Benztropine

Brand names of benztropine

  • Apo-Benztropine
  • Bensylate
  • Benztropine Omega
  • Cogentin
  • PMS-Benztropine

Benztropine is an oral prescription medicament that belongs to the group of medications known as anticholinergics. This medication possesses a chemical structure that is akin to atropine and diphenhydramine. Benztropine is used collaterally with other anti-parkinsonian agents to cure different types of parkinsonian syndromes, counting antipsychotic-induced extrapyramidal (involving nerve tracts except the pyramidal tracts) symptoms. While benztropine is a tertiary amine and crosses into the central nervous system (CNS) by itself, compared to trihexyphenidyl, it produces much less stimulation of the CNS. In fact, benztropine has a collective effect, and its therapeutic benefit may take as many as two to three days. This medication acts for a longer duration and is likely to need less frequent dosing compared to diphenhydramine. Benztropine can be beneficial for geriatric or aged patients who are unable to endure cerebral-stimulating agents. The Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) approved this medication for use in 1954.

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Things you need to tell your physician before taking benztropine

As in the instance of any other drug, you ought to adopt a number of precautions before you start using benztropine. In fact, prior to using this medication, you should tell your doctor if you have any allergic reaction to benztropine mesylate or any other medications. In addition, tell your doctor regarding all the prescription as well as non-prescription (over-the-counter) medications being used by you, especially if you are taking digoxin (Lanoxin), amantadine (Symmetrel), levodopa (Larodopa, Sinemet), haloperidol (Haldol), sedatives, for example, thioridazine (Mellaril) or chlorpromazine (Thorazine) and/ or any vitamins.

Before using benztropine, tell your doctor about your entire medical conditions, for instance, if you are suffering from or had any kidney or liver ailments; if you have problems of the heart or blood pressure, glaucoma, myasthenia gravis, and/ or problems with your prostate, stomach or the urinary tract. Women planning to take benztropine should tell their doctors if they are pregnant, planning to become pregnant or are breast feeding. In case any woman becomes pregnant while using benztropine, she should immediately get in touch with the doctor and discuss the problem.

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If patients taking this medication require undergoing any kind of surgery, counting dental surgery, they should tell their surgeon or dentist that they are taking benztropine mesylate.

People taking benztropine mesylate should be aware that this medication may result in a drowsy feeling. Hence, they should not undertake any job, such as driving a vehicle or operating a machine, which requires alertness before they know the extent of the effect the drug has on them. In addition, consuming alcoholic beverages may also increase the drowsiness of the patients. Hence, it is advisable that people taking benztropine mesylate should restrict their alcohol consumption.

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Since benztropine mesylate has the potential to make the skin sensitive/ susceptible to sunlight, people using this drug should shun needless or long-drawn-out exposure to sunlight. Even when it is necessary for them to go out in the sun, they ought to wear protective clothing, use sunglasses and sunscreen.

Usage

Benztropine is generally used to cure symptoms of Parkinson's disease or uncontrolled movements owing to the consequences of certain psychiatric drugs, including antipsychotics, for instance chlorpromazine and haloperidol. In effect benztropine belongs to a class of drugs known as anticholinergics that block a precise naturally occurring substance known as acetylcholine. Using benztropine aids in reducing the stiffness of muscles, perspiration as well as saliva production. In addition, this medication facilitates in improving the walking capability of individuals affected by Parkinson's disease.

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Anticholinergics are known to have the aptitude to stop acute muscle spasms of the neck, back as well as the eyes that are occasionally a result of using psychiatric medicaments. In addition, anticholinergics also have the ability to reduce the other adverse after-effects, for instance, stiffness or rigidity of the muscles (known as extrapyramidal signs or EPS). However, anticholinergics are not useful for treating problems related to mobility caused by tardive dyskinesia (a neurological malady distinguished by instinctive uncontrollable movements, particularly of the mouth, tongue, trunk and limbs). In fact, using anticholinergics in such cases may result in the deterioration of the condition. It is important to note that benztropine mesylate should never be prescribed or given to children under the age of three years.

How to use benztropine

Benztropine mesylate is an oral medication which is generally taken twice or four times every day with meals as well as at bedtime. Alternately, this medication may also be taken as a single dose at bedtime or as prescribed by your physician. It is possible that your physician will begin with a low dose of the medication for you and slowly increase the dosage to find the most appropriate dosage for you. Usually, the dosage of benztropine mesylate depends on the patient's medical conditions as well as his/ her response to therapy with the medication.

