What is benztropine, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?
Benztropine is an oral and injectable synthetic medication. It is structurally similar to atropine (AtroPen) and diphenhydramine (Benadryl). Benztropine has anticholinergic effects. Anticholinergic drugs block the action of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter (chemical) that nerves use to communicate with other nerves.
In Parkinson's there is an imbalance between levels of dopamine and acetylcholine neurotransmitters. Benztropine helps restore balance by blocking the action of acetylcholine in the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord). Benztropine may also block the uptake and storage of dopamine in the central nervous system (CNS), resulting in the prolongation of the effects of dopamine. Benztropine was approved by the U.S. Food and Administration (FDA) in 1954.
What brand names are available for benztropine?
Is benztropine available as a generic drug?
Do I need a prescription for benztropine?
What are the side effects of benztropine?
Side effects associated with benztropine treatment include
Which drugs or supplements interact with benztropine?
: Co-adminstration of benztropine with other anticholinergic agents increases the risk of anticholinergic side effects such as:
Commonly used drugs with moderate to significant anticholinergic effects are:
- amantadine (Symmetral),
- amoxapine, bupropion (Wellbutrin),
- clozapine (Clozaril),
- cyclobenzaprine (Flexeril),
- disopyramide (Norpace),
- maprotiline (Ludiomil),
- olanzapine (Zyprexa),
- orphenadrine (Norflex),
- first generation antihistamines (for example, diphenhydramine),
- phenothiazine, and
- tricyclic anitdepressants.
Benztropine blocks the activity of acetylcholine and can cancel or interfere with the action of drugs that increase gastrointestinal motility (movement of food through the GI tract). Example of such drugs includes:
Umeclidinium (Incruse Ellipta) and tiotropium (Spiriva) may increase the anticholinergic side effects of benztropine. Coadminstration of these agents with benztropine is not recommended.
Benztropine may increase the blood levels of thiazide diuretics. Caution should be used when these agents are used together.
Benztropine may increase the risk of stomach ulcers from using potassium chloride (Klor-Con). Combination treatment with both agents is generally not recommended.
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Is benztropine safe to take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?
It is not known if benztropine is excreted in breast milk. However, antimuscarinic agents have been reported to suppress lactation in animals and decrease prolactin levels in the blood of nursing mothers. Due to the lack of safety data, benztropine should be used cautiously in females who are breastfeeding or avoided.
What else should I know about benztropine?
What preparations of benztropine are available?
- Tablets: 0.5 mg, 1 mg, 2 mg
- Solution for injection: 1 mg/ 1 ml
How should I keep benztropine stored?
Tablets should be stored at room temperature between 15 C to 30 C (59 F to 86 F). Injection solution should be stored at controlled room temperature between 19.44 C and 25 C (68 F and 77 F).
Benztropine (Cogentin) is a synthetic medication prescribed to manage drug-induced extrapyramidal disorders (except tardive dyskinesia and to treat Parkinson's disease. Side effects, drug interactions, dosage, and pregnancy safety should be reviewed prior to taking this medication.
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Muscle spasms are involuntary muscle contractions that come on suddenly and are usually quite painful. Dehydration, doing strenuous exercise in a hot environment, prolonged muscle use, and certain diseases of the nervous system may cause muscle spasms. Symptoms and signs of a muscle spasm include an acute onset of pain and a possible bulge seen or felt beneath the skin where the muscle is located. Gently stretching the muscle usually resolves a muscle spasm.
Parkinson's disease is a slowly progressive neurological disease characterized by a fixed inexpressive face, a tremor at rest, slowing of voluntary movements, a gait with short accelerating steps, peculiar posture and muscle weakness, caused by degeneration of an area of the brain called the basal ganglia, and by low production of the neurotransmitter dopamine. Most patients are over 50, but at least 10 percent are under 40.
Dystonia disorders cause involuntary movements and prolonged muscle contraction, resulting in twisting body motions, tremor, and abnormal posture. There are many forms of dystonia. Some types of dystonia respond to dopamine, or can be controlled with dedative-type medications, or surgery.
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