- Side Effects
- Drug Interactions
- Pregnancy & Breastfeeding
- What Else to Know
Generic Name: reserpine
Brand Name: Serpasil (discontinued)
Drug Class: Antihypertensives, Other
What is reserpine, and what is it used for?
Reserpine is one of the earliest antihypertensive agents to be developed and was initially used as a first-line treatment. With the development of newer drugs with better side effect profile, reserpine is rarely prescribed anymore and is no longer available in the U.S. Reserpine was previously used to also treat schizophrenia, and tardive dyskinesia, movement disorders associated with long-term antipsychotic therapy, but no longer.
Reserpine is a compound (indole alkaloid) extracted from the roots of a plant, Rauwolfia serpentina. Reserpine depletes the tissue stores of norepinephrine, dopamine, and serotonin, chemicals (neurotransmitters) that nerve cells (neurons) use to communicate. These neurotransmitters regulate the heart rate, force of cardiac contraction, and blood pressure, in addition to regulating many body functions including emotions, digestion, and movement.
Reserpine binds to storage vesicles of neurons and prevents the uptake of dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin. The neurotransmitters not contained in the vesicles are broken down (metabolized) naturally by the enzyme monoamine oxidase, depleting their stores. This slows down the activity of the nervous system, lowering blood pressure as well as producing sedative effects. Reserpine exerts its effects on the cardiovascular system, central nervous system and gastrointestinal system.
- Do not use in patients with hypersensitivity to reserpine or any of its components.
- Do not use reserpine in the following conditions:
- Do not use reserpine in patients undergoing electroconvulsive therapy. Discontinue reserpine at least a week before, and do not restart for at least a week after treatment.
- Use reserpine with caution in the following conditions:
- High doses of reserpine may cause significant mental depression, anxiety, or psychosis. Exercise caution.
- Reserpine may cause postural (orthostatic) hypotension. Use with caution in patients at risk of hypotension, particularly those with cardiovascular or cerebrovascular disease.
- Some formulations of reserpine may contain tartrazine. Avoid use in patients with tartrazine allergy and use with caution in patients who have a history of allergic reactions.
What are the side effects of reserpine?
Common side effects of reserpine include:
- Irregular heart rate (arrhythmia)
- Slow heart rate (bradycardia)
- Premature ventricular contractions
- Chest pain (angina)
- Low blood pressure (hypotension)
- Fainting (syncope)
- Swelling of extremities (peripheral edema)
- Paradoxical anxiety
- Reduced mental acuity
- Drug-induced Parkinson’s disease
- Muscle pain (myalgia)
- Excessive salivation (sialorrhea) or dry mouth (xerostomia)
- Loss of appetite (anorexia)
- Reduced libido
- Breast tissue growth in males (gynecomastia)
- Weight gain
- Nasal congestion
- Nasal bleeding (epistaxis)
- Shortness of breath (dyspnea)
- Blurred vision
- Optic nerve damage (optic atrophy)
- Skin rash
- Itching (pruritus)
- Immune-mediated drop in platelet count (immune thrombocytopenia)
- Bruising (purpura)
Call your doctor immediately if you experience any of the following symptoms or serious side effects while using this drug:
- Serious heart symptoms include fast or pounding heartbeats, fluttering in your chest, shortness of breath, and sudden dizziness;
- Severe headache, confusion, slurred speech, severe weakness, vomiting, loss of coordination, feeling unsteady;
- Severe nervous system reaction with very stiff muscles, high fever, sweating, confusion, fast or uneven heartbeats, tremors, and feeling like you might pass out; or
- Serious eye symptoms include blurred vision, tunnel vision, eye pain or swelling, or seeing halos around lights.
This is not a complete list of all side effects or adverse reactions that may occur from the use of this drug. Call your doctor for medical advice about serious side effects or adverse reactions. You may also report side effects or health problems to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
What are the dosages of reserpine?
- 0.1 mg
- 0.25 mg
- 0.5 mg daily for 1 or 2 weeks
- 0.1-0.25 mg orally once daily
- Use higher dosages cautiously occurrence of mental depression or other adverse reactions may increase
- 0.5 mg daily, but may range from 0.1 to 1 mg; titrate dose according to patient response
- 0.25 mg every 6 hours; may increase by 0.1-0.25 mg to a total of 5 mg daily
- Adverse central nervous system (CNS) effects; may cause slow heart rate and dizziness on standing (orthostatic hypotension); not recommended as routine treatment for hypertension (Beers criteria)
- 0.05 mg orally once daily; may increase by 0.05 mg after 1 week as needed; not to exceed 0.1 mg/day
- 0.02 mg/kg/day orally once daily or divided every 12 hours, not to exceed 0.25 mg/day
What drugs interact with reserpine?
Inform your doctor of all medications you are currently taking, who can advise you on any possible drug interactions. Never begin taking, suddenly discontinue, or change the dosage of any medication without your doctor’s recommendation.
