The key difference between atropine and epinephrine is that atropine is a medication used in treating nerve agents and pesticide poisonings, while epinephrine is both a hormone and a medication.
Different types of drugs are often used to treat different conditions and disorders. Both atropine and epinephrine treat different nerve disorders. They stimulate nervous coordination.
1. Overview and Key Difference
2. What is Atropine
3. What is Epinephrine
4. Similarities Between Atropine and Epinephrine
5. Side by Side Comparison – Atropine vs Epinephrine in Tabular Form
What is Atropine?
Atropine is a drug used to treat certain nerve agents and in the treatment of pesticide poisoning. Furthermore, they participate in increasing the heart rate and decreasing the rate of saliva production during surgery and post-surgery. Administration of these drugs takes place intravenously or intramuscularly. In some instance, we also administer them as eye drops.
In relation to the chemistry behind atropine, it is an enantiomeric mixture of d-hyoscyamine and l-hyoscyamine. The drug acts as an antimuscarinic drug as it reversibly inhibits the binding of acetylcholine to the muscarinic acetylcholine receptors, thereby dysfunctioning the parasympathetic nervous system.
Although atropine is not naturally present in humans, atropine is naturally present in some plants. The plants of the nightshade family are capable of producing atropine naturally. The side effects of atropine are dryness of the mouth, increasing size of the pupil, urinary retention, constipation and increased heart rate.
What is Epinephrine?
Epinephrine or adrenaline is a hormone as well as a medical drug. Moreover, epinephrine is a neurotransmitter. The adrenal glands produce epinephrine. Epinephrine regulates visceral functions. It plays a vital role in the flight or fight responses. Epinephrine’s signal transduction function initiates when the epinephrine binds to the beta-adrenergic receptors of the muscle cells. Therefore, they alter the metabolic pathways according to the particular need. Epinephrine participates in increasing the blood flow to the muscles, increasing the heat output, increasing the pupil dilation response and increasing the blood glucose levels.
In medication, epinephrine administration takes place during many instances such as anaphylaxis, cardiac arrest and during superficial bleeding. The administration of epinephrine also takes place intravenously. There are side effects of epinephrine treatment. The side effects include excessive sweating, development of anxiety and shakiness.
What are the Similarities Between Atropine and Epinephrine?
- Atropine and Epinephrine are medical drugs.
- They stimulate the nervous coordination.
- Both are commercially available drugs, which are approved for usage.
- The use of both drugs during pregnancy is not yet determined and confirmed.
- Moreover, administration of both drugs takes place intravenously.
What is the Difference Between Atropine and Epinephrine?
The key difference between atropine and epinephrine relies on the biological role they play. While epinephrine acts as both a hormone and a medical drug, atropine only acts as a medical drug. Furthermore, atropine acts on the parasympathetic nervous coordination, whereas epinephrine acts on initiating the flight or fight response. So, this is also a difference between atropine and epinephrine.
Moreover, a further difference between atropine and epinephrine is that the epinephrine is also produced by the body itself, while the atropine is produced synthetically.
The below infographic summarizes the difference between atropine and epinephrine.
Summary – Atropine vs Epinephrine
In summary, both atropine and epinephrine alter nervous coordination. However, there is a distinct difference between atropine and epinephrine in terms of their mechanism of action. In this regard, atropine acts by altering the parasympathetic response while epinephrine acts by altering the flight or fight response. Nevertheless, the administration of both drugs takes place intravenously. But, the dosage of the drug administration varies with the condition. Overdosage may lead to harmful effects.
1. “Atropine (Atropine): Side Effects, Interactions, Warning, Dosage & Uses.” RxList, Available here.
2. Farkas, Josh. “PulmCrit- Epinephrine vs. Atropine for BradycardicPeriarrest.” EMCrit Project, 4 June 2017, Available here.