About your treatment
Your doctor has ordered dobutamine to improve your heart function. The drug will be added to an intravenous fluid that will drip through a needle or catheter placed in your vein over 12 hours, usually every other day.
Dobutamine is used to help your heart pump better by strengthening the heart muscle. Dobutamine also improves blood flow and relieves symptoms of heart failure. This medication is sometimes prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
Your health care provider (doctor, nurse, or pharmacist) may measure the effectiveness and side effects of your treatment using laboratory tests and physical examinations. It is important to keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. The length of treatment depends on how you respond to the medication.
Before administering dobutamine,
- tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to dobutamine or any other drugs.
- tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications you are taking, especially antidepressants, beta blockers (atenolol, carteolol, esmolol, labetalol, metoprolol, nadolol, propranolol, sotalol, and timolol), bretylium, guanethidine, and vitamins.
- tell your doctor if you have or have ever had heart valve disease or high blood pressure.
- tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. If you become pregnant while taking dobutamine, call your doctor immediately.
Administering your medication
Before you administer dobutamine, look at the solution closely. It should be clear and free of floating material. Gently squeeze the bag or observe the solution container to make sure there are no leaks. Do not use the solution if it is discolored, if it contains particles, or if the bag or container leaks. Use a new solution, but show the damaged one to your health care provider.
It is important that you use your medication exactly as directed. Do not stop your therapy on your own for any reason. Do not change your dosing schedule without talking to your health care provider. Your health care provider may tell you to stop your infusion if you have a mechanical problem (such as a blockage in the tubing, needle, or catheter); if you have to stop an infusion, call your health care provider immediately so your therapy can continue.
Dobutamine may cause side effects. Tell your health care provider if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
- upset stomach
- tingling sensations
- leg cramps
If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your health care provider immediately:
- irregular heartbeat
- increases in blood pressure and heart rate
- chest pain
- shortness of breath
- swelling of the lower legs and ankles
- increasing fatigue
- lightheadedness, dizziness, or faintness
- skin rash
If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online [at http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch] or by phone [1-800-332-1088].
Storing your medication
- Your health care provider probably will give you several days supply of dobutamine at a time. You may be told to store it in a cool, dry area or in the refrigerator.
- If you refrigerate your dose, take your next dose from the refrigerator 1 hour before using it; place it in a clean, dry area to allow it to warm to room temperature.
Store your medication only as directed. Make sure you understand what you need to store your medication properly.
Keep your supplies in a clean, dry place when you are not using them, and keep all medications and supplies out of reach of children. Your health care provider will tell you how to throw away used needles, syringes, tubing, and containers to avoid accidental injury.
In case of emergency/overdose
In case of overdose, call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. If the victim has collapsed or is not breathing, call local emergency services at 911.
Signs of infection
If you are receiving dobutamine in your vein or under your skin, you need to know the symptoms of a catheter-related infection (an infection where the needle enters your vein or skin). If you experience any of these effects near your intravenous catheter, tell your health care provider as soon as possible:
- Dobutrex® Solution¶
¶ These branded products are no longer on the market and only generic alternatives are available.