Veratrum viride; hypotensive and cardiac effects of intravenous use

Calif Med. 1953 Oct;79(4):300-5.


The hypotensive action of veratrum viride given intravenously was studied in 24 patients, 22 of them hypertensive and 2 normotensive. Vasodepression of considerable but variable degree was obtained in all patients. Maximum hypotension occurred 8 to 15 minutes after injection and relative hypotension usually lasted at least two hours. In four patients subnormal hypotension occurred but there were no clinical manifestations of shock. The blood pressure rose promptly when pressor drugs were administered.A dose of 0.3 to 0.5 mg. brought about a satisfactory decrease in blood pressure. The degree of decrease was affected by the speed of administration and in a few patients by idiosyncratic sensitivity to the drug. Veratrum has an extravagal action on the pulse rate, and in that and other respects resembles digitalis. Veratrum should be given with caution to digitalized patients. Atropine reduced but did not abolish the hypotensive effect of veratrum, and was more effective when given before veratrum. This indicates that the parasympathomimetic action of veratrum is important in the mechanism of blood pressure reduction.

MeSH terms

  • Blood Pressure*
  • Cardiovascular System / drug effects*
  • Heart Rate*
  • Hematinics*
  • Hypertension / therapy*
  • Hypotension*
  • Injections, Intravenous*
  • Parasympathomimetics*
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations*
  • Plant Extracts*
  • Vasoconstrictor Agents*
  • Veratrum Alkaloids / therapeutic use*
  • Veratrum*
  • Vitamin B 12 / blood*


  • Hematinics
  • Parasympathomimetics
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations
  • Plant Extracts
  • Vasoconstrictor Agents
  • Veratrum Alkaloids
  • Vitamin B 12