Nervous System Medication Part 1 – The Receptors

nervous-1Today we begin talking some about Nervous system meds – first we’ll talk about the receptors and later this week we’ll go into medications and diseases.

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A review of our other NCLEX drug posts in the series are linked at the bottom of this article.


Muscarinic agonists (parasympathomimetic à Bethanechol

Muscarinic antagonists–> Atropine
Ganglionic-stimulating agents –> Nicotine
Cholinesterase inhibitors (ChE) –> Physostigmine or neostigmine
Neuromuscular-blocking agents –> Tubocurarine
Adrenergic agonists (sympathomimetic) –> Epinephrine
Adrenergic antagonists block α & β receptors

Prazosin ’ α adrenergic antagonist
Propanolol ’ β adrenergic antagonist

Receptors –


  • Release of epinephrine from adrenal medulla


  • Located at neuromuscular junction of skeletal muscle
  • Causes skeletal muscle contraction

Muscarinic Receptors

  • Decreased secretions from lungs, stomach, intestines, sweat glands
  • Decrease in HR
  • Smooth muscle contraction in bronchi and GI tract
  • Miosis (sphincter contraction) and accommodation (ciliary contraction)
  • Voiding due to contraction of detrusor muscle and relaxation of trigone and sphincter muscles


  • Mydriasis d/t radial muscle contraction
  • Veins and arterioles are activated to constrict
  • Increased peripheral resistance, Increased blood pressure
  • Male sex organs are activated to promote ejaculation
  • Contraction of prostatic capsule, trigone, and sphincter muscles


  • Dilates blood vessels in the kidneys


  • Predominant receptor found on the heart
  • Increased HR, Increased Contraction Force, Increased Conduction through AV node
  • Increased lipolysis
  • Release of Renin by the kidneys


  • Dilates bronchi
  • Relaxes uterine smooth muscle
  • Vasodilation of arterioles in heart, lungs, and skeletal muscle
  • Slightly decreased peripheral resistance
  • Increased glycogenolysis in the liver and muscles
  • Skeletal muscle contraction

Our other NCLEX Medication articles


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