Scopolamine

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Scopolamine, also known as levo-duboisine, and hyoscine, is a tropane alkaloid drug with muscarinic antagonist effects. It is among the secondary metabolites of plants from Solanaceae (nightshade) family of plants, such as henbane, jimson weed and Angel's Trumpets (Datura resp. Brugmansia spec.), and corkwood (Duboisia species [2]). Scopolamine is one of three main active components of homeopathic tinctures and powders such as belladonna and stramonium, which are used medicinally along with atropine and hyoscyamine to help fight motion sickness, high fevers with redness, and delirium. Scopolamine exerts its effects by acting as a competitive antagonist at muscarinic acetylcholine receptors, specifically M1 receptors; it is thus classified as an anticholinergic, anti-muscarinic drug. (See the article on the parasympathetic nervous system for details of this physiology.)

Although scopolamine is often portrayed in the media as a dangerous drug, its anticholinergic properties give it some legitimate medical applications in very minute doses. As an example, in the treatment of motion sickness, the dose, gradually released from a transdermal patch, is only 330 micrograms (µg) per day. In rare cases, unusual reactions to ordinary doses of scopolamine have occurred including confusion, agitation, rambling speech, hallucinations, paranoid behaviors, and delusions.

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