a. Analeptic agents are drugs that produce two primary effects. One, they stimulate the nerve cells of the body's respiratory center when it has been depressed by some condition (for example, illness or drugs). Two, they stimulate nerve cell centers responsible for keeping a person conscious.
b. Analeptic agents are not commonly used today because of the stimulation they produce in doses sufficient to produce their analeptic effect. These agents can produce such undesirable effects as convulsions, respiratory problems, or vomiting.
Doxapram (Dopram®) is an analeptic agent used for postanesthetic arousal and drug-induced central nervous system depression. It has the ability to arouse the patient after surgery without reducing the analgesia produced by opiates (for example, morphine). Thus, it is used to hasten recovery time. The faster the patient becomes aware of his or her surroundings, the faster nursing personnel are relieved of intensive care responsibilities. Doxapram is also used to stimulate respiration and hasten arousal in patients who have mild to moderate respiratory and central nervous system depression because of overdose. The most common side effects associated with this drug are headaches, nausea, and vomiting. The usual dose of the drug is 0.5 to 2.0 milligrams per kilogram of body weight. It is supplied as an injectable containing 20 milligrams per milliliter of solution.
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