Authors: Prof. Dr. med. Peter Altmeyer, Prof. Dr. med. Martina Bacharach-Buhles

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Last updated on: 29.10.2020

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CAS No.: 50-55-5; Serfin; Serpasil

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Indol alkaloid of some dog poisonous plants of the genus Rauvolfia. Reserpine is still used today as an antihypertensive, although the drug has lost its former importance.

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Reserpin is obtained from the roots of climbing plants of the Rauvolfioideae subfamily, primarily from Rauvolfia serpentina, the Indian snake root. Radix rauwolfia has a reserpin content of 0.04-0.05 %. Alternatively, Rerserpin can also be obtained from the Mexican Rauvolfia heterophylla and the Australian bitter bark.

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The antihypertensive effect of reserpine is based on a depletion of catecholamines in the postganglionic sympathetic nervous system. The antipsychotic effect of reserpine is explained by a decrease in the concentration of dopamine and serotonin in the central nervous system.

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Today, reserpine is only available in combination with diuretics. These are Briserin N® (combination with the thiazide diuretic clopamide) and Triniton® (combination with the antihypertensive dihydralazine and the thiazide diuretic hydrochlorothiazide).

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Rauwolfiae radix; Snakewood;