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Wednesday 01 October 2003

Changes in heart rate associated with nebulized racemic albuterol and levalbuterol in intensive care patients.

By: Lam S, Chen J.

Am J Health Syst Pharm 2003 Oct 1;60(19):1971-5

The effects of equipotent doses of racemic albuterol and levalbuterol on heart rate (HR) in intensive care patients with and without baseline tachycardia were studied. Patients were included if they were hemodynamically stable and required bronchodilator therapy every four hours; patients were excluded if they were maintained on a beta-blocker. Four hours after the most recent bronchodilator treatment, each patient was randomized to receive at least two consecutive doses of albuterol 2.5 mg or levalbuterol 1.25 mg four hours apart via nebulization. HR was recorded at the end of the second dose and 5, 10, 15, 30, 60, 90, 120, 180, and 240 minutes after treatment. Twenty intensive care patients, including 10 with baseline tachycardia and 10 without baseline tachycardia, were enrolled. In patients with baseline tachycardia, the mean largest HR increase was 1.4 beats/min (1.3%) with albuterol and 2.0 beats/min (2.1%) with levalbuterol (both increases were not significant). In patients without baseline tachycardia, the mean largest HR increase was 4.4 beats/min (6.7%) with albuterol (p = 0.04) and 3.6 beats/min (5.0%) with levalbuterol (p = 0.03). Short-term use of nebulized albuterol and levalbuterol was associated with similar changes in HR in intensive care patients with or without baseline tachycardia.

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