- Reserpine has no listed severe interactions with other drugs.
- Serious interactions of reserpine include:
- Moderate interactions of reserpine include:
- esketamine intranasal
- Reserpine has no listed mild interactions with other drugs.
The drug interactions listed above are not all of the possible interactions or adverse effects. For more information on drug interactions, visit the RxList Drug Interaction Checker.
It is important to always tell your doctor, pharmacist, or health care provider of all prescription and over-the-counter medications you use, as well as the dosage for each, and keep a list of the information. Check with your doctor or health care provider if you have any questions about the medication.
Pregnancy and breastfeeding
What else should I know about reserpine?
- Take reserpine exactly as prescribed.
- Store safely out of reach of children.
- In case of overdose, seek medical help or contact Poison Control.
- Reserpine is no longer available in the United States. If you have been taking reserpine, contact your doctor for switching to another therapy.
Reserpine is a medication used to treat high blood pressure (hypertension), a major risk factor for cardiovascular diseases. Common side effects of reserpine include irregular heart rate (arrhythmia), slow heart rate (bradycardia), premature ventricular contractions, chest pain (angina), low blood pressure (hypotension), fainting (syncope), flushing, swelling of extremities (peripheral edema), paradoxical anxiety, nervousness, depression, reduced mental acuity, drowsiness, and others. Use with caution if pregnant. Avoid use if breastfeeding.
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Related Disease Conditions
Blood Pressure Readings: Chart, Normal, High, Low
Blood pressure is the force applied by the blood over the inner walls of the arteries. Although the average blood pressure for a person remains constant, it shows minor fluctuations throughout the day—declining while relaxing and momentarily increasing while being excited or under stress. An increase in resting blood pressure can scar, stiffen, or harden the arteries.
Why Is My Bottom Blood Pressure Number High?
Isolated diastolic hypertension (IDH) occurs when your systolic blood pressure is normal, and only your diastolic blood pressure is high (over 80 mm Hg). Causes of high diastolic blood pressure include a high-sodium diet, obesity, lack of physical activity, excessive alcohol consumption, stress and anxiety.
High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)
High blood pressure (hypertension) is a disease in which pressure within the arteries of the body is elevated. About 75 million people in the US have hypertension (1 in 3 adults), and only half of them are able to manage it. Many people do not know that they have high blood pressure because it often has no has no warning signs or symptoms. Systolic and diastolic are the two readings in which blood pressure is measured. The American College of Cardiology released new guidelines for high blood pressure in 2017. The guidelines now state that blood normal blood pressure is 120/80 mmHg. If either one of those numbers is higher, you have high blood pressure. The American Academy of Cardiology defines high blood pressure slightly differently. The AAC considers 130/80 mm Hg. or greater (either number) stage 1 hypertension. Stage 2 hypertension is considered 140/90 mm Hg. or greater. If you have high blood pressure you are at risk of developing life threatening diseases like stroke and heart attack.REFERENCE: CDC. High Blood Pressure. Updated: Nov 13, 2017.
How Can I Lower My Blood Pressure in Minutes?
Learn how to lower your high blood pressure quickly and how to better manage this condition.
What Is Normal Blood Pressure and Pulse by Age?
The American Heart Association outlines that a normal blood pressure reading of 120/80 mm Hg for adults. Here is a chart that breaks down the ideal blood pressure range by age.
What Does it Mean When the Bottom Number of Your Blood Pressure is Over 100?
Diastolic blood pressure (DBP) is the pressure exerted on the walls of the arteries when the heart muscle relaxes between beats. When the bottom number of blood pressure (diastole) is over 100 mmHg, it may be called diastolic hypertension (DHT). Diastolic blood pressure means the blood pressure reading during the phase when your heart relaxes (diastole). Force of the blood against the walls of the arteries (the blood vessels carrying blood from the heart to other sites) in the body is called blood pressure. The heart pumps the blood into the arteries as it contracts (systole).
How to Lower My Blood Pressure Immediately
If you face any complications of high blood pressure such as a stroke or heart attack, contact your physician without any delay. Do not attempt home remedies in such grave situations. If you have high blood pressure, without any complications, the first thing to do is to calm down and lie flat.
What Is Considered Stroke-Level High Blood Pressure?
Blood pressure readings above 180/120 mmHg are considered stroke-level and require immediate medical attention. Check out the center below for more medical references on hypertension, including multimedia (slideshows, images, and quizzes), related diseases, treatment, diagnosis, medications, and prevention or wellness.
What Is Normal Blood Pressure for a 60-Year-Old?
According to current guidelines from the American Heart Association, normal blood pressure for adults under the age of 65 is any blood pressure below 120/80 mmHg.
How Do You Check Your Blood Pressure With Fingers?
Most doctors recommend the use of a blood pressure machine to check blood pressure. An individual may check heart rate with their fingers, but not blood pressure.
Is 120 Over 60 a Good Blood Pressure Reading?
