Autonomic Nervous System Drugs

Autonomic Nervous System Drugs Unlock the Power of Knowledge about Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) Drugs. Delve into the intricate world of medications influencing the ANS and its vital role in bodily functions. The autonomic nervous system (ANS) controls body’s involuntary physiological activities functions such as heart rate, blood pressure, digestion, and respiration rate.

Medications that act on the ANS can stimulate (agonists) or inhibit (antagonists) the sympathetic and parasympathetic divisions of the autonomic nervous system (ANS). Here are some quick states on how medications that influence the autonomic nervous system are pharmacologically classified.

Autonomic Nervous System Drugs

The nervous system is a complex network of cells called neurons that transmit signals between different parts of the body. It directs and coordinates a variety of body process. Enabling us to react to external stimuli, make choices, and engage with our surroundings. The Central Nervous System (CNS) and Peripheral Nervous System (PNS) are the two major components of the nervous system.

Autonomic Nervous System (ANS):

The ANS is a division of the PNS that regulates involuntary functions such as heart rate, digestion, and respiratory rate. It consists of two main branches: the sympathetic nervous system and the parasympathetic nervous system.

Sympathetic Nervous SystemParasympathetic Nervous System
Neuron origin-Pre-ganglionic: Thoracic & Lumbar regions

-Post-ganglionic: Various target organs
-Pre-ganglionic: Cranial & Sacral regions

-Post-ganglionic: Target organs
Length of fibersShort Pre-ganglionic

Long Post-ganglionic
Long Pre-ganglionic

Short Post-ganglionic
Location of gangliaClose to spinal cordNear effector organs
Type of responseDiffuseSeparate / distinct
Functions“Fight or flight” responses

Increases heart rate

Increases respiration rate

Dilates pupils

Inhibits digestion

Enhances alertness and awareness

Induces bronchodilation

Decreased urine production

Inhibits uterine contractions

Relaxes bladder muscles

Reduced sexual response

Inhibits salivary gland secretion

Decreased GIT motility and secretions

Constricts blood vessels
Promotes “rest and digest” responses

Decreases heart rate

Decreases respiration rate

Constricts pupils

Stimulates digestion

Enhances calming and relaxation

Induces bronchoconstriction

Increased urine production

Stimulates uterine contractions

Contracts bladder muscles

Enhanced sexual response

Stimulates salivary gland secretion

Increased GIT motility and secretions

Dilates blood vessels

Click on topics for more details:

1-Parasympathetic Nervous System drugs

Cholinergic Agonists

Cholinergic Antagonists

2- Sympathetic Nervous System drugs

Adrenergic Agonists

Adrenergic Antagonists

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