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Molecules 2012, 17(5), 5289-5309; doi:10.3390/molecules17055289
Review

The Pharmacological Properties and Therapeutic Use of Apomorphine

1,2
1 Institute of Pathophysiology, Medical Faculty, University of Ljubljana, Zaloška 4, SI-1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia 2 Laboratory for Movement Disorders, Department of Neurological Disorders, University Clinical Centre Ljubljana, Zaloška 2, SI-1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia
Received: 1 March 2012 / Revised: 22 April 2012 / Accepted: 25 April 2012 / Published: 7 May 2012
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Abstract

Apomorphine (APO) is an aporphine derivative used in human and veterinary medicine. APO activates D1, D2S, D2L, D3, D4, and D5 receptors (and is thus classified as a non-selective dopamine agonist), serotonin receptors (5HT1A, 5HT2A, 5HT2B, and 5HT2C), and α-adrenergic receptors (α1B, α1D, α2A, α2B, and α2C). In veterinary medicine, APO is used to induce vomiting in dogs, an important early treatment for some common orally ingested poisons (e.g., anti-freeze or insecticides). In human medicine, it has been used in a variety of treatments ranging from the treatment of addiction (i.e., to heroin, alcohol or cigarettes), for treatment of erectile dysfunction in males and hypoactive sexual desire disorder in females to the treatment of patients with Parkinson's disease (PD). Currently, APO is used in patients with advanced PD, for the treatment of persistent and disabling motor fluctuations which do not respond to levodopa or other dopamine agonists, either on its own or in combination with deep brain stimulation. Recently, a new and potentially important therapeutic role for APO in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease has been suggested; APO seems to stimulate Ab catabolism in an animal model and cell culture, thus reducing the rate of Ab oligomerisation and consequent neural cell death.
Keywords: apomorphine; Alzheimer’s disease; dopamine agonist; erectile dysfunction; Parkinson’s disease apomorphine; Alzheimer’s disease; dopamine agonist; erectile dysfunction; Parkinson’s disease
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Ribarič, S. The Pharmacological Properties and Therapeutic Use of Apomorphine. Molecules 2012, 17, 5289-5309.

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