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Inotropic agents

A drug may be classified by the chemical type of the active ingredient or by the way it is used to treat a particular condition. Each drug can be classified into one or more drug classes.

Inotropic agents affect the contraction of the heart muscle. Positive inotropes stimulate and increase the strength of heart muscle contraction causing the heart rate to increase. Negative inotropic agents weaken the force of muscular contractions.

Inotropic state depends on the amount of calcium in the cytoplasm of the heart muscle wall, as contractility of the heart depends on control of intracellular calcium i.e. control of calcium entry into the cell membrane and calcium storage in the sarcoplasmic reticulum. The main factors controlling calcium entry are activity of voltage gated calcium channels and sodium ions, which affects calcium/sodium ion exchange.

Positive inotropes usually increase the level of intracellular calcium and negative inotropes decrease it.

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Medical conditions associated with inotropic agents: