Drug Information

Adenosine for Fast Heart Rates

Adenosine for Fast Heart Rates


Generic Name Brand Name
adenosine Adenocard

How It Works

Adenosine reduces the normal flow of the electrical impulses through theatrioventricular (AV) node  of the heart.

Why It Is Used

Adenosine is used in the hospital to try to restore a normal heart rate and rhythm when you are having an episode of supraventricular tachycardia .

Adenosine is always given by a doctor while you are hooked up to a heart monitor. It is given through a vein (intravenous, or IV). Adenosine works very quickly and lasts only a short period of time (less than 1 minute).

Adenosine may be used to diagnose tachycardia or to help find the location of the fast heart rate.

Side Effects

Adenosine is given in a hospital. Your doctor will watch you closely for any side effects.

Possible side effects include:

  • Skin flushing in the face.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Headache.
  • Nausea.
  • Chest pain or pressure.

See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug Reference is not available in all systems.)

What To Think About

Adenosine is a quick-acting, short-term therapy intended to convert the fast heart rhythm of a supraventricular tachycardia (SVT) back to a normal rate.




  1. Drugs for cardiac arrhythmias (2007). Treatment Guidelines From The Medical Letter, 5(58): 51–58.

Last Revised: October 15, 2012

Author: Healthwise Staff

Medical Review: Rakesh K. Pai, MD, FACC – Cardiology, Electrophysiology & Andrew Swan, MD, CCFP, FCFP – Family Medicine & John M. Miller, MD, FACC – Cardiology, Electrophysiology