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relaxant (re-lak´sant)

1. Relaxing; causing relaxation; reducing tension, especially muscular tension. 2. An agent that reduces muscular tension or produces skeletal muscle paralysis, usually referred to as a muscle r.
depolarizing r. an agent, e.g., succinylcholine, that induces depolarization of the motor endplate and so paralyzes skeletal muscle by a phase I block.
muscle r. a drug with the capacity to reduce muscle tone; may be either a peripherally acting muscle r. such as curare and act to produce blockade at the neuromuscular junction (and thus useful in surgery), or act as a centrally acting muscle r. exerting its effects within the brain and spinal cord to diminish muscle tone (and thus useful in muscle spasm or spasticity).
muscular r. an agent that relaxes striated muscle; includes drugs acting at the brain and/or spinal cord level or directly on muscle to decrease tone, as well as the neuromuscular r.'s.
neuromuscular r. an agent, e.g., curare or succinylcholine, that produces relaxation of striated muscle by interruption of transmission of nervous impulses at the myoneural junction.
nondepolarizing r. an agent, e.g., tubocurarine, that paralyzes skeletal muscle without depolarization of the motor endplate, as in phase II block.
smooth muscle r. an agent, such as an antispasmodic, bronchodilator, or vasodilator, that reduces the tension or tone of smooth (involuntary) muscle.


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