noun[mass noun] Chemistry
A poisonous compound found in deadly nightshade and related plants. It is used in medicine as a muscle relaxant, e.g. in dilating the pupil of the eye.
- An alkaloid; chemical formula: C17N23NO3.
- Before ocular surgery, phenylephrine is used with atropine to dilate the pupil.
- Alkaloids are well known in human history for their pharmacological effects and include such well-known compounds as atropine, morphine, codeine, heroin, nicotine, caffeine, cocaine and quinine.
- Strychnine, atropine, cocaine, certain snake venoms, and other poisons cause convulsions, resulting from altered nerve conduction in the brain and spinal cord.
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