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March 21, 1936


Author Affiliations


From the Department of Surgery, University of Illinois College of Medicine, and St. Luke's Hospital.

JAMA. 1936;106(12):1003-1005. doi:10.1001/jama.1936.92770120001011

Papaverine, an alkaloid of the opium group, was first advocated for the relief of smooth muscle spasm by Professor Pal1 of Vienna. On the basis of clinical observations backed up by animal experiments, he stated that the drug relaxes smooth muscle without paralyzing it and recommended it in hypertension, in angina pectoris and for the abortion of uremic crises. A comprehensive pharmacologic study of this drug was given by Macht.2 Summing up the circulatory effects of papaverine, he noted a fall in blood pressure, which was due partly to the effect on the brain but chiefly to peripheral action, as it produced a marked vasodilatation especially of the peripheral and splanchnic arteries. The drug increased coronary circulation, slowed the heart and at the same time increased the strength of contraction. As to its effect on respiration, papaverine dilated the bronchi and diminished the rate of respiration but increased the volume output

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