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Anticholinergic agent - Definition


An anticholinergic agent is a substance that opposes the action of acetylcholine, a molecule which plays the role of chemical mediator and permits communication between the nerves of two neurons. Acetylcholine plays a role in memory, learning, and muscular activity. It can also temporarily enlarge the diameter of an artery. Anticholinergic agents are used to increase heart rate, alleviate the symptoms of Parkinson's disease, lower stomach secretions, or those of other glands in the body. It must not be used in the case of hypertrophy of the prostate, heart failure, in certain cases of glaucoma, or in pregnant women.