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Medications and Drugs

Brand Names:

Generic Name: reserpine (Pronunciation: re SER peen)

What is reserpine ()?

Reserpine lowers blood pressure by decreasing the levels of certain chemicals in your blood. This allows your blood vessels (veins and arteries) to relax (widen) and your heart to beat more slowly and easily.

Reserpine is used to treat hypertension (high blood pressure).

Reserpine is also sometimes used to treat psychotic states such as schizophrenia.

Reserpine may also be used for purposes other than those listed in this medication guide.

What are the possible side effects of reserpine ()?

If you experience any of the following serious side effects, stop taking reserpine and seek emergency medical attention:

  • an allergic reaction (difficulty breathing; closing of your throat; swelling of your lips, tongue, or face; or hives);
  • a very irregular heartbeat;
  • heart failure (shortness of breath, swelling of ankles or legs, sudden weight gain of 5 pounds or more);
  • uncontrollable hand, arm, or leg movements; or
  • chest pain.

Other, less serious side effects are more likely to occur. Continue to take reserpine and talk to your doctor if you experience

  • fatigue or drowsiness;
  • dizziness (avoid standing up too quickly and use caution when performing hazardous activities);
  • anxiety, depression, or nightmares;
  • diarrhea, nausea, or vomiting (take reserpine with food or milk if it upsets your stomach);
  • stuffy nose or a dry mouth (sucking on ice chips or sugarless hard candy may relieve a dry mouth);
  • blurred vision;
  • weight gain; or
  • impotence or difficulty ejaculating.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

What is the most important information I should know about reserpine ()?

Use caution when driving, operating machinery, or performing other hazardous activities. Reserpine may cause dizziness or drowsiness. If you experience dizziness or drowsiness, avoid these activities.

Use caution when rising from a sitting or lying position, especially first thing in the morning. You may become dizzy while taking reserpine and you may fall and injure yourself if you get up quickly.

Do not stop taking reserpine suddenly. Even if you feel better, you need this medication to control your condition. Stopping suddenly could cause severe high blood pressure, anxiety, and other dangerous side effects.

Avoid alcohol. Alcohol will greatly increase the effects of reserpine, which could be dangerous.

Before having surgery, tell your doctor or dentist that you are taking this medication.

Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

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