Active Ingredients

Apomorphine – Effect, Application & Risks


The similarity of apomorphine with the body’s own messenger dopamine makes it one of the most effective dopamine mimics available to medicine and pharmacy today. Previously used primarily as an emetic, apomorphine now serves an extended sphere of action in different indication environments.

What is apomorphine?

Apomorphine is one of the aporphine aclaloids. The morphine derivative is obtained by heating morphine with concentrated hydrochloric acid. Its structure is closely related to that of human dopamine. The rather water-resistant crystals of the salt apomorphine hydrochloride can come in different colors, white, slightly yellowish-brownish or gray-green.

It turns green under the influence of light. Although it is a dopamine agonist, the morphine derivative itself is not opioid. The triggering effect is more like that of the body’s own messenger substance dopamine. The nausea-triggering apomorphine used to be used primarily for poisoning. From 2001, it was used in the form of a lozenge placed under the tongue on the oral mucosa in the treatment of male erectile dysfunction .

Apomorphine has occasionally been used as an adjunct to drug withdrawal. The active ingredient is most frequently and most importantly used in the treatment of late -stage Parkinson’s disease, as a continuous infusion or subcutaneous injection. Apomorphine is also used in homeopathy .

Pharmacological action

In contrast to libido -enhancing preparations, the proerectile effect of apomorphine is more centrally mechanical. Via the dopamine connection in the hypothalamus , the active ingredient relaxes the muscles in the erectile tissue of the penis via several neuronal stages . The improved blood supply promotes erectile function.Since the active ingredient is very well absorbed by the cells, administration as a tablet under the tongue is most successful. Here it shows the desired success due to the rapid absorption in the mucous membrane within 20 minutes. Apomorphine does not produce obsessive-compulsive behavior , leaves sex drive unchanged, and has no negative psychological impact.

Apomorphine is particularly suitable for the treatment of late-stage Parkinson’s disease. The symptoms of this disease are due to a lack of dopamine. The reason for this is the loss or destruction of dopamine-producing nerve cells in the central nervous system . The normal course of movement is severely disturbed, resulting in tremor ( shaking ), akinesia ( movement disorder) and rigor (strong muscle tension, muscle rigidity ).

Medical Application & Use

Due to its property as a dopamine receptor agonist, apomorphine is well suited to reducing the motor symptoms of Parkinson’s disease in addition to the administration of levodopa . Its effect lies in the brain , where it mimics the way the body’s own messenger substance works. However, due to the severe side effects, it is not considered a priority drug.

The nausea-triggering effect also sets in right here when certain dopamine receptors in the central nervous system are stimulated. In order to empty the patient’s stomach, the drug domperidone is given two days before the start of treatment.

As an emetic, apomorphine has now been replaced by a much more tolerable drug, since there is a risk of cardiovascular disease or respiratory paralysis , especially in children . Apomorphine attracted negative attention when taking illegal drugs in the drug scene.

Risks & side effects

The side effects that occur may depend on the form of administration (syringe, tablet, infusion, ointment) and the frequency of administration. The common combination of apomorphine with levodopa makes it difficult to identify the cause of the drug side effects that actually occurred.In addition to the increased tendency to nausea and nausea , hypotension (drop in blood pressure when standing up from a lying position), uncontrollable, voluntary movements, confusion or drowsiness , hallucinations , digestive and respiratory disorders often occurred. Infections , mouth ulcers, and taste disorders occur, as does inflammation of the nasal or pharyngeal mucosa.

More rarely, the increased formation of white blood cells and psychoses . Obsessive-compulsive behaviors may require a change in treatment. There are interactions with clozapine (agent used in the treatment of mental and nervous symptoms) and neuroleptics taken at the same time . Apomorphine can increase the effects of antihypertensive drugs and alcohol .

Pregnant and breastfeeding women are not advised to take it at all, as are children and adolescents, people with impaired liver and kidney function, with an existing tendency to nausea , with hypotension, cardiovascular or lung diseases. Elderly and debilitated people should only be prescribed apomorphine after a careful benefit/risk assessment.

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Hello! I am Lisa Newlon, and I am a medical writer and researcher with over 10 years of experience in the healthcare industry. I have a Master’s degree in Medicine, and my deep understanding of medical terminology, practices, and procedures has made me a trusted source of information in the medical world.