BAdrenoceptor Agonists

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Agonists of b-adrenoceptors have been used for many years as bronchodilators in the treatment of asthma, and they remain the most widely used group of bronchodilators in therapy. Epinephrine, an agonist exhibiting relative selectivity for b-adrenoceptors, was the first b agonist used in the treatment of asthma. Through the years, agonists have been developed that are selective for the b-adrenoceptor mediating human airway smooth muscle relaxation, viz. the b2-adrenoceptor. Examples of drugs of this type include albuterol (salbutamol), fenoterol, terbutaline, and metaproterenol. Further development has led to drugs, such as formoterol and salmeterol, which exhibit longer residence times in the airways and consequent increases in duration of action [29]. Stereoisomers of

Table 2 Agents That Influence the Tone of Human Airway Smooth Muscle

Classification

Bronchoconstrictors

Bronchodilators

Neurotransmitters

Acetylcholine

Nonadrenergic

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