- adrenergic drug
any of various drugs that interfere with the functioning of the sympathetic nervous system by affecting the release or action of norepinephrine and epinephrine (epinephrine and norepinephrine). The former are hormones, secreted by the adrenal gland, that constrict blood vessels (thus increasing blood pressure) and accelerate the rate and force of contractions of the heart.Adrenergic drugs that stimulate the release or activity of norepinephrine or that mimic its effects are termed sympathomimetic agents. Among the sympathomimetic drugs are the amphetamines and ephedrine. Because these drugs raise the blood pressure and increase the heart rate, they are useful in treating systemic trauma, including bronchial asthma, shock, and cardiac arrest. They are also used to effect nasal decongestion and appetite suppression and to relieve allergic disorders.Drugs that block or inhibit the release or activity of norepinephrine are known as adrenergic blocking agents. These drugs dilate blood vessels (thus lowering blood pressure) and slow the heart rate. They are very useful in treating hypertension, angina, and heart dysrhythmias. Among the adrenergic blocking agents are phenoxybenzamine, propranolol, and prazosin.
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