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Anticholinergic (Parasympatholytic) Bronchodilators

History and Development

The prototype anticholinergic agent is atropine, which is found naturally in the plants Atropa belladonna and the Datura species. Scopalamine is also extracted from the belladonna plant, and both atropine and scopolamine are called belladonna alkaloids.

|Agent |Date |Event | |Belladonna alkaloids |Thousands of Years |There is evidence that atropine and scopolamine| | | |have been ingested in one form or another for | | | |thousands of years for their effects on the | | | |central nervous system. | |Datura species of plants |India – 17th century |Fumes from burning the Datura species of plants| | |Great Britain – 1802 |were inhaled as a treatment for respiratory | | |United States – c1850 |disorders | |Aerosols of Datura |19th century |Aerosols of liquid with Datura were noted and | | | |the respiratory route for delivery of | | | |medications began to be appreciated. | |Atropine |1833 |The alkaloid daturine was identified as | | | |Atropine by Geiger and Hesse | |Anticholinergic (parasympatholytic) agents |19th century |Many physicians in Great Britain and America | | | |considered the use of inhaled parasympatholytic| | | |agents as “quackery” | |Anticholinergic (parasympatholytic) agents |19th and early 20th century |Physician disagreement on the use of Datura | | | |probably rested on several issues: | | | |(1) Difficulty in accurate dosage with smoking | | | |or aerosol therapy | | | |(2) The irritant effects of smoke | | | |(3) Confusion over diagnosing and clinically | | | |differentiating obstructive and occupational | | | |lung diseases led to inappropriate use of | | | |Datura alkaloids |...
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