We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What Are the Different Uses for Atropine?

By Karize Uy
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

In cases of surgery where anesthesia should be given to the patient, atropine is given beforehand to reduce bodily secretions such as phlegm and saliva. Doing so quickens the body’s ability to absorb the anesthesia. Reduction of secretions also makes the anesthesia more effective, thus repeated anesthetic administrations can be avoided. Generally, the drug slows down bodily activities connected to the nervous system, hence inhibiting the production of secretions.

Atropine is also used in eye examinations as a topical medicine. It can induce cyclopegia, or a temporary paralysis of the eye’s muscles responsible for focusing on an object. This process can help give some relief to a patient suffering from iridocyclitis or an inflamed uvea, and can also treat glaucoma. The medication can also be used to bring about prolonged mydriasis, or the action of dilating the eye’s pupil. Use of atropine as an ophthalmic medication should be approached with caution, as the effect can last up to two weeks.

Physicians can also use atropine for heart-related illnesses and emergencies. The drug is usually injected to provoke cardiac activity during heart attacks and in cases of asystole or a “flatline.” Bradycardia, or the condition of having a heart rate lower than 50 beats per minute, can also be treated with the medication. Atropine works by preventing the vagus nerve from slowing down the heart rate. The American Heart Association has discontinued its recommendation for using the drug for aystole.

The drug can also be used to counteract chemical poisoning. Atropine, per se, is not an antitoxin, but by blocking some of the nervous system’s receptors from receiving any “messages” of pain, it alleviates the symptoms caused by the poisoning. Symptoms of DUMBBELSS, which include diarrhea, urination, and sweating, can be reduced by injecting the drug. Many soldiers who are assigned to places with chemical warfare usually bring syringes containing atropine.

In less urgent situations, the drug can also be taken as an cure for irritable bowel syndrome and diarrhea. Combined with other chemicals, small doses of atropine can be used as tranquilizers for animals. The drug may induce hallucinations, which is why some people take the chemical for recreational and illegal uses. Irresponsible use of the drug, however, can lead to negative effects, such as confusion and delirium, poisoning and even coma. When the latter effects are experienced, there is more possibility that death will follow.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Discussion Comments

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.