Peripheral-acting adrenergic antagonists reduce resistance to blood flow in small arteries by inhibiting the release of epinephrine and norepinephrine. Reserpine (Serpalan) is the only available drug in this class.

Potential effects include dizziness, lightheadedness, diarrhea, heartburn and a stuffy nose. Reserpine is commonly used in people with severe hypertension and is often prescribed in combination with a diuretic and a beta blocker (or another medication that slows the heart rate).

Publication Review By: Lawrence Appel, M.D., and Rafael H. Llinas, M.D.

Published: 16 Jul 2013

Last Modified: 16 Jul 2013