Skip to main content
Article thumbnail
Location of Repository

Muscarinic receptor antagonists, from folklore to pharmacology; finding drugs that actually work in asthma and COPD

By Bart C Moulton and Allison D Fryer

Abstract

In the lungs, parasympathetic nerves provide the dominant control of airway smooth muscle with release of acetylcholine onto M3 muscarinic receptors. Treatment of airway disease with anticholinergic drugs that block muscarinic receptors began over 2000 years ago. Pharmacologic data all indicated that antimuscarinic drugs should be highly effective in asthma but clinical results were mixed. Thus, with the discovery of effective β-adrenergic receptor agonists the use of muscarinic antagonists declined. Lack of effectiveness of muscarinic antagonists is due to a variety of factors including unwanted side effects (ranging from dry mouth to coma) and the discovery of additional muscarinic receptor subtypes in the lungs with sometimes competing effects. Perhaps the most important problem is ineffective dosing due to poorly understood differences between routes of administration and no effective way of testing whether antagonists block receptors stimulated physiologically by acetylcholine. Newer muscarinic receptor antagonists are being developed that address the problems of side effects and receptor selectivity that appear to be quite promising in the treatment of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

Topics: Reviews
Publisher: Blackwell Publishing Ltd
OAI identifier: oai:pubmedcentral.nih.gov:3085867
Provided by: PubMed Central
Download PDF:
Sorry, we are unable to provide the full text but you may find it at the following location(s):
  • http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.g... (external link)
  • Suggested articles


    To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.