Systematic (IUPAC) name
1-ethyl-4- (2-morpholin-4-ylethyl)- 3,3-diphenyl-pyrrolidin-2-one
Clinical data
Legal status
  • (Prescription only)
Routes of
CAS Registry Number  Y
ATC code R07
PubChem CID:
DrugBank  Y
ChemSpider  Y
Chemical data
Formula C24H30N2O2
Molecular mass 378.507 g/mol

Doxapram hydrochloride (marketed as Dopram, Stimulex or Respiram) is a respiratory stimulant. Administered intravenously, doxapram stimulates an increase in tidal volume, and respiratory rate.


  • Mechanism of action 1
  • Appearance 2
  • Uses 3
  • Side effects 4
  • See also 5
  • References 6

Mechanism of action

photograph of a vial of doxapram
A vial of doxapram

Doxapram stimulates chemoreceptors in the carotid bodies of the carotid arteries, which in turn, stimulates the respiratory centre in the brain stem.


Doxapram is a white to off-white, odorless, crystalline powder that is stable in light and air. It is soluble in water, sparingly soluble in alcohol and practically insoluble in ether. Injectable products have a pH from 3.5-5. Benzyl alcohol or chlorobutanol is added as a preservative agent in the commercially available injections.


Doxapram is used in intensive care settings to stimulate the respiratory rate in patients with respiratory failure. It may be useful for treating respiratory depression in patients who have taken excessive doses of drugs such as buprenorphine which may fail to respond adequately to treatment with naloxone.[1]

It is equally effective as pethidine in suppressing shivering after surgery.[2]

Side effects

Side effects include high blood pressure, panic attacks, rapid heart rate, tremor, sweating and vomiting. Convulsions have been reported. Its use is relatively contraindicated in people with coronary heart disease, epilepsy, and high blood pressure. It is also contraindicated in newborns and small children, mainly due to the presence of benzyl alcohol, which is included as a preservative.

See also


  1. ^ Buprenorphine Drug Data Sheet
  2. ^ Singh, P; Dimitriou, V; Mahajan, RP; Crossley, AW (1993). "Double-blind comparison between doxapram and pethidine in the treatment of postanaesthetic shivering". British journal of anaesthesia 71 (5): 685–8.