AntiCholinergic Drugs | Parasympatholytic Drugs | Dr Najeeb

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AntiCholinergic Drugs | Parasympatholytic Drugs | Dr Najeeb

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Anticholinergic medications (shorthand: “anticholinergics”) are drugs that block and inhibit the activity of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine (ACh) at both central and peripheral nervous system synapses.
Anticholinergics (anticholinergic agents) are substances that block the action of the neurotransmitter called acetylcholine (ACh) at synapses in the central and peripheral nervous system.
These agents inhibit the parasympathetic nervous system by selectively blocking the binding of ACh to its receptor in nerve cells. The nerve fibers of the parasympathetic system are responsible for the involuntary movement of smooth muscles present in the gastrointestinal tract, urinary tract, lungs, sweat glands, and many other parts of the body.
In broad terms, anticholinergics are divided into two categories in accordance with their specific targets in the central and peripheral nervous system and at the neuromuscular junction: antimuscarinic agents, and antinicotinic agents (ganglionic blockers, neuromuscular blockers).
The term “anticholinergic” is typically used to refer to antimuscarinics which competitively inhibit the binding of ACh to muscarinic acetylcholine receptors; such agents do not antagonize the binding at nicotinic acetylcholine receptors at the neuromuscular junction, although the term is sometimes used to refer to agents which do so.
Parasympatholytic are drugs that oppose the effects of the parasympathetic nervous system through anticholinergic action – i.e., they prevent ACh from acting as a neurotransmitter at muscarinic receptors.
A parasympatholytic agent is a substance or activity that reduces the activity of the parasympathetic nervous system. (The parasympathetic nervous system is often colloquially described as the “Feed and Breed” or “Rest and Digest” portion of the autonomic nervous system. The parasympathetic nervous system becomes strongly engaged during or after a meal and during times when the body is at rest.)[citation needed]
The term parasympatholytic typically refers to the effect of a drug, although some poisons act to block the parasympathetic nervous system as well. Most drugs with parasympatholytic properties are anticholinergics.
“Parasympatholytic” and sympathomimetic agents have similar but not identical effects. For example, both cause mydriasis, but parasympatholytics reduce accommodation (cycloplegia), whereas sympathomimetics do not.
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