Which medications in the drug class Vasopressors are used in the treatment of Necrotizing Enterocolitis?

Updated: Dec 27, 2017
  • Author: Shelley C Springer, JD, MD, MSc, MBA, FAAP; Chief Editor: Muhammad Aslam, MD  more...
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Babies with serious illness may progress to shock and require pharmacologic blood pressure support.


Dopamine is an adrenergic agonist that increases blood pressure by stimulating alpha-adrenergic vascular receptors, resulting in vasoconstriction. It has some inotropic effects via beta1 cardiac receptors and, at low doses, increases glomerular filtration via renal dopaminergic receptors. Dopamine is useful for babies with hypotension who are not responsive to volume repletion. It may be mixed in dextrose so that glucose delivery is not compromised.


Dobutamine is an adrenergic agonist with specific effects on beta1-receptors in the heart, resulting in increased contractility. It has minimal alpha-adrenergic activity. Dobutamine can be used for babies in shock, usually adjunctively with dopamine, to increase cardiac output. It may be mixed in dextrose so that glucose delivery is not compromised.

Epinephrine (Adrenalin)

Epinephrine is a nonspecific adrenergic agonist that stimulates alpha receptors, beta1 receptors, and beta2 receptors. It can be used to support blood pressure in severe hypotension that is refractory to other treatment modalities.


Naloxone is an opioid receptor blocker. Experimental evidence suggests that it may increase blood pressure for babies in shock, perhaps by blocking the binding of endogenously produced endorphins released in sepsis, particularly from gram-negative organisms.

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