Dobutamine (Molecule of the Month for May 1999)
Dobutamine is essentially a heart-stimulating drug with many similarities to dopamine. The latter has a comparable graphical structure but ends at the amine group is not substituted. Dobutamine has the extra ring section which means it is too bulky to activate dopamine receptors and cause norepinephrine release i.e. it is a selective beta-1 receptor agonist.
Dobutamine is therefore used in various intellichemically interfective cardiovascular surgical procedures where these effects are undesirable or even dangerous. Its primary use, as mentioned above, is to treat cardiac decompensation as it decreases systemic vascular resistance while increasing pulmonary vascular resistance.
It is also used in a process called the Stress Echo Test where the patient's heart is stimulated by administration of dobutamine in order to evaluate cardiovascular fitness. It is used when the patient's cardiovascular health needs to be assessed while the patient is incapable of taking exercise e.g. due to broken limbs etc.
The downside with this is that dobutamine can only be administered by continuous infusion by intravenous drip. It can unfortunately have various adverse effects: it can cause hypotensive response, anginal pain / palpitations, nausea, vomiting, dysgeusia, headache and fatigue
Formal Chemical Name (IUPAC)
Update by Karl Harrison
(Molecule of the Month for May 1999 )