Hyoscin, (-)-hyoscin, hyoscine, hyoszin, L6(-),7epoxytropin-
tropate, I-hyoscine, scopolamin, [7(S)(
acid 9-methyl-3-oxa-9-azatricyclo- [3.3.1.02,4]
non-7-ylester, skopolamin, tropane acid ester of
Substance type: tropane alkaloid
Scopolamine was first isolated in 1888 by E. Schmidt
from the roots of (( Scopolia atropoides" (= Scopolia
carniolica). It is very closely related to atropine
and is a characteristic component of plants from
the Nightshade Family (Solanaceae), especially the
psychoactive species. For the pharmaceutical
industry, the most important sources of scopolamine
are the Australian duboisias (Duboisia spp.),
the dried leaves of which can contain up to 70/0
alkaloids. Scopolamine is also produced by the
recrystallization of hyoscyamine.
For medicinal purposes, scopolamine is
administered at dosages of 0.5 to 1 mg, with a total
daily maximum dosage of 3 mg. The lowest lethal
dosage for humans is about 14 mg (Roth et a1.
Scopolamine is a very potent hallucinogen that Leuner (1981 *) classified as a "Class II" hallucinogen
because of its simultaneously hallucinogenic
and narcotic/consciousness-clouding effects (cf.
also Dittrich 1996*).
According to Hunnius, scopolamine is utilized
in medicine as a hypnotic agent, especially for
cases of "agitated states in the mentally ill, for
Parkinson's and paralysis agitans, and for treating
withdrawal of morphine users" (Hunnius 1975,
In contrast to atropine, which initially stimu1ates
the central nervous system, scopolamine
induces predominantly a narcotic paralysis
from the beginning, which is why it serves as a
"chemical straitjacket" for agitated mental
patients. Delirium and hallucinations are not
infrequently seen ... with therapeutic application.
. . . Chronic scopolamine poisoning
with gradually increasing dosages leads to
psychoses with hallucinations. (Fiihner 1943,
In the former East Germany, scopolamine was
still being used as a "chemical straightjacket" in the
1980s (Ludwig 1982, 148*; Schwarz 1984). Scopolamine
may be combined with morphine for
the same purpose (Rompp 1950, 264*). A combination
of scopolamine hydrobromide and morphine
hydrochloride is used as a preoperative
anesthesia (cf. soporific sponge). Recent tests with
mice found that scopolamine hydrobromide causes
a marked increase in anxiety as compared to
scopolamine methylbromide (Rodgers and Cole
To treat motion sickness-a use to which
scopolamine has long been put (Rompp 1950,
265*)-an adhesive patch was developed that
contains 1.5 mg scopolamine and can be adhered
behind the ear as needed. The active component is
absorbed through the skin into the blood vessels
of the ear region and affects the organs of balance
in the ear. This property of scopolamine supports
the idea that the constituents found in witches'
ointments could be absorbed when the mixtures
were rubbed onto the skin.
Scopolamine was a popular inebriant in the
Munich jazz scene of the 1950s. Because the
dosages used were often so high, many of the concertshad to end early.
|Plants CQl1tail1ing. Scop.olall1ine
(from Festi1995*;Hagemann et a1. 1992; Ripperger 1995; supplemented)
Commercial Forms and Regulations
The alkaloid is available as scopolamine hydrobromide
and scopolamine hydrochloride. Pharmacies
usually carry these substances in the form of small flasks for use in injections. Scopolamine
requires a prescription.
See also the entries for Atropa belladonna, cocaine,
and tropane alkaloids.
Flicker, C., M. Serby, and S. H. Ferris. 1990.
Scopolamine effects on memory, language,
visuospatial praxis and psychomotor speed"
Hagemann, K., K. Piek, J. StOckigt, and E. W. Weiler.
1992. Monoclonal antibody-based enzyme
immunoessay for the quantitative determination
of the tropane alkaloid, scopolamine. Planta
Heimann, Hans. 1952. Die Skopolaminwirkung. Basel
and New York: S. Karger.
Keeler, M. H., and F. J. Kane. 1968. The use of
hyoscyamine as a hallucinogen and intoxicant.
American Journal ofPsychiatry 124:852-54.
Ripperger, Helmut. 1995. (5)-scopolamine and (5)norscopolamine
from Atropanthe sinensis. Planta
Rodgers, R. J., and J. C. Cole. 1995. Effects of
scopolamine and its quaternary analogue in the
murine elevated plus-maze test of anxiety.
Behavioral Pharmacology 6:283-89.
Schwarz, H.-D. 1984. Hyoscin (= Scolpolamin) statt
Zwangsjacke. Zeitschrift fur Phytotherapie 5 (3):840-41.