Atropine Side Effects In Adults And Children: Its Medicinal Uses

Atrophine is a drug which is largely used intravenously, however it may be administered intramuscularly or subcutaneously depending upon the requirement. Atropine is used and at times indicated when muscarinic effects are considered to be life threatening or produce symptoms that require temporary and reversible blockage of muscarine.

Though used for several medical conditions (and in most cases emergency conditions), use of atropine is associated with certain side effects which in most cases are temporary and reversible. Though there are specific guidelines of dosage specified for atropine, in most cases, dosage is determined based on patient symptoms and response to the atrophine dose.

Medicinal Uses Of Atropine

There are several different uses of atrophine and the drug is used for the management of a wide range of health conditions,

  • Atrophine is used as an antisialogogue, to reduce the secretions in the respiratory tract, especially in individuals where respiratory secretions are considered to interfere with the normal respiratory functions.
  • Atrophine is also used to reduce the implications of an over stimulated vagal tone, which helps to decrease blood pressure and also aid in ocular muscle traction.
  • It also increases heart rates or reduces AV blockage. This makes atropine an effective treatment for the management of bradycardia or AV block.
  • Atrophine is also used as an antidote for over dosage of cholinergic drugs. It is also used for the management of organophosphate poisoning cases.
  • Atrophine is also used as an antidote for mushroom poisoning as it helps in reversing the neuromuscular blockage.

This is not an exhaustive list of the uses of atropine but only an indicative list of the most common uses of atrophine.

What Are The Side Effects Of Atropine?

Atrophine side effects are related to antimuscarinic action of the drug. The most common symptoms associated with the atrophine include,

  • Dryness of the mouth.
  • Blurring of vision along with photophobia.
  • Difficulty in swallowing food is another common symptom associated with atrophine overdose.
  • Restlessness, tremors and ataxia may be observed in individuals with severe overdose of the drug.
  • Tachycardia may occur in cases of regular administration of atrophine even in therapeutic doses.
  • Anhidrosis occurs in most cases. This is in response to heat intolerance or impaired temperature regulation in the person living in a hot environment.
  • Constipation and difficulty in urination is also observed in elderly patients.
  • In some cases, hypersensitivity to atrophine may result in skin rash, which can subsequently result in exfoliation of the skin.
  • Increased thirst with a dry and hot skin is another characteristic symptom associated with the condition.

Atropine Side Effects In Children

In general, atropine use in children, as per the prescribed dosage is usually not associated with any side effects. However the use of atrophine can be associated with following side effects in children,

  • Blurring of vision with increased sensitivity to bright light with irritation or stinging in the eye. Inflammation around the eyes with swelling of the eye lids and lacrymation is commonly observed with the use of atrophine eye drops.
  • Restlessness and tremors may be observed in children, with ataxia and inability to coordinate fine motor activity.
  • Palpitation with increased thirst and restlessness may be observed in children.
  • In severe cases of intoxication, paralysis and coma may set in along with respiratory failure which can subsequently result in death.