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Ergometrine, a New Alkaloid from Ergot

    Naturevolume 135page919 (1935) | Download Citation



    THE clinical observations of Moir (Brit. Med. J., i, 1119; 1932), that aqueous extracts of ergot are more effective in producing the uterine contractions to which this drug owes its medicinal use than are any of the known ergot alkaloids, for example, ergotinine, ergotoxine, ergotamine, has recently led to the isolation by H. W. Dudley and C. Moir (Brit. Med. J., March 16, 1935) of a new ergot alkaloid which promises to become of great importance in obstetric practice. The new alkaloid, termed ergo-metrine, is a crystalline, water-soluble base, of which 0-82 gm. was obtained from 10 kgm. of defatted ergot. Oral administration of ergometrine, in a dose of 0-5-1 ‘0 mgm., produces strong uterine contractions after 67-8 minutes. By way of contrast, doses as large as 2-3 mgm. of ergotoxine and ergotamine, given by mouth, have a relatively feeble oxytocic effect after an interval of 35 minutes or more, and a similar type of activity is shown by the recently discovered ergot alkaloids, sensibamine and ergo-clavine. Even when given by injection, the ergotoxine-ergotamine alkaloids are rather slow in action, and often produce such unpleasant symptoms as headaches, nausea and depression. Ergometrine is stated to be free from these undesirable subsidiary effects.

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