Nov 21, 2016
What you need to know about atropine, the ACLS drug used to treat bradycardia.
Atropine is the most common drug to treat symptomatic bradycardia. The bradycardia algorithm lists three drugs capable of treating this particular ACLS case: atropine, epinephrine, and dopamine. However, atropine is the first-line treatment option, while the other two should only be considered if atropine is ineffective.
Atropine is classified as an anticholinergic drug. While it can help treat a patient where an AV nodal block is present, type II and third-degree AV block may not respond to atropine.
The correct dosing for atropine is 0.5 mg IV and should be repeated every 3-5 minutes as necessary, without exceeding the maximum dosage of 3 mg.
- Atropine should be used with caution when myocardial ischemia and hypoxia are present, as it increases myocardial oxygen demand and can make matters worse.
- Doses less than 0.5 mg may result in paradoxical bradycardia
- Avoid using atropine in hypothermic bradycardia
For a brief review of all the ACLS medications you should be familiar with, check out this short video. It acts as a great visual reference that will help you study more efficiently and effectively. If you are interested in obtaining your ACLS Recertification online, click the button below that corresponds to your required course in order to learn more!