Generic Name: reserpine (re SER peen)
Medically reviewed on January 22, 2018
What is reserpine?
Reserpine lowers blood pressure by slowing down your nervous system. This allows your blood vessels to relax and dilate (widen), which helps your heart beat more slowly and improves blood flow.
Reserpine is used to treat hypertension (high blood pressure).
Reserpine is also used to treat agitated psychotic conditions such as schizophrenia.
Reserpine may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.
Before taking this medicine
You should not use reserpine if you are allergic to it, or if you have:
a history of depression;
a history of suicidal thoughts or actions;
a stomach ulcer;
ulcerative colitis; or
a condition for which you are being treated with electroconvulsive (shock) therapy.
To make sure reserpine is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:
kidney disease; or
a history of stomach problems or slow digestion.
It is not known whether reserpine will harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant while taking reserpine.
Reserpine can pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. You should not breast-feed while using this medicine.
Reserpine is not approved for use by anyone younger than 18 years old.
How should I take reserpine?
Follow all directions on your prescription label. Your doctor may occasionally change your dose to make sure you get the best results. Do not use this medicine in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.
If you need surgery, tell the surgeon ahead of time that you are using reserpine. You may need to stop using the medicine for a short time.
If you are being treated for high blood pressure, keep using this medicine even if you feel well. High blood pressure often has no symptoms. You may need to use blood pressure medicine for the rest of your life.
Store at room temperature away from moisture, heat, and light.
Keep the bottle tightly closed when not in use.
What happens if I miss a dose?
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.
What happens if I overdose?
Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.
Overdose symptoms may include redness or warmth under your skin, tingly feeling, diarrhea, feeling light-headed, shallow breathing, weak pulse, slow heartbeats, pinpoint pupils, extreme drowsiness, or loss of consciousness.
What should I avoid while taking reserpine?
reserpine may impair your thinking or reactions. Be careful if you drive or do anything that requires you to be alert.
Avoid getting up too fast from a sitting or lying position, or you may feel dizzy. Get up slowly and steady yourself to prevent a fall.
Drinking alcohol with this medicine can cause side effects.
Reserpine side effects
Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Some people taking reserpine have developed depression. Stop taking reserpine and call your doctor right away if you have:
unusual changes in mood or behavior;
sudden lack of energy or feelings of low self-worth;
loss of interest in things you once enjoyed;
thoughts about hurting yourself.
Keep taking reserpine but call your doctor at once if you have:
chest pain, slow heartbeats, trouble breathing;
swelling in your hands or feet;
a light-headed feeling, like you might pass out;
painful or difficult urination;
vision or hearing problems; or
uncontrolled muscle movements or tremors.
Common side effects may include:
breast tenderness or swelling;
itching or rash;
stuffy nose, nosebleeds;
weight gain; or
impotence, decreased interest in sex.
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
See also: Side effects (in more detail)
Reserpine dosing information
Usual Adult Dose for Hypertension:
Initial dose: 0.5 mg orally once a day for 1 to 2 weeks.
Maintenance dose: 0.1 to 0.25 mg orally once a day.
Usual Adult Dose for Schizophrenia:
Initial dose: 0.5 mg orally once a day, but may range from 0.1 to 1 mg.
Maintenance dose: Adjust dose upward or downward according to patient response.
Usual Adult Dose for Hyperthyroidism:
The value of orally administered reserpine during thyrotoxic crisis is not known.
Limited data in which seven patients with thyrotoxic crisis received reserpine 1 to 5 mg intramuscularly, then 0.07 to 0.3 mg per kg in the first 24 hours reveal significant, dose-related improvement in symptoms within four to eight hours of drug administration.
What other drugs will affect reserpine?
Tell your doctor about all your current medicines and any you start or stop using, especially:
any other blood pressure medication;
diet pills, stimulants, or ADHD medication;
This list is not complete. Other drugs may interact with reserpine, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible interactions are listed in this medication guide.
Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.
Copyright 1996-2018 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 5.01.
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- Drug class: antiadrenergic agents, peripherally acting