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To the Editor:—
The article by Dr. Wallace in The Journal, June 18, page 797, is timely, since the techniques of preanesthetic medication generally are undergoing reevaluation. I am concerned that there may some misunderstanding in the use of the word "sympathomimetic" for scopolamine or atropine in the subtitle and text.Scopolamine and atropine, both centrally and peripherally, block some of the actions of acetylcholine, the neurohumoral agent released by cholinergic neurons, many of which are involved in the parasympathetic nervous system. Therefore, these drugs should be called parasympathetic-blocking or cholinergic-blocking agents. Sympathomimetic drugs mimic the action of catechol amines such as epinephrine or arterenol (Norepinephrine). Thus the casual reader may misunderstand the form of the premedication (promethazine and scopolamine) used by Dr. Wallace.
Domino EF. PREANESTHETIC MEDICATION. JAMA. 1960;174(1):92–93. doi:10.1001/jama.1960.03030010094030