noun[mass noun] Chemistry
A compound present in opium used medicinally to alleviate muscle spasm and asthma.
- An alkaloid; chemical formula: C20H21NO4.
- The alkaloid was first synthesized by Pictet and Gams in 1909, and as the amount of papaverine obtained from opium is small, the synthetic route remains the source of this compound up to the present day.
- A 4-mg solution of papaverine is used to irrigate vessels in the event of vasospasms.
- In non-occlusive mesenteric ischaemia, infusion of an intra-arterial vasodilator such as papaverine into the superior mesenteric artery may be all that is needed to reverse vasoconstriction and prevent bowel infarction.
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