Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Heart Disease Health Center

Font Size

Adenosine for Fast Heart Rates


Generic Name Brand Name
adenosine Adenocard, Adenoscan

How It Works

Adenosine reduces the normal flow of the electrical impulses through the atrioventricular (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.

How Well It Works

Adenosine can slow or stop a rapid heart rate if the problem is caused by an abnormal electrical pathway in the heart.1 Adenosine will not work if the fast heart rate has a different cause. Adenosine may only slow your heart rate for a short time if you also have atrial fibrillation or atrial flutter.

Side Effects

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

Possible side effects include:

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.

Complete the new medication information form (PDF)(What is a PDF document?) to help you understand this medication.


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

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerRakesh K. Pai, MD, FACC - Cardiology, Electrophysiology
Specialist Medical ReviewerJohn M. Miller, MD, FACC - Cardiology, Electrophysiology

Current as ofMarch 12, 2014

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: March 12, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

Today on WebMD

x-ray of human heart
A visual guide.
atrial fibrillation
Symptoms and causes.
heart rate graph
10 things to never do.
heart rate
Get the facts.
empty football helmet
red wine
eating blueberries
Simple Steps to Lower Cholesterol
Inside A Heart Attack
Omega 3 Sources
Salt Shockers
lowering blood pressure