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Epinephrine - stimulates pulses and increases blood pressure, stimulates the metabolism in emergencies, decreases

insulin secretion
Norepinephrine (generally excites smooth muscle) - stimulates the functions of the circulatory and respiratory systems:
attention, consciousness, control of body temperature etc.
Works like epinephrine in that it also increases blood pressure and stimulates respiration and gastrointestinal
contractions, but the two chemicals balance each other.
Norepinephrine decreases heart rate and increases the actions of the peripheral nervous system by constricting
blood vessels. It also constricts blood vessels in the muscles and skin, and decreases stimulation of the bronchial
airways in the lungs to return the body to a state of homeostasis or of basic daily functioning.
Every minute the body readjusts to its environment, the blood pressure changes, the heart rate increases or
decreases depending on the activity, and the body adapts and regulates its internal temperature and organ
functions. The body normally exists in a regulatory state and only activates its fight or flight pattern in times of
extreme stress.
Epinephrine affects the peripheral nervous system with stimulating and inhibition.
Epinephrine affects the central nervous system by enhancing respiration and increasing muscle activity.
This chemical hormone stimulates smooth muscle cells and blood vessels in organs and tissue throughout the
Epinephrine increases heart rate and enhances the force of muscle contractions.
How Do Adrenergic Drugs Work?
Adrenergic drugs stimulate the adrenergic nerves. The structures of the drugs closely resemble the
neurotransmitters that your body produces during times of stress, such as norepinephrine. Norepinephrine acts
directly on the adrenergic receptors. Therefore, adrenergic drugs are able to interact with the same receptor sites
as the neurotransmitter.
There are several types of adrenergic receptors in the body. The specific action of the drug depends on
which type of the adrenergic receptor is affected. It also depends on whether or not the drug acts directly on the
receptor or indirectly by stimulating the release of neurotransmitters. The receptors include:
Examples of the affects adrenergic drugs can have on the body include:
increasing blood pressure
constricting blood vessels
opening the airways leading to the lungs
increasing heart rate
stopping bleeding

What is Adrenergic Drugs Used to Treat?
Adrenergic drugs have been developed to act on specific receptors in the body. The condition they are used
to treat depends on which receptor is affected by the drug. Examples of some broad types of adrenergic drugs
and their uses include:
Bronchodilators act on the beta-receptors directly to improve breathing in patients with respiratory
diseases like asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), emphysema, and bronchitis. They
open up the bronchial tubes, or air passages. Examples of adrenergic drugs used for bronchodilation
Pirbuterol (NIH)
This list is not all-inclusive.
Sometimes an allergic reaction to insect stings, foods, or other substances can cause swelling that tightens up
the air passages. Epinephrine can be injected in these emergency situations to open up the airways.
Vasopressors can act on the alpha-1, beta-1, and beta-2 adrenergic receptors. They also act on
dopamine receptors. They can act on more than one type of receptor at the same time. Examples of these
types of adrenergic drugs include:
Pseudoephedrine (Sudafed)
Oxymetazoline (Elmhurst)
The vasopressors stimulate smooth muscle contraction of the blood vessels. The blood vessels are the part of
the circulatory system that moves blood around the body. The muscle contraction leads to vasoconstriction.
Vasoconstriction is the narrowing of the blood vessels. The narrowing of the blood vessels will cause a rise in
blood pressure.
The increased blood pressure can be used to treat patients with shock. Constriction of the blood vessels can
also be useful to stop bleeding as well as to keep anesthetics to a specific area of the body. They do this by
closing off nearby blood vessels to keep the anesthetic from spreading.
Drugs in this class may also be used when swelling of the blood vessels in the mucous membranes of the
nose blocks up the nasal passage and causes discharge. This might happen if you have a cold or allergies.
Adrenergic drugs can act on sympathetic nerves to shrink the swollen membranes and provide relief for a
few hours. These drugs are often referred to as nasal decongestants.