Restatement and prospectives of ergot alkaloids in clinical neurology and psychiatry

A. Agnoli, S. Ruggieri, M. Casacchia

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The pharmacological action of the ergot alkaloids on the brain, except for the well-known hallucinogenic effects, has never been well understood. If we exclude the documented a-adrenolytic action and the central nervous system depression, nothing has been described with certainty. However, therapeutically, a pharmacologic action could be documented both in the elderly and in chronic cerebrovascular disorders, such as reduction in subjective symptomatology and overall improvement in the autonomy. This was generally associated with a psychotonic action. Considering these results for many years, researchers have been attempting to demonstrate the pharmacological action of ergot alkaloids on the cerebral circulation and metabolism. It has, therefore, been wished to demonstrate the effect on the cerebral blood flow, the metabolism and the EEG. The possibility of a psychopharmacological effect, whose mode of action could not be evidenced evaluating parameters using such coarse techniques, has been demonstrated. In our view, the new dimension shown by bromocriptine is in accordance with these considerations. Therefore, our presentation should be restricted to the results and the prospectives opened by bromocriptine in neuropsychiatry. We shall report our personal results obtained in parkinsonism, degenerative chorea and the depressive syndromes. Studies in progress in the elderly and in epilepsy will also be reported.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)174-188
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 1978


  • Chorea
  • Depression
  • Ergot alkaloids
  • Extrapyramidal disorders
  • Neuropharmacology
  • Parkinsonism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology


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