neostigmine

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neostigmine

(nē'ōstĭg`mēn, –mĭn), drug used to mimic the effects of stimulation of the parasympathetic nervous systemnervous system,
network of specialized tissue that controls actions and reactions of the body and its adjustment to the environment. Virtually all members of the animal kingdom have at least a rudimentary nervous system.
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. Along with several other drugs that have a similar mode of action, it inhibits the action of the enzyme cholinesterase, which destroys the substance acetylcholineacetylcholine
, a small organic molecule liberated at nerve endings as a neurotransmitter. It is particularly important in the stimulation of muscle tissue. The transmission of an impulse to the end of the nerve causes it to release neurotransmitter molecules onto the surface of
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 at nerve endings. Because neostigmine increases the effective concentration of acetylcholine, it causes such body changes as contraction of the pupils, increased activity of intestinal muscles, and increased secretion by the salivary and sweat glands. It will cause menstrual bleeding in a nonpregnant woman whose menstrual period is delayed, and it is therefore used as a pregnancy test. Neostigmine and related drugs are also used to diagnose and control the neuromuscular disease myasthenia gravis. Because neostigmine causes decreased fluid pressure in the eye it is used to treat certain types of glaucoma. The drug atropineatropine
, alkaloid drug derived from belladonna and other plants of the family Solanaceae (nightshade family). Available either as the tincture or extract of belladonna, or as the pure substance atropine sulfate, it is a depressant of the parasympathetic nervous system.
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 is sometimes given along with neostigmine to prevent the latter's side effects. Ephedrineephedrine
, drug derived from plants of the genus Ephedra (see Pinophyta), most commonly used to prevent mild or moderate attacks of bronchial asthma. Unlike epinephrine, to which it is chemically similar, ephedrine is slow to take effect and of mild potency and long
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 often enhances the action of neostigmine.

neostigmine

[¦nē·ō¦stig‚mēn]
(pharmacology)
A quaternary ammonium cation that is used as the bromide (C12H19BrN20O2) and methylsulfate (C13H22N2O6S) salts; has anticholinesterase activity.