Adenosine acts via A1 adenosine receptors in the SA and AV node, which when stimulated open K+ channels causing hyperpolarisation and a reduction in Ca2+ current, with subsequent blockade of AV nodal conduction.

Property Action
Class Naturally occurring purine nucleoside
Uses SVT
Presentation Colourless solution at
Route of Administration IV
Dosing 3mg/6mg/12mg in increasing doses
Metabolism Rapidly deaminated in plasma. t1/2 < 10s
Resp Bronchospasm, ↑ RR and VT
CVS ↓↓ AV nodal conduction, may cause AF/lutter
Toxic Effects Contraindicated in sick-sinus syndrome, 2nd/3rd degree AV block


Interaction Drug
Increased effect Dipyridamole
Decreased effect Methylxanthines, such as aminophylline and caffeine


  1. Peck TE, Hill SA. Pharmacology for Anaesthesia and Intensive Care. 4th Ed. Cambridge University Press. 2014.
Last updated 2021-09-19

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