Anticholinergic Agents

Long before the mechanisms of activation of acid secretion by the stomach were recognized, extract of belladonna was found to ameliorate peptic ulcer symptoms. However, the active ingredient, atropine, has a generalized effect on all the muscarinic receptors in the body, resulting in side effects, such as blurred vision, dry mouth, and urinary tract dysfunction that resulted in abstinence from the drug. Even though atropine was later replaced by more selective M1 receptor antagonists (e.g., pirenzepine), the general muscarinic side effects, although reduced compared with atropine remained.19

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