Drugs that produce an effect similar to that obtained by stimulation of the sympathetic nervous system. Some of these predominantly act on the adrenergic alpha-receptors (e.g. noradrenaline (norepinephrine)), while others act on the adrenergic beta-receptors (e.g. isoproterenol). Others have little direct effect on the adrenergic receptors but enhance the release of natural catecholamine from the sympathetic nerve terminals (e.g. amphetamine, phenylpropanolamine). Sympathomimetic drugs are used (1) in the treatment of open-angle glaucoma by decreasing aqueous humour secretion and increase the outflow through the trabecular meshwork thus reducing the intraocular pressure (e.g. adrenaline (epinephrine), apraclonidine, dipivefrine hydrochloride, brimonidine tartrate), (2) dilate the pupil without affecting accommodation (e.g. phenylephrine) and (3) constrict conjunctival blood vessels (e.g. naphazoline, tetrahydrozoline). Syn. adrenergic agonist; adrenergic stimulating agent. See alpha-adrenergic agonist; mydriatic.
Millodot: Dictionary of Optometry and Visual Science, 7th edition. © 2009 Butterworth-Heinemann