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J Appl Toxicol. 2007 Mar-Apr;27(2):116-21.

The pharmacological properties of anisodamine.

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Physician Assistant Branch, Department of Medical Sciences, AMEDD Center and School, Ft. Sam Houston, Texas 78234, USA.


Anisodamine is a naturally occurring atropine derivative that has been isolated, synthesized and characterized by scientists in the People's Republic of China. Like atropine and scopolamine, anisodamine is a non-specific cholinergic antagonist exhibiting the usual spectrum of pharmacological effects of this drug class. It appears to be less potent and less toxic than atropine and displays less CNS toxicity than scopolamine. Anisodamine has been shown to interact with and disrupt liposome structure which may reflect its effects on cellular membranes. Experimental evidence implicates anisodamine as an anti-oxidant that may protect against free radical-induced cellular damage. Its cardiovascular properties include depression of cardiac conduction and the ability to protect against arrhythmia induced by various agents. Anisodamine is a relatively weak alpha(1) adrenergic antagonist which may explain its vasodilating activity. Its anti-thrombotic activity may be a result of inhibition of thromboxane synthesis. The T(1/2) of anisodamine in humans is about 2-3 h. Numerous therapeutic uses of anisodamine have been proposed including treatment of septic shock, various circulatory disorders, organophosphorus (OP) poisoning, migraine, gastric ulcers, gastrointestinal colic, acute glomerular nephritis, eclampsia, respiratory diseases, rheumatoid arthritis, obstructive jaundice, opiate addiction, snake bite and radiation damage protection. The primary therapeutic use of anisodamine has been for the treatment of septic shock. Several mechanisms have been proposed to explain its beneficial effect though most mechanisms are based upon the assumption that anisodamine ultimately acts by an improvement of blood flow in the microcirculation. Preliminary studies suggest another important therapeutic use of anisodamine is for the treatment of OP poisoning. Additional research is needed to delineate further the clinical usefulness of anisodamine relative to other anti-muscarinic drugs such as atropine and scopolamine.

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