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Cas Lek Cesk. 2007;146(7):573-7.

[Milestones of cardiovascular therapy. IV. Reserpine].

[Article in Czech]


Reserpine, the purified alkaloid of Rauwolfia serpentina, was the first potent drug widely used in the long-term treatment of hypertension. Rauwolfia serpentina is a tropical woody plant of the Apocyanaceae family ingenious to Asia, South America and Africa. Extracts of its different parts and of plants resembling to rauwolfia were used in Hindu medicine for snakebite, insomnia, insanity and many other diseases and complaints. In Europe, Georg Eberhard Rumpf first reported about rauwolfia in his Herbarium amboinense, 1755. The first modern paper about therapeutic applications of the whole root of rauwolfia was published in 1931 in the Indian Medical Journal by Sen and Bose, and many papers dealing with botanics, chemistry and pharmacology then appeared in Indian and European periodics. In 1949, Vakil published the first report of the antihypertensive effect of rauwolfia in the British Heart Journal. In the Ciba laboratories in Basel, Switzerland, Mueller, Schlittler and Bein analysed various rauwolfia alkaloids and published in 1952 the first complete report about their chemistry and pharmacology. In the same year, reserpine was introduced under the name Serpasil in the treatment of hypertension, tachycardia and thyreotoxicosis. The combination of reserpine, dihydroergocristine and a diuretic is still on the market (Brinerdin, Crystepin). In psychiatry, reserpine was prescribed as a tranqulizing agent until modem synthetic antidepressant and antipsychotic drugs were introduced. The author also briefly summarizes the chemistry, pharmacology and clinical use of reserpine.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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