Midodrine in the ICU

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Why should we care about using Midodrine in the ICU?

Use of midodrine can shorten the duration of vasopressor use in our patients during the recovery phase of distributive shock, helping us transfer patients out of the ICU faster.


Is this use of midodrine FDA-approved? 

Nope, it’s off-label. Midodrine is only FDA-approved for symptomatic orthostatic hypotension (1). 


How does it work?

Desglymidodrine, the active metabolite of midodrine, stimulates the alpha-1 adrenergic receptors of the arteriolar and venous capacitance vessels causing vasoconstriction (1). Some call it “oral phenylephrine.”



The FDA-recommended dose for orthostatic hypotension is 10mg orally 3 times daily (1). For the purposes of weaning IV vasopressors, doses found in the literature range from 5 to 40mg orally every 8 hours (2,3,4).


Side effects to actually worry about:

Sure, we all know about piloerection, urinary retention and others, but what about compensatory reflex bradycardia? This is shown to have an incidence of up to 9-15% in the literature (4). 


How much money can we save our hospitals?

Word on the street is that a hospital bed costs $3000-$4000 a day (5). A 10mg tab of midodrine costs up to $10. Simple math will reflect big time savings, even if this only works on several patients at your shop per week. 


How long until more robust data is published?

It shouldn’t be long. Three randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled trials are in the works as per clinicaltrials.gov. The MIDAS trial out should be out relatively soon (5).


  1. https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2017/019815s010lbl.pdf

  2. Levine AR, Meyer MJ, Bittner EA, et al. Oral midodrine treatment accelerates the liberation of intensive care unit patients from intravenous vasopressor infusions. J Crit Care. 2013;28(5):756–762. doi:10.1016/j.jcrc.2013.05.021

  3. Whitson MR, Mo E, Nabi T, et al. Feasibility, Utility, and Safety of Midodrine During Recovery Phase From Septic Shock. Chest. 2016;149(6):1380–1383. doi:10.1016/j.chest.2016.02.657

  4. Rizvi MS, Trivedi V, Nasim F, et al. Trends in Use of Midodrine in the ICU: A Single-Center Retrospective Case Series. Crit Care Med. 2018;46(7):e628–e633. doi:10.1097/CCM.0000000000003121

  5. Anstey MH, Wibrow B, Thevathasan T, et al. Midodrine as adjunctive support for treatment of refractory hypotension in the intensive care unit: a multicenter, randomized, placebo controlled trial (the MIDAS trial). BMC Anesthesiol. 2017;17(1):47.


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