Reserpine is used to treat high blood pressure. It also is used to treat severe agitation in patients with mental disorders. Reserpine is in a class of medications called rauwolfia alkaloids. It works by slowing the activity of the nervous system, causing the heartbeat to slow and the blood vessels to relax.
High blood pressure is a common condition and when not treated, can cause damage to the brain, heart, blood vessels, kidneys and other parts of the body. Damage to these organs may cause heart disease, a heart attack, heart failure, stroke, kidney failure, loss of vision, and other problems. In addition to taking medication, making lifestyle changes will also help to control your blood pressure. These changes include eating a diet that is low in fat and salt, maintaining a healthy weight, exercising at least 30 minutes most days, not smoking, and using alcohol in moderation.
Reserpine comes as a tablet to take by mouth. It usually is taken once daily. Take reserpine at around the same time every day. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take reserpine exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
Reserpine controls high blood pressure or symptoms of agitation, but does not cure them. Continue to take reserpine even if you feel well. Do not stop taking reserpine without talking to your doctor. If you suddenly stop taking reserpine you may develop high blood pressure and experience unwanted side effects.
This medication may be be prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of taking reserpine if you are 65 years of age or older. Older adults should not usually take high doses of reserpine because it is not as safe as other medications that can be used to treat the same condition.
Your doctor may prescribe a low-salt or low-sodium diet. Follow these directions carefully.
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.
loss of appetite
decreased sexual ability
swollen ankles or feet
If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online [at http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch] or by phone [1-800-332-1088].
Reserpine may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while you are taking this medication.
Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom). Throw away any medication that is outdated or no longer needed. Talk to your pharmacist about the proper disposal of your medication.
In case of overdose, call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. If the victim has collapsed or is not breathing, call local emergency services at 911.
Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. Your blood pressure should be checked regularly to determine your response to reserpine.
Your doctor may ask you to check your pulse (heart rate) daily and will tell you how rapid it should be. Ask your doctor or pharmacist to teach you how to take your pulse. If your pulse is slower than it should be, call your doctor before taking reserpine that day.
Weigh yourself every day. Call your doctor if you experience rapid weight gain.
Do not let anyone else take your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.
It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.
Last Revised - 02/15/2015
AHFS® Consumer Medication Information. © Copyright, 2015. The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, Inc., 7272 Wisconsin Avenue, Bethesda, Maryland. All Rights Reserved. Duplication for commercial use must be authorized by ASHP.