Updated December 20, 2013
Author: VerLee; Source: Miller, Stoelting

Description: Clinical Tips for medical atropine, especially as related to the practice of anesthesia

see also scopolamine and glycopyrrolate

Mechanism of Action

Atropine combines reversibly (competitve antagonism) with muscarinic cholinergic receptors and thus prevents access of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine to these sites. It is thus termed an anticholinergic.

Other drugs in the class include glycopyrrolate and scopolamine, and Ipratropium. Anticholinergic drugs do not prevent the liberation of acetylcholine, nor do they react wih acetylcholine.


IV Administration: onset of action is about 1 minute; duration of action 30-60 minutes.

Atropine, like scopolamine, is a lipid soluble tertiary amine, and thus easily crosses the blood-brain barrier, causing CNS effects of sedation and delerium, esp. in the elderly. (See Central Anticholinergic Syndrome)

from Stoelting

Clinical Uses & Dosing for Atropine