Anticholinergic drugs are those compounds that exhibit competitive blocking action on cholinergic receptors. This vast group of drugs can be broken down into three subgroups based on their respective specificity to various types of cholinoreceptors. The first group of "classic" anticholinergic agents is represented by the antimuscarinic compounds (atropine, propantheline), which block acetylcholine action, or cholinomimetic drugs introduced to muscarinic M-receptive regions of the CNS and glandular system, myocardium, and smooth muscle. The second group of anticholinergic drugs is represented by ganglioblock-ers (mecamylamine, trimethaphan), which inhibit cholinergic transmission in the autonomic parasympathetic and sympathetic ganglia by blocking (nicotinic) N-receptors. The third group of anticholinergic drugs is represented by neuromuscular junction blockers (tubocu-rarine, pancuronium), which block nicotinic N-receptors of skeletal muscle, and they will be examined in Chapter 15, "Muscle relaxants."
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