Stimulants are drugs or medicines that increase your heart rate, breathing rate, and brain function. Some stimulants affect only a specific organ, such as the heart, lungs, brain, or nervous system.
Epinephrine is a stimulant. It is given during cardiac arrest to stimulate the heart and help restore the heartbeat.
Other times, stimulants can cause unwanted side effects. For example, pseudoephedrine found in some cold medicines can increase the heart rate.
Taber's Medical Dictionary Online website.
Last reviewed on: 2/2/2023
Reviewed by: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Clinical Professor, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David C. Dugdale, MD, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.