopressin is also used to treat or prevent certain conditions of the stomach after surgery or during abdominal x-rays.

Vasopressin may also be used for purposes other than those listed in this medication guide.

What is the most important information I should know about Pitressin (vasopressin)?

You should not receive this medication if you have a chronic kidney condition such as Bright's disease.

Before receiving vasopressin, tell your doctor if you are allergic to any drugs, or if you have asthma, kidney disease, congestive heart failure, hardened arteries, migraine headaches, or seizures.

Some people receiving vasopressin have had an immediate reaction to the medication. Tell your caregiver right away if you feel weak, nauseated, light-headed, sweaty, or have a fast heartbeat, chest tightness, or weak breathing just after receiving vasopressin.

Vasopressin can cause temporary side effects such as nausea, stomach pain, or "blanching" of your skin (such as pale spots when you press on the skin). Drinking 1 or 2 glasses of water each time you receive an injection may help ease these side effects.

Follow your doctor's instructions about the type and amount of liquids you should drink during your treatment with vasopressin. In some cases, drinking too much liquid can be as unsafe as not drinking enough.

What should I discuss with my health care provider before receiving Pitressin (vasopressin)?

You should not receive this medication if you have a chronic kidney condition such as Bright's disease.

Before receiving vasopressin, tell your doctor if you are allergic to any drugs, or if you have:

  • asthma;

  • kidney disease;

  • congestive heart failure;

  • coronary artery disease, hardening of the arteries;

  • circulation problems;

  • migraine headaches; or

  • epilepsy or other seizure disorder.

If you have any of these conditions, you may not be able to receive vasopressin, or you may need dosage adjustments or special tests during treatment.

FDA pregnancy category C. This medication may be harmful to an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant during treatment. Vasopressin may pass into breast milk and could harm a nursing baby. Do not receive this medication without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

How is vasopressin given?

Vasopressin is given as an injection under the skin or into a muscle. You will receive this injection in a clinic or hospital setting. Vasopressin is usually given as needed every 3 to 4 hours. The time interval between doses will depend on how your body responds to the medication.

To treat diabetes insipidus, vasopressin is sometimes given into the nose by nasal spray or medicine dropper, or insertion of a cotton pad that has been soaked in vasopressin.

When used for abdominal x-ray, vasopressin injections are usually given at 2 hours before and 30 minutes before your x-ray. Your doctor may also recommend you receive an enema before you receive your first dose of vasopressin.

Vasopressin can cause temporary side effects such as nausea, stomach pain, or "blanching" of your skin (such as pale spots when you press on the skin). Drinking 1 or 2 glasses of water each time you receive an injection may help ease these side effects.

Follow your doctor's instructions about the type and amount of liquids you should drink during your treatment with vasopressin. In some cases, drinking too much liquid can be as unsafe as not drinking enough.

To be sure this medication is not causing harmful effects, your blood will need to be tested on a regular basis. You heart function may also need to be tested.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Since vasopressin is usually given as needed in a hospital setting, it is not likely that you will miss a dose.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention if you think you have received too much of this medicine.

Symptoms of a vasopressin overdose may include severe headache, drowsiness, weakness, pale skin, nausea, and stomach pain.

What should I avoid while receiving Pitressin (vasopressin)?

Avoid drinking alcohol during your treatment with vasopressin. Alcohol can make vasopressin less effective.

Pitressin (vasopressin) side effects

Some people receiving vasopressin have had an immediate reaction to the medication. Tell your caregiver right away if you feel weak, nauseated, light-headed, sweaty, or have a fast heartbeat, chest tightness, or weak breathing just after receiving vasopressin. Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat. Tell your caregivers at once if you have any of these serious side effects:
  • slow or uneven heart rate;

  • gasping or trouble breathing;

  • chest pain or heavy feeling, pain spreading to the arm or shoulder, nausea, sweating, general ill feeling;

  • tingling or loss of feeling in your hands or feet;

  • skin changes or discoloration;

  • swelling, rapid weight gain;

  • feeling light-headed, fainting; or

  • severe nausea or stomach pain.

Less serious side effects may be more likely to occur, such as:

  • mild stomach pain, bloating, or gas;

  • dizziness; or

  • throbbing headache.

Side effects other than those listed here may also occur. Talk to your doctor about any side effect that seems unusual or that is especially bothersome.

What other drugs will affect Pitressin (vasopressin)?

Before receiving vasopressin, tell your doctor if you are using any of the following drugs:

  • carbamazepine (Carbatrol, Tegretol);

  • chlorpropamide (Diabinese);

  • clofibrate (Atromid-S);

  • fludrocortisone (Florinef Acetate);

  • demeclocycline (Declomycin);

  • lithium (Eskalith, Lithobid);

  • heparin (HepLock);

  • a muscle relaxer; or

  • an antidepressant such as amitriptyline (Elavil, Etrafon), amoxapine (Ascendin), clomipramine (Anafranil), desipramine (Norpramin), doxepin (Sinequan), imipramine (Janimine, Tofranil), nortriptyline (Pamelor), protriptyline (Vivactil), or trimipramine (Surmontil).

If you are using any of these drugs, you may not be able to receive vasopressin, or you may need dosage adjustments or special tests during treatment.

There may be other drugs not listed that can affect vasopressin. Tell your doctor about all the prescription and over-the-counter medications you use. This includes vitamins, minerals, herbal products, and drugs prescribed by other doctors. Do not start using a new medication without telling your doctor.

Where can I get more information?

  • Your doctor or pharmacist has information about vasopressin written for health professionals that you may read.

  • Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ('Multum') is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum's drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.
Copyright 1996-2006 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 1.02. Revision Date: 08/15/2007 2:27:18 PM.

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