How are belladonna alkaloids used as a medication?
The mostly widely used alkaloid from Atropa belladonna
plants is atropine, which is a tropane alkaloid.
Some of its uses include:
- Antidote to the toxic effects of cholinesterase inhibitors
since it is a known anticholinergic, and therefore, prevents the
toxic effects that can result due to accumulation of acetylcholine
in the neuromuscular junctions and the parasympathetic nervous
- Sometimes used by optometrists and opthalmologists as a
cycloplegic, which paralyzes the accommodation reflex and thus
induces mydriasis (pupil dilation) during eye examination.
Several belladonna alkaloids as well are used in combination with
phenobarbital to relieve cramping pains, in cases such as irritable