If your systolic blood pressure is normal (between 100-120), and your diastolic blood pressure is lower (60 or below), you are considered to have low blood pressure, or isolated diastolic hypotension. Low diastolic blood pressure should be monitored closely.
Is 150 Over 90 a Good Blood Pressure?
Blood pressure of 150/90 mmHg comes under the category of stage I hypertension and means that you have high blood pressure.
What Is the Blood Pressure of a Very Fit Person?
Studies show that a very fit person who exercises regularly will have a lower resting blood pressure (usually below 120/80 mm Hg) than someone who leads a sedentary lifestyle.
Can Blood Pressure Spike For No Reason?
It is normal for your blood pressure to rise and fall throughout the day. Your blood pressure can fluctuate at any time due to various reasons.
What Time of Day Is Blood Pressure Highest?
Your blood pressure follows a pattern, rising a while before you wake up. It is the highest at midday and tends to drop in the evening or late afternoon.
How Can I Bring My Blood Pressure Down Immediately?
High blood pressure is diagnosed when the force of your blood pressing against the artery wall is too high for an extended period of time. Bring your blood pressure down immediately by taking a hot shower or bath and practicing deep breathing and relaxation techniques.
Is A Manual Blood Pressure More Accurate?
Manual blood pressure gives accurate results when used correctly by a trained person. However, manual blood pressure measurement is not the recommended type of blood pressure monitoring for home use because it requires some training.
Can You Take Turmeric if You Take Blood Pressure Medicine?
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Can Drinking Water Lower Your Blood Pressure?
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Why is My Blood Pressure Suddenly High and Low?
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Your blood pressure fluctuates throughout the day. Check your blood pressure twice a day at around the same time every day.
Is It Okay to Take Blood Pressure Multiple Times?
International hypertension societies recommend taking multiple blood pressure measurements over several days.
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The best fruits for lowering blood pressure include citrus fruits, berries, bananas, pomegranates, prunes, and melons.
Which Blood Pressure Number Is the Most Important?
The blood that flows through the arteries (blood vessels carrying blood from the heart to other parts of the body) exerts pressure against the arterial walls. The number above (120) is called the systolic blood pressure and the number below (80) is called the diastolic blood pressure. Though both readings are important, many doctors believe that systolic blood pressure is a better predictor of complications of hypertension, such as heart disease or stroke.
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The top drinks for lowering blood pressure include beverages that are rich in nutrients and low in sodium and fats. Learn the 10 best blood-pressure-lowering drinks here.
Can High Blood Pressure Hurt My Eyes?
Unfortunately, yes. Suffering from untreated or poorly controlled high blood pressure for a long time can be detrimental to your eyes. Several eye diseases are directly or indirectly caused by high blood pressure (hypertension).
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People older than 40 years should check their blood pressure once a year, while those between 18 and 40 years old should check it every three to five years.
When is the Best Time to Measure Your Blood Pressure?
Hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, requires regular blood pressure checks. Measure your blood pressure at least twice a day at the same time every day.
How Can I Lower My Blood Pressure in 30 Seconds?
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What Are the New Blood Pressure Guidelines for Seniors?
Hypertension or high blood pressure (high BP) is a medical condition where the pressure in the blood vessels is persistently elevated. The heart pumps blood into the arteries, which circulate blood to all parts of the body. In cases of high blood pressure, the heart has to work harder to push the blood column ahead.
What Is High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)?
High blood pressure or hypertension is when the blood pressure readings consistently range from 140 or higher for systolic or 90 or higher for diastolic. Blood pressure readings above 180/120 mmHg are dangerously high and require immediate medical attention.
What Blood Pressure Is Considered Life-Threatening?
Blood pressure that is 180/120 mm Hg or higher is considered dangerous and can lead to serious life-threatening complications. Check out the center below for more medical references on blood pressure, including multimedia (slideshows, images, and quizzes), related disease conditions, treatment and diagnosis, medications, and prevention or wellness.
What Is “Normal” Blood Pressure?
Normal blood pressure is when the pressure is less than or upto 120/80 mmHg. The value 120 denotes the systolic pressure, and the value 80 denotes the diastolic pressure.
What Is a Normal Blood Pressure Check?
A normal blood pressure check should be below 120/80 mmHg in adults (18 years and older).
High Blood Pressure Symptoms
Most people with high blood pressure have no signs or symptoms, even if blood pressure readings reach dangerously high levels. In some patients, symptoms may include fatigue, headaches, dizziness, confusion, sweating, chest pain and vision problems.
What Causes High Blood Pressure in Children?
Research states that kidney disease is the main cause of high blood pressure in children; however, here are the other potential causes of hypertension in kids.
How Does High Blood Pressure Affect Pregnancy?
High blood pressure during pregnancy can cause serious complications. Learn more about the signs of and risks associated with the condition.
What Is the Proper Way to Take Your Blood Pressure?
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