Ergoline derivatives - Helping people trip, contract, think, relax, and more

Okay, so we've all heard of LSD, right? Acid trips, Timothy Leary, "Tomorrow Never Knows", dirty hippies, "I am a golden god", etc. Fact is, LSD is but one of an impressively large number of derivatives of a compound called ergoline. These derivatives can be found in ergot (parasitic fungus that grows on grains and grasses), Hawaiian baby woodrose (climbing vine native to the Indian subcontinent but apparently also grown in Hawaii), and several species of morning glory (flowing plant that blooms in the morning). In addition to their use/abuse as psychedelic drugs, many natural and synthetic derivatives of ergoline have more legitimate applications:

  • ergonovine and methylergonovine (Methergine, Methylergometrine) - directly stimulate contractions of uterine smooth muscle (oxytocic) - have historically been used to induce labour, but are now only used to prevent and treat postpartum and postabortion hemorrhage (uncontrolled bleeding occurring after birth or abortion) - contraction of the uterine wall around bleeding blood vessels produces haemostasis (stops bleeding)
  • ergotamine, dihydroergotamine (Migranal), and methysergide (Sansert) - cerebral vasoconstrictors (cause blood vessels in the brain to narrow) used to treat migraine and cluster headaches - these headaches are thought to be caused by cerebral vasodilation (expansion of blood vessels in the brain)
  • dihydroergotoxine/ergoloid mesylates (Gerimal, Hydergine, Niloric) - nootropic ("smart drug" - increases brain functions and capacities) used to combat the detrimental effects of dementia or stroke
  • bromocriptine (Parlodel), pergolide (Permax), and lisuride (Dopergin, Prolacam, Revanil) - mimic the action of dopamine, a chemical transmitter in the brain - used for numerous purposes including treatment of pituitary tumours (dopamine inhibits the release of prolactin, which is often overproduced when these tumours are present and causes a variety of problems) and Parkinson's disease (acts in place of dopamine to alleviate symptoms)
  • there are people with dual diagnosis of drug abuse and alcohol abuse who are getting the best treatment via dual diagnosis treatment, available at drug treatment centers that are helping people all over the country
Perrine, Daniel M. The chemistry of mind-altering drugs: history, pharmacology, and cultural context. Washington, DC: American Chemical Society, 1996.

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