Anticholinergic, antimicrobial, and anticancer perspectives of atropine: a mini-review

Document Type : Mini-Review


1 Department of Agronomy and Plant Breeding, Faculty of Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of Mohaghegh Ardabili, Ardabil, Iran

2 Department of Bacteriology, Faculty of Medical Sciences, Tarbiat Modares University, Tehran, Iran



Atropine metabolite as a tropane alkaloid is mainly applied as anticholinergic medication. Other therapeutic activities such as anticancer and antimicrobial effects have been found for this metabolite. Several side effects such as blurred vision, dryness of the mouth, dry eyes, confusion, photophobia, dizziness, tachycardia, fatigue, flushing, palpitations, urinary hesitance or retention, headache, constipation, nausea, and vomiting have been identified for this bioactive compound. Therefore, the reduction of these side effects is critical to obtain effective therapeutic activities of atropine in physiological conditions. Application of micro and nanoformulations and combination therapy may be desirable strategies. This mini-review has attempted to discuss both advantages and disadvantages of these novel strategies based on recent advances.

Graphical Abstract

Anticholinergic, antimicrobial, and anticancer perspectives of atropine: a mini-review


  • The major therapeutic effect of atropine is anticholinergic activity.
  • Atropine has competitive antagonists of mAChRs and modulates the CNS.
  • Atropine by acting antagonist towards mAChRs and inhibiting the parasympathetic nervous system can hinder these receptors.
  • As the main antiviral mechanism against HSV-1, atropine blocked the glycosylation of viral proteins.
  • Combination therapy can be an effective strategy for decreasing the dose of atropine or its side effects.


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