Papaverine is an alkaloid used in the treatment of visceral spasms, vasospasm (especially those involving the heart and brain) and occasionally in the treatment of erectile dysfunction. Its brute formula is C20H21NO4. This alkaloid, although found in the opium poppy, differs both in structure and in the mechanism of action from the opiate analgesic alkaloids (morphine). This alkaloid is extracted from opium but does not produce any amazing effects.
Papaverine is used to treat spasms of the gastrointestinal tract, biliary system and ureter; it is also used as a cerebral and coronary vasodilator in subarachnoid hemorrhages and aorto-coronary bypasses. Furthermore, this alkaloid is also used as a mild muscle relaxant when applied directly to the blood vessels.

Another use of papaverine is that of cryopreservation of blood vessels together with glycosaminoglycan and protein suspensions; in fact, during cryopreservation it acts as a vasodilator in combination with verapamil, phentolamine, nifedipine, tolazoline or sodium nitroprusside.
Another use of papaverine is as an Off-Label drug in migraine prophylaxis.
The mechanism of action is not yet completely clear; however, a significant inhibition of the enzyme phosphodiesterase is observed, which increases the level of cyclic adenosine monophosphate. Latum aspect is the one that can alter mitochondrial respiration. some side effects have been found in the use of papaverine; the most common are polymorphic ventricular tachycardia, constipation, interference with the bromosulfonphthalein test (used for hepatic functions), increased levels of transaminases, alkaline phosphatase and also drowsiness and dizziness.
Other rarer effects occur with facial flushing, excessive sweating, rash, arterial hypotension, tachycardia, loss of appetite, jaundice, eosinophilia, thrombocytopenia, hepatitis, headache, allergic reactions, chronic active hepatitis and aggravation of cerebral vasospasm.
Papaverine is also present in the salts of alkaloid opiates such as papaver and others, along with morphine, codeine, and in some cases noscapina.

Warning: The information reported is not medical advice and may not be accurate. The contents are for illustrative purposes only and do not replace medical advice.

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