Side effects

Although benztropine helps to control the side effects of antipsychotic drugs, it can produce side effects of its own. A person taking benztropine may have some of the following reactions, which may vary in intensity:

• blurred vision

• nausea or vomiting

• constipation

• disorientation

• drowsiness

• irritability

• increased heart rate

• urinary retention

Dry mouth, if severe to the point of causing difficulty speaking or swallowing, may be managed by reducing or temporarily discontinuing benztropine. Chewing sugarless gum or sucking on sugarless candy may also help to increase the flow of saliva. Some artificial saliva products may give temporary relief.

Men with prostate enlargement may be especially prone to urinary retention. Symptoms of this problem include having difficulty starting a urine flow and more difficulty passing urine than usual. This side effect may be severe and require discontinuation of the drug. Urinary retention may require catheterization. People who think they may be experiencing any side effects from this or any other medication should tell their physician.

Patients who take an overdose of benztropine are treated with forced vomiting, removal of stomach contents and stomach washing, activated charcoal, and respiratory support if needed. They are also given physostig-mine, an antidote for anticholinergic drug poisoning.

Interactions

When drugs such as benztropine are taken with antidepressants such as amitriptyline, imipramine, trim-ipramine, desipramine, nortriptyline, protriptyline, amoxapine, and doxepin or with many antihistamines that also have anticholinergic properties, the effects and side effects of benztropine are usually intensified.

Drugs such as benztropine decrease the speed with which food moves through the stomach and intestines. Because of this, the absorption of other drugs being taken may be enhanced by benztropine. Patients receiving ben-ztropine should be alert to unusual responses to other drugs they might be taking and report any changes to their physician.

Resources books

American Society of Health-System Pharmacists. AHFS Drug

Information 2002. Bethesda: American Society of

Health-System Pharmacists, 2002. DeVane, C. Lindsay, Pharm.D. "Drug Therapy for Psychoses."

In Fundamentals of Monitoring Psychoactive Drug

Therapy. Baltimore: Williams and Wilkins, 1990.

Jack Raber, Pharm.D.

Bereavement see Grief

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