Dobutamine: ten years later

Pharmacotherapy. 1989;9(4):245-59. doi: 10.1002/j.1875-9114.1989.tb04133.x.


Dobutamine is a commonly used positive inotrope for the short-term management of heart failure. It is commercially available as a 50:50 mixture of two isomers with unique effects on alpha- and beta adrenergic receptors. In dosages of 2-15 micrograms/kg/minute, dobutamine has been shown to increase cardiac output (mainly through stroke volume), reduce systemic vascular resistance, lower central venous and pulmonary artery wedge pressures, improve renal blood flow, and relieve signs and symptoms of congestive heart failure. At higher dosages it can increase heart rate and induce arrhythmias. Recent evidence indicates that effects of dobutamine last long after the drug has been eliminated from the plasma, and some work has been done on ambulatory use of this agent. Dobutamine has been used successfully in several circumstances, such as after cardiac surgery, in patients with myocardial infarction, and in various shock states. An understanding of the pathophysiology of the underlying disorder is important in deciding which catecholamine to use. With this in mind, monotherapy or combination therapy with inodilators such as dobutamine, or inopressors like dopamine will follow logically.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cardiac Output, Low / drug therapy*
  • Cardiac Output, Low / etiology
  • Cardiac Output, Low / physiopathology
  • Cardiac Surgical Procedures / adverse effects
  • Dobutamine / administration & dosage
  • Dobutamine / pharmacology*
  • Dobutamine / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Myocardial Infarction / complications
  • Shock / complications
  • Shock / etiology


  • Dobutamine