reserpine

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reserpine

(rĕsûr`pēn), alkaloid isolated from the root of the snakeroot plant (Rauwolfia serpentina), a small evergreen climbing shrub of the dogbane family native to the Indian subcontinent. Known in India as Sarpaganda, it was used for centuries to treat insanity as well as physical illnesses such as fevers and snakebites. After its isolation in 1952 it was used to lower high blood pressureblood pressure,
force exerted by the blood upon the walls of the arteries. The pressure in the arteries originates in the pumping action of the heart, and pressure waves can be felt at the wrist and at other points where arteries lie near the surface of the body (see pulse).
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, but its property of producing severe depression as a side effect also made it useful in psychiatry as a tranquilizer in the control of agitated psychotic patients. It has largely been replaced in psychiatric use by the phenothiazinephenothiazine
, any one of a class of drugs used to control mental disorders. Phenothiazines, along with other antipsychotic, or neuroleptic, drugs are used for such disorders as schizophrenia, paranoia, mania, psychosis resulting from mental deficiency, some forms of senility,
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 tranquilizers, although it is still used as an experimental tool in the study of psychosis. Reserpine causes many toxic side effects including nightmares, Parkinsonism (see Parkinson's diseaseParkinson's disease
or Parkinsonism,
degenerative brain disorder first described by the English surgeon James Parkinson in 1817. When there is no known cause, the disease usually appears after age 40 and is referred to as Parkinson's disease; a number of genes have
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), and gastrointestinal disturbances.

Reserpine

 

a medicinal preparation that exerts a tranquiliz-ing effect on the central nervous system and decreases arterial pressure; an alkaloid found in Rauwolfia. Reserpine is used in tablet form to treat a number of diseases, including hypertension.

reserpine

[rə′sər·pēn]
(pharmacology)
C33H40N2O9 An alkaloid extracted from certain species of Rauwolfia and used as a sedative and antihypertensive.