Hexamethonium - Pharmacology


It can act on receptors at pre-ganglionic sites in both the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems, which are both regulated by nicotinic ligand-gated ionotropic acetylcholine receptors. Postganglionic sympathetic systems are usually regulated by norepinephrine (noradrenaline) (adrenergic receptors), whereas parasympathetic systems are acetylcholine-based, and instead rely on muscarinic receptors (some post-ganglionic sympathetic neurons, such as those stimulating sweat glands, release acetylcholine).

The organ system and adverse effects of ganglion blockers are due to the parasympathetic and sympathetic stimuli blockage at preganglionic sites. Side-effects include combined sympatholytic (e.g., orthostatic hypotension and sexual dysfunction) and parasympatholytic (e.g., constipation, urinary retention, glaucoma, blurry vision, decreased lacrimal gland secretion, dry mouth (xerostomia)) effects.

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