Health Guide

Reserpine (By mouth)

Reserpine (re-SER-peen)

Treats high blood pressure and other conditions. Belongs to a class of drugs called rauwolfia alkaloids.

Brand Name(s):

There may be other brand names for this medicine.

When This Medicine Should Not Be Used:

You should not use this medicine if you have had an allergic reaction to reserpine. You should not use reserpine if you have taken an MAO inhibitor such as Nardil®, Marplan®, or Parnate® within the past 14 days.

How to Use This Medicine:


  • Your doctor will tell you how much to take and how often.
  • Take this medicine exactly as your doctor ordered. Even if you feel fine your blood pressure can still be high.
  • May be taken with or without food or milk.

If a dose is missed:

  • If you miss a dose of reserpine, You should not use the missed dose at all, just return to your regular dosing schedule.
  • You should not use two doses at the same time.

How to Store and Dispose of This Medicine:

  • Store at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light.
  • Keep all medicine out of the reach of children.

Drugs and Foods to Avoid:

Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.

  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are taking diet pills, or medicine for allergies or colds.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol while taking this medicine.

Warnings While Using This Medicine:

  • Check with your doctor before taking if you have heart, kidney, or Parkinson's disease, asthma, epilepsy (seizures), stomach or intestinal ulcers, gallstones, colitis, or depression.
  • Talk with your doctor before taking this medicine if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • Reserpine may make you dizzy or drowsy. Be careful if you drive a car or operate machinery.
  • Tell your doctor or dentist that you are taking reserpine before having any kind of surgery.
  • Don't suddenly stop taking reserpine without first asking your doctor.

Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine:

Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:

  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Chest pain
  • Trouble breathing
  • Skin rash, blisters, severe itching or hives
  • Severe stomach pain
  • Dark or bloody stools

If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:

  • Headache, nervousness, or trouble concentrating
  • Drowsiness, dizziness, or fainting
  • Nausea, vomiting, or upset stomach
  • Dry mouth or stuffy nose
  • Diarrhea or weight gain
  • Sexual trouble
  • Depressed mood, strange dreams, or nightmares
  • Breast swelling in men

If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088

Last Updated: 7/4/2018
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