ergot alkaloidsmedical dictionary

Alkaloids isolated from the ergot fungus claviceps purpurea (hypocreaceae). The ergot alkaloids were the first alpha-adrenergic antagonists discovered, but side effects generally prevent their administration in doses that would produce more than a minimal blockade in humans. Their smooth muscle-stimulating activities may be attributed to alpha-agonistic properties, thus characterizing these alkaloids as a series of partial agonists. They have many clinical applications, notably in obstetrics and the treatment of migraine.

(12 Dec 1998)