Central Nervous System Stimulants

chapter overview

This chapter discusses a broad range of agents that stimulate the central nervous system (CNS). The analeptics classically are a group of agents with a limited range of use because of the general nature of their effects. The methyl-xanthines have potent stimulatory properties, mainly cortical at low doses but with more general effects as the dose is increased. The central sympathomimetic agents amphetamine and close relatives have alerting and antidepressant properties but are medically used more often as anorexi-ants. The antidepressant drugs are used most frequently in depressive disorders and can be broadly grouped into the monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), the monoamine reuptake inhibitors, and agents acting on autoreceptors. A small group of miscellaneously acting drugs, which includes several hallucinogens, cocaine, and cannabinoids, concludes the chapter.

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