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An analeptic, in medicine, is a central nervous system stimulant medication. The term analeptic may also refer specifically to a respiratory analeptic (for example, doxapram), a drug that acts on the central nervous system to stimulate the breathing muscles, improving respiration. Other drugs of this category are Prethcamide and Nikethamide. Nikethamide is now withdrawn due to risk of convulsions.[1]

Mechanism of Action [2]

- Block inhibition, e.g. strychnine (via glycine antagonism), Picrotoxin (via GABA antagonism)

- Increase excitation, e.g. Doxapram, Nikethamide

Historically, the term has referred to "a restorative, or remedies proper to restore the body, when wasted or emaciated by disease or hunger."[3]


  1. ^ "Analeptic". A Dictionary of Nursing. (mirror). 2008. Retrieved 2008-06-08. 
  2. ^ Anaesthesia and Intensive Care A to Z, Yentis, Hirsch and Smith 4th Ed 2009
  3. ^ Cyclopaedia, or Universal Dictionary of Arts and Sciences, 1728.