Benztropine

The Parkinson's-Reversing Breakthrough

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Definition

Benztropine is classified as an antiparkinsonian agent. It is sold in the United States under the brand name Cogentin and is also available under its generic name.

Purpose

Benztropine is used to treat a group of side effects (called parkinsonian side effects) that include tremors, difficulty walking, and slack muscle tone. These side effects may occur in patients who are taking antipsychot-ic medications used to treat mental disorders such as schizophrenia.

Description

Some medicines, called antipsychotic drugs, that are used to treat schizophrenia and other mental disorders can cause side effects that are similar to the symptoms of Parkinson's disease. The patient does not have Parkinson's disease, but he or she may experience shaking in muscles while at rest, difficulty with voluntary movements, and poor muscle tone. These symptoms are similar to the symptoms of Parkinson's disease.

One way to eliminate these undesirable side effects is to stop taking the antipsychotic medicine. Unfortunately, the symptoms of the original mental disorder usually come back, so in most cases simply stopping the antipsy-chotic medication is not a reasonable option. Some drugs such as benztropine that control the symptoms of

5 Acetylcholine—A naturally occurring chemical in the body that transmits nerve impulses from cell to cell. Generally, it has opposite effects from dopamine and norepinephrine; it causes blood vessels to dilate, lowers blood pressure, and slows the heartbeat. Central nervous system well-being is dependent on a balance among acetylcholine, dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine.

Anticholinergic—Related to the ability of a drug to block the nervous system chemical acetylcholine. When acetylcholine is blocked, patients often experience dry mouth and skin, increased heart rate, blurred vision, and difficulty in urinating. In severe cases, blocking acetylcholine may cloud thinking and cause delirium.

Catheterization—Placing a tube in the bladder so that it can be emptied of urine.

Dopamine—A chemical in brain tissue that serves to transmit nerve impulses (is a neurotransmitter) and helps to regulate movement and emotions.

Neurotransmitter—A chemical in the brain that transmits messages between neurons, or nerve cells.

Parkinsonian—Related to symptoms associated with Parkinson's disease, a nervous system disorder characterized by abnormal muscle movement of the tongue, face, and neck, inability to walk or move quickly, walking in a shuffling manner, restlessness, and/or tremors.

Parkinson's disease also control the parkinsonian side effects of antipsychotic medicines.

Benztropine works by restoring the chemical balance between dopamine and acetylcholine, two neuro-transmitter chemicals in the brain. Taking benztropine along with the antipsychotic medicine helps to control symptoms of the mental disorder, while reducing parkin-sonian side effects. Benztropine is in the same family of drugs (commonly known as anticholinergic drugs) as biperiden and trihexyphenidyl.

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