Uses of Atropine
Atropine is used to restore normal heartbeat during emergency conditions like cardiac arrest. It can also be used as a preanesthetic medication to reduce salivary secretions and can be used to reverse the effect of muscle relaxants given during surgery.
When applied on the eyes, it enlarges the pupil of the eye which helps in diagnosing eye problems. It also helps in the treatment of eye inflammation and acts as an antidote for insecticides, mushroom poisoning and to reverse the overactivity of certain medicines used in the treatment of severe muscle disorders like myasthenia gravis.
Atropine: Anti-cholinergic drugs/Mydriatics and Cycloplegics
How Atropine works
Atropine is an anticholinergic agent. It works by blocking the effects of a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine in the body which is responsible for various physiological functions (such as contraction of skeletal or smooth muscles, increase in body secretions or bowel movements, decrease in heart rate and dilation of pupils).
This action helps in restoring normal cardiac functions, reduces salivary secretion during surgical procedures and stimulates muscle movements. It also relaxes the eye muscles and makes the pupil to dilate which helps in diagnosing eye conditions and prevents promotes healing of inflammation by restricting the movement of eye muscles.
Common side effects of Atropine
- dryness of mouth
- blurred vision, eye irritation and sensitivity towards light
- inability to tolerate light (photophobia)
- rapid heartbeat
- difficulty with urination
- decreased sweating
- symptoms of allergy like sore, swollen, red or itchy eyes
- eye pain, swelling, itching or redness
When to consult your doctor
Consult your doctor if you experience:
- signs of allergic reaction (such as skin rash, itching, blistering, and peeling of skin, swelling of the eyelids, face or lips, sudden wheeziness, or difficulty in breathing)
- rapid or irregular pulse
- loss of neuromuscular coordination
- severe decrease in blood pressure with difficulty in breathing
Health Tips for Atropine
- Atropine injections should be used only under proper medical supervision. Your doctor will administer this medicine in a hospital setting to restore normal body functions
- If you are using Atropine eye drops, instill the few drops of the medicine into the affected eyes and close. Do not to touch the tip of the container with your fingers
- If you wear soft contact lenses, make sure to remove them before using Atropine eye drops and wait for at least 10 minutes before reinsertion
- Atropine eye drops can cause temporary blurred vision or make your eyes more sensitive to sunlight. Therefore, avoid straining your eyes too much and always protect your eyes by wearing sunglasses while going outdoors
- Atropine injections can cause dryness of the mouth and constipation. Therefore, drink plenty of water and eat a fibre rich diet to overcome the side effects
- Before using Atropine inform your doctor if you are suffering closed-angle glaucoma (increased eye pressure), an enlarged prostate, myasthenia gravis, or any obstruction of gut. You must also inform your doctor if you are pregnant or breastfeeding as a precaution