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Benztropine mesylate is also available in the form of an oral solution and in case you are using this form of the medication, it is advisable to measure your dose using a special measuring spoon or device. Never use a household spoon, since it may not help you to take the precise dosage of the medication. In order to obtain the utmost benefit of taking benztropine mesylate, it is important to take this medication regularly. Try to take the medication at the same time every day as it would help you to remember taking the medication on time.

Benztropine should be taken a minimum of one hour prior to taking any antacid that may contain calcium, magnesium or aluminum. In addition, there ought to be a minimum interval of one to two hours between taking benztropine and specific medications for diarrhea - adsorbent anti-diarrheals like pectin, kaolin and attapulgite. If you are also taking ketoconazole, take benztropine at least two hours later. It may be noted that antacids as well as a number of drugs meant for treating diarrhea have the potential to thwart the complete absorption of benztropine. On the other hand, if benztropine and ketoconazole are taken concurrently, benztropine may prevent the total absorption of ketoconazole.

In case you are taking benztropine to cure the side effects of some other medication, your physician might direct you to take this drug on a regular basis or only when it is required. On the other hand, if you are taking benztropine to treat Parkinson's disease, you physician might alter the dose of the other medications (for instance, levodopa) taken by you. It is important that you follow your physician's instructions strictly.

Benztropine is unlikely to work very effectively if it is taken for a prolonged period and in such case, the patient may need a different dosing of the medication. Therefore, if you find that the medicine is not yielding the desired results, talk to your physician and he will prescribe a new dosage for you.

It may be noted that benztropine is unlikely to cause addiction or anomalous drug-seeking behaviour among the patients taking this medication. This may, however, be an extremely rare instance with benztropine. It is important not to increase the dosage of the medication, take it more often or use it for a longer period than what has been prescribed by your physician. It is also important not to stop taking this medication abruptly. Instead, talk to your doctor regarding discontinuing this medication and he might prescribe you a special dosage whereby you can reduce the dose slowly before stopping it finally. Hence, it is important to gradually reduce the dosage of benztropine before you discontinue this medication.

Remember, it may take around two to three days before you can feel the benefit of taking this medication. In case your condition persists or deteriorates even after taking benztropine for about a week, talk to your physician regarding the matter.

How benztropine works

The precise method of action of benztropine is still not known. However, it is considered to facilitate the discharge of specific neurological chemicals that enhance control over the movement of muscles.

Side effects

Serious
  • heart palpitations
  • confusion
  • unusually rapid or slow heartbeat
  • bowel obstruction
  • abnormal behaviour
Common
Less common

Possible interactions

As is the case with most other drugs, benztropine is also known to interact with certain other medications, especially herbal products and minerals. Hence, it is important to discuss with your doctor before you start taking any new herbal medicines while you are already taking benztropine. A number of physicians occasionally use phenylalanine (200 mg to 500 mg daily) to cure Parkinson's disease. People who are enduring Parkinson's disease should essentially keep away from calabar bean (chop nut or ordeal bean) as well as octacosanol. Smoking marijuana is also harmful for people living with Parkinson's and taking benztropine. In effect, smoking marijuana is likely to accelerate the heart rate to undesirable levels. Therefore, avoid smoking marijuana, as an increased heart rate is certain to result in serious problems.

While you are taking benztropine, consumption of alcohol may prove to be harmful. Drinking alcoholic beverages while taking this drug may enhance the tranquilizing effects of benztropine. In addition, people taking this medication ought to avoid exposure to sunlight and heat. Taking benztropine is likely to lessen perspiration and this, in turn, may result in an increase in the body temperature enhancing the risks of a heatstroke. Hence, it is advisable to exercise caution. People taking benztropine should also avoid hot environments for the same reason. At the same time, they should also avoid undertaking heavy physical work outs as well as exertion.

Discontinuation

It is not advisable to stop taking benztropine all of a sudden. Prior to discontinuing this medication, it is essential to consult with your doctor and seek his/ her advice on how to lessen the dose of benztropine mesylate gradually.

Storage instructions

Benztropine should always be stored in the container in which it came. After placing the medication in the container ensure that you seal it firmly and keep the container in such a place that is beyond the reach of children. This medication needs to be stored at room temperature and in a place where there isn't much heat or moisture. Never keep benztropine in your bathroom. Discard all medications that is outdated or no longer needed. However, never pour the medication into a drain or flush it down in the toilet. Always use safe methods of discarding the medication. You may talk to your pharmacist or the neighbourhood disposal company regarding the safe ways to dispose of benztropine.

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