Atropine (Atropen) Nursing Considerations

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Generic Name


Trade Name



Decreases oral and respiratory secretions, treats sinus bradycardia and heart block, treatment of bronchospasm


Atropine is an anticholinergic which means that it inhibits the effects of the parasympathetic nervous system, specifically acetylcholine. This inhibition causes increase in HR, bronchodilation, decreased GI and respiratory secretions.

Therapeutic Class


Pharmacologic Class

Anticholinergic, antimuscarinic

Nursing Considerations

• Avoid in acute hemorrhage, tachycardia, and angle closure glaucoma
• Monitor patient for tachycardia and palpitations
• May cause urinary retention in elderly patients
• Patients may experience constipation due to slowed GI motility

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Hi guys, let’s talk about atropine also known as Atropen. This is commonly given as an injection, and this is a box that it would come in as an injection. It can be given intravenous intramuscular or as an in intraosseous medication. So remember that the therapeutic class is what the drug does in the body while the pharmacologic class is the actual chemical effect. So the therapeutic class of atropine is it is an antiarrhythmic while the pharmacologic class is, it is an anticholinergic, but more specifically an antimuscarinic agent, which blocks the activity of muscarinic acetylcholine. So the action of atropine is it inhibits the effects of the parasympathetic nervous system, specifically acetylcholine. So atropine is used to decrease secretions – respiratory and GI. It’s also used for sinus bradycardia, heart block, and also bronchospasms. 

So some side effects of atropine commonly are related to the fact that it blocks acetylcholine. So dry mouth and dry skin, constipation, and tachycardia are some of the common side effects. Okay. Let’s look at some nursing considerations for atropine. You’re going to want to monitor your patient for tachycardia and palpitations. Atropine is contraindicated in a patient with an acute hemorrhage, tachycardia, or glaucoma. So in the elderly atropine can cause urinary retention. So keep that in mind. And also because atropin slows GI motility, constipation can occur. So as a surgical nurse for many years, I know that anesthesia will use atropine to decrease secretions in the patient while they are under anesthesia. So that’s it for atropine or Atropen. Now go out and be your best self today. And as always happy nursing.

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