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Clinical & Experimental Allergy

The airways response to phenylephrine after blockade of alpha and beta receptors in extrinsic bronchial asthma

Authors

  • K. R. PATEL,

    1. Department of Respiratory Medicine, Western Infirmary and Knightswood Hospital, Glasgow
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  • JAMES W. KERR

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Respiratory Medicine, Western Infirmary and Knightswood Hospital, Glasgow
      Dr J. W. Kerr, Department of Respiratory Medicine, Western Infirmary, Glasgow.
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Dr J. W. Kerr, Department of Respiratory Medicine, Western Infirmary, Glasgow.

Summary

Phenylephrine, a powerful alpha receptor stimulant, has been shown to cause a significant fall in the FEV1 and SGaw in six patients with extrinsic bronchial asthma after prior beta blockade with propranolol. In contrast, propranolol or phenylephrine after prior beta blockade failed to effect a significant change in the FEV1 and SGaw in five normal subjects. The phenylephrine effect can be completely inhibited by alpha receptor blocking drugs, phenoxybenzamine and thymoxamine. These observations suggest that the bronchomotor tone in asthma is largely controlled by the sympathetic activity and that there are alpha receptors in the human airways which in the presence of beta blockade can be stimulated to give bronchoconstriction.

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