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Cholinergic blocking drugs inhibit the activity of acetylcholine in parasympathetic nerve fibers (see Chap. 24 for a description of the role of acetylcholine in the transmission of nerve impulses across parasympathetic nerve fibers). When the activity of acetylcholine is inhibited, nerve impulses traveling along parasympa-thetic nerve fibers cannot pass from the nerve fiber to the effector organ or structure.

Because of the wide distribution of parasympathetic nerves, these drugs affect many organs and structures of the body, including the eyes, the respiratory and gastrointestinal tracts, the heart, and the bladder (see Display 25-1).

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