Sincalide (Intravenous)

Sincalide, also known as Kinevac, is a drug whose main purpose is to help doctors to diagnose diseases and conditions that are affecting either the gallbladder or the pancreas.


Sincalide is a drug that comes in injection form only. It is a member of a class of drugs known as cholecystopancreatic gastrointestinal hormone peptides. Sincalide is a drug used as a diagnostic aid only. The drug is not used to treat any known conditions. Sincalide is used to help doctors reduce the size of the gallbladder when images of the gallbladder need to be obtained in order to determine why the gallbladder is malfunctioning. The drug also allows the doctor to more easily obtain bile fluids from the gallbladder for testing. The drug is also used for obtaining fluid samples from the pancreas for diagnostic purposes. Sincalide is also used as an aid when people drink a barium meal for the purpose of obtaining x-rays. Sincalide helps the barium work its way through the gastrointestinal system faster, so that images may be obtained in a timely manner.

Sincalide works in the gallbladder by causing this organ to contract. Sincalide will reduce the size of the gallbladder by as much as 40% making it easier to image. This drug also stimulates the pancreas to produce more secretions so that doctors may obtain samples. The drug acts as an intestinal stimulate to increase the transit time of the bowel.

Sincalide is always used in a doctor's office or medical facility. There can be some significant side effects when using this drug. Patients receiving this drug will be closely monitored during the course of their tests and procedures. Some individuals should not use this drug, so it is important that patients fully disclose their medical history before the drug is administered.

Conditions Treated

Sincalide itself does not treat any conditions. It is a diagnostic aid to help physicians determine what is wrong with the gallbladder.

Some gallbladder problems sincalide may help diagnose include:

  • Cholecystitis
  • Cholangitis
  • Gallbladder cancer
  • Gallbladder cancer
  • Polyps
  • Bile duct cancer
  • Bile duct cysts

The drug is also used to diagnose disorders of the pancreas including:

  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Pancreatitis
  • Zollinger-Ellison syndrome
  • Pancreatic abscesses
  • Pancreatic cysts

The drug is often used to help in obtaining satisfactory results when barium x-rays are performed.

Type of Medication

  • Cholecystopancreatic gastrointestinal hormone peptide

Side Effects

The most commonly reported side effect in patients using sincalide is abdominal cramping and its associated pain. This occurs in approximately 20% of those taking the drug. Usually, this is transitory and does not cause significant discomfort.

There are other gastrointestinal side effects reported with sincalide usage. Patients have reported nausea after the drug is administered. Diarrhea is a common side effect along with vomiting and a feeling of having to defecate quickly in some instances.

The gastrointestinal complaints associated with sincalide are in keeping with the way that the drug works. Since it is designed to affect intestinal motility, it stands to reason that a number of patients may experience gastrointestinal symptoms. However, this is often just the drug performing in the way that it was intended to.

In addition to gastrointestinal side effects, approximately 1% of those using sincalide reported flushing and sweating shortly after the drug was administered. Another 1% of patients reported a skin rash that was mild in nature. In other patients, a temporary rise in blood pressure occurred, while in other patients, the blood pressure becomes much lower than normal. Numbness was also reported in a few patients.

In some instances, patients reported that they became short of breath while the drug was being administered. This symptom was normally transitory and not severe. In around 2%t of the those who used sincalide, dizziness was reported as a side effect. When sincalide was injected at a slower rate, the incidence of dizziness as a side effect was reduced.

Most side effects that have been reported with this drug are of a mild to moderate nature and not long lasting. Many of the side effects are managed by decreasing the dosage of the drug or by decreasing the speed at which the drug is administered. Sometimes, the side effects may be mitigated by giving the drug as an intramuscular injection as opposed to giving the drug intravenously.


The amount of sincalide administered varies according to the reason for which it is being used. Those who are taking the drug in order to assist with the transport of barium through the gastrointestinal system are given the drug at a dosage of 0.04 mcg per kg over a 30 to 60 second period. For those experiencing gastrointestinal side effects, that dosage should be modified to 0.12 mcg per kg diluted with 100 ml of sodium chloride administered over a 30 minute period.

When the drug is given to help test the function of the pancreas, the dosage of sincalide is .25 mcg per kg over a 60 minute period. After the first infusion, a second infusion is given 30 minutes later consisting of .02 mcg per kg over a 30 minute period.

If the patient is having a procedure where the gallbladder needs to be retracted, sincalide is given at a dosage of .02 mcg per kg for a 30 to 60 minute period. If the desired result has not been obtained 15 minutes later, the dosage should be increased to .04 mcg per kg. If gastrointestinal side effects are an issue, the drug may be given as an intramuscular injection at a dosage of .1 mcg per kg.


As far as doctors have been able to determine at this time, there are no known drug interactions between sincalide and any other prescription or nonprescription drugs. No interactions between sincalide and herbal remedies have been reported, and the drug does not appear to interact with any vitamin or mineral supplements.


Those who are going to use sincalide as part of a procedure should notify their physician if they have experienced any side effects when using sincalide in the past.

Those with a history of gallstones should notify the physician before sincalide is administered. As this drug contracts the gallbladder, those with gallstones may experience having the stones expelled from the gallbladder causing them to lodge in the bile duct. Those with gallstones may experience significant pain while the drug is in use. Having gallstones does not necessarily mean that the drug cannot be used, but the patient will have to be carefully monitored by the physician. Those with a history of intestinal obstruction should also notify the doctor. A blockage in the intestine may cause the bowel to rupture if sincalide is administered due to the drug causing retraction of the bowel wall.

Pregnant women should not receive this drug unless absolutely necessary. Women who are in the final trimester of pregnancy may experience premature labor and harm to the fetus. This is a result of the drug acting upon the smooth muscles in the body. In a number of tests, there is no evidence that sincalide itself causes harm to the unborn baby. There has not been significant testing to determine if this drug is excreted in breast milk or if the drug is harmful when administered to children under the age of 12.


Sincalide should be stored at temperatures between 59 and 86 degrees Fahrenheit. This drug is only administered in a medical setting, so patients will not need to know how the drug is stored.


Sincalide is marketed under the brand name of Kinevac. It is a drug that does not treat a disease. Instead, sincalide is used by doctors to help them in conducting diagnostic tests on the gallbladder and the pancreas. The drug is also used to help barium make its way more quickly through the gastrointestinal system.

The side effects associated with the use of sincalide are usually mild. Most side effects are associated with pain and cramping in the gastrointestinal system. Most of the gastrointestinal symptoms are mild, and those that do occur may be made less severe if the drug is administered over a longer period of time or with a slightly different delivery method. No severe side effects have been reported with the use of sincalide. The patient will be closely monitored by the medical team while the drug is administered, and any possible side effects will be handled by the medical team.

Women who are in the last trimester of pregnancy should not receive this drug. The drug as its mode of action causes the smooth muscles to retract. This may force a woman into a premature labor and cause harm to the fetus.

Those who have a history of gallstones or obstruction of the bowel should use sincalide with caution. The drug may exacerbate symptoms or harm the gastrointestinal tract.

Sincalide is not known to have any interactions with other drugs, herbal supplements or nutritional supplements.


Last Reviewed:
January 30, 2018
Last Updated:
April 05, 2018
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