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January 23, 1978

Prolonged Doxapram Infusion in Obesity-Hypoventilation Syndrome

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Medicine, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee.

JAMA. 1978;239(4):340-341. doi:10.1001/jama.1978.03280310072026

Doxapram hydrochloride, a potent, centrally acting respiratory stimulant, is used to treat acute respiratory insufficiency caused by anesthetic administration,1 drug overdose,2 and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.3 We used it to treat acute respiratory failure due to the obesity-hypoventilation syndrome because the patient's condition did not improve with conventional therapy.

Report of a Case  A 39-year-old woman came to the hospital because she felt depressed. She also had dyspnea after walking ten to 12 steps. Her son reported that she slept approximately 12 hours per day and was difficult to arouse. She reported a weight gain of approximately 45 kg over the past year, had had pedal edema for the past four months, and there was recent onset of periorbital edema.The patient had been overweight since her teens, when she weighed 81 kg. Because of emotional stress precipitated by family problems, she began to eat excessively.Both