DRUG NEWS: Study could transform out-of-hospital treatment

March 2004 
Volume 34  Number 3
Pages 30 - 30
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    A large European study indicates that when given to patients experiencing asystole outside a hospital, vasopressin is dramatically better at saving lives than epinephrine, the drug of choice under current guidelines. However, vasopressin and epinephrine were similarly effective when used to treat ventricular fibrillation and pulseless electrical activity (PEA).

    Researchers randomly assigned 1,186 adults experiencing out-of-hospital cardiac arrest to receive either vasopressin or epinephrine. Among patients with asystole, the rate of survival to hospital admission was significantly higher in patients receiving vasopressin than epinephrine (29% versus 20.3%). The rate of survival to hospital discharge was also higher (4.7% versus 1.5%).

    Rates of survival to hospital admission for patients experiencing ventricular fibrillation or PEA weren't significantly different. But among 732 patients who didn't respond ...

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