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Reserpine

Pronunciation

Generic Name: reserpine (re-SER-peen)
Brand Name: Generic only. No brands available.

Reserpine is used for:

Treating high blood pressure. It is sometimes used to treat agitation associated with certain mental problems (eg, schizophrenia). It may also be used for other conditions as determined by your doctor.

Reserpine is a rauwolfia alkaloid. It works by decreasing the amounts of certain chemicals in the brain (eg, norepinephrine, serotonin), which helps to lower blood pressure and decrease agitation in patients who have certain mental problems.

Do NOT use reserpine if:

  • you are allergic to any ingredient in reserpine
  • you have a peptic ulcer or ulcerative colitis
  • you have or a history of depression (especially with suicidal thoughts or behaviors) or are undergoing electroconvulsive therapy
  • you have taken furazolidone or a monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitor (eg, phenelzine) within the last 14 days.

Contact your doctor or health care provider right away if any of these apply to you.

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Before using reserpine:

Some medical conditions may interact with reserpine. Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have any medical conditions, especially if any of the following apply to you:

  • if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding
  • if you are taking any prescription or nonprescription medicine, herbal preparation, or dietary supplement
  • if you have allergies to medicines, foods, or other substances
  • if you have a history of peptic ulcers, gallstones, or ulcerative colitis
  • if you have kidney problems or are planning to undergo any surgical procedures

Some MEDICINES MAY INTERACT with reserpine. Tell your health care provider if you are taking any other medicines, especially any of the following:

  • Furazolidone or an MAO inhibitor (eg, phenelzine) because the side effects of reserpine may be increased
  • Digoxin or quinidine because the risk of irregular heartbeat may be increased
  • Tricyclic antidepressants because the effectiveness of reserpine may be decreased
  • Isoproterenol or phenylephrine because side effects may be increased by reserpine
  • Amphetamine or sympathomimetics (eg, ephedrine) because effectiveness may be decreased by reserpine

This may not be a complete list of all interactions that may occur. Ask your health care provider if reserpine may interact with other medicines that you take. Check with your health care provider before you start, stop, or change the dose of any medicine.

How to use reserpine:

Use reserpine as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.

  • Reserpine may be taken with or without food.
  • Take reserpine regularly to receive the most benefit from it. Taking reserpine at the same time each day will help you remember to take it.
  • If you miss a dose of reserpine, take it as soon as possible. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not take 2 doses at once.

Ask your health care provider any questions you may have about how to use reserpine.

Important safety information:

  • Reserpine may cause drowsiness, dizziness, blurred vision, or lightheadedness. Do not drive, operate machinery, or do anything else that could be dangerous until you know how you react to reserpine. Using reserpine alone, with certain other medicines, or with alcohol may lessen your ability to drive or perform other potentially dangerous tasks.
  • Reserpine may cause dizziness, lightheadedness, or fainting. Alcohol, hot weather, exercise, and fever can increase these effects. To prevent them, sit up or stand slowly, especially in the morning. Also, sit or lie down at the first sign of dizziness, lightheadedness, or weakness.
  • Do not become overheated in hot weather or during exercise or other activities since heatstroke may occur.
  • Do not drink alcohol while you are using reserpine without first checking with your doctor.
  • Before you have any medical or dental treatments, emergency care, or surgery, tell the doctor or dentist that you are using reserpine.
  • Reserpine may cause depression. Contact your health care provider right away if any of the following effects occur or worsen: feelings of decreased self-worth, a decrease in sexual ability or interest, trouble sleeping (especially early in the morning), or loss of appetite. Drug-induced depression may continue for several months after you stop taking reserpine and may (rarely) be severe enough to result in suicide.
  • LAB TESTS, including blood pressure checks, may be performed to monitor your progress. Be sure to keep all doctor and lab appointments.
  • Use reserpine with caution in the ELDERLY because they may be more sensitive to its effects.
  • Reserpine is not recommended for use in CHILDREN. Safety and effectiveness have not been confirmed.
  • PREGNANCY and BREAST-FEEDING: It is unknown if reserpine can cause harm to the fetus. If you become pregnant while taking reserpine, discuss with your doctor the benefits and risks of using reserpine during pregnancy. Reserpine is excreted in breast milk. Do not breast-feed while taking reserpine.

Possible side effects of reserpine:

All medicines may cause side effects, but many people have no, or minor, side effects. Check with your doctor if any of these most COMMON side effects persist or become bothersome:

Dizziness; drowsiness; dry mouth; headache; muscle aches; nasal congestion; nausea; nosebleed.

Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur:

Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); anxiety; breast tenderness or enlargement; changes in mood or sleep habits; chest pain; decrease in sexual ability or interest; depression; diarrhea; fainting; hearing or vision changes; loss of appetite; nervousness; nightmares; painful or difficult urination; slow or irregular heartbeat; stomach pain; vomiting; weight gain.

This is not a complete list of all side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, contact your health care provider. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. To report side effects to the appropriate agency, please read the Guide to Reporting Problems to FDA.

If OVERDOSE is suspected:

Contact 1-800-222-1222 (the American Association of Poison Control Centers), your local poison control center, or emergency room immediately. Symptoms may include constricted pupils; diarrhea; flushing; increased saliva; leg pain; loss of consciousness; red eyes; seizures; shaking; slow breathing; slow pulse; stiffness; unusual dizziness; vomiting; weakness.

Proper storage of reserpine:

Store reserpine at room temperature, between 59 and 86 degrees F (15 and 30 degrees C). Store away from heat, moisture, and light. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep reserpine out of the reach of children and away from pets.

General information:

  • If you have any questions about reserpine, please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • Reserpine is to be used only by the patient for whom it is prescribed. Do not share it with other people.
  • If your symptoms do not improve or if they become worse, check with your doctor.
  • Check with your pharmacist about how to dispose of unused medicine.

This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take reserpine or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about reserpine. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to reserpine. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using reserpine.

Issue Date: September 3, 2014
Database Edition 14.3.1.003
Copyright © 2014 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc.

Disclaimer: This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this medicine or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about this medicine. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to this medicine. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using this medicine.

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