Sympathomimetic drugs are substances that mimic the effects of the hormone epinephrine (adrenaline) and the hormone/neurotransmitter norepinephrine (noradrenaline). They all raise blood pressure and are all weak bases.
Mechanisms of Action
Norepinephrine Transporter Blockade
Classical sympathomimetic drugs are amphetamines (including MDMA), ephedrine and cocaine, which act by blocking and reversing norepinephrine transporter (NET) activity. NET is a transport protein expressed on the surface of some cells that clears noradrenaline and adrenaline from the extracellular space and into cells, terminating the signaling effects.
Adrenergic Receptor Agonism
Inhibition of Epinephrine and Norepinephrine Metabolism
Inhibition of norepinephrine metabolism can produce sympathomimetic effects. Norepinephrine is mainly metabolized by the enzyme monoamine oxidase, the monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI) drugs can induce such effects.
Norepinephrine is synthesized by the body into epinephrine, causing central nervous system stimulation. Thus, all sympathimimetic amines fall into the larger group of stimulants (see psychoactive drug chart). Many of these stimulants have therepeutic use and abuse potential, can induce tolerance, and possibly physical dependence.
- Amines,+Sympathomimetic at the US National Library of Medicine Medical Subject Headings (MeSH)