Cogentin (Benztropine)

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What is Cogentin (Benztropine) prescribed for?

 

 Parkinson’s disease affects the nerve cells in your brain the produce dopamine. Now, dopamine is a type of neurotransmitter. Your body creates it, and your nervous system uses it to send messages between nerve cells.  It plays a big part of our unique human ability to think and plan. It helps us strive, focus, and find things interesting. Too much or too little of it can lead to a vast range of health issues. Some are serious, like Parkinson’s disease.

 

 This medication is used to treat symptoms found in Parkinson’s disease. At times it is used to treat involuntary movements due to the side effects of certain psychiatric drugs (antipsychotics such as chlorpromazine/haloperidol).

 

 Benztropine belongs to a class of medication called anticholinergics that work by blocking a certain natural substance (acetylcholine). It is put to work by decreasing muscle stiffness, sweating, and production of saliva, and can help improve overall walking abilities in people with Parkinson’s disease.

 

 This medication comes in the two doses, which are 1mg and 2mg. Remember your dose is based on your medical background and your overall response to the treatment. If your doctor or pharmacist has given you some information in the form of a pamphlet, take the time to read up on this drug, and if you have any questions or concerns regarding this medication, please consult your doctor.

This medication is taken by mouth, usually 2 to 4 times a day, and taken with meals, and at bedtime. Your doctor may start you on a lower dosage to help prevent the occurrence of any side effects. It is likely your dosage will be increased over a period of time.

Take this medication at least 1 hour before antacids containing magnesium, aluminum, or calcium. Allow at least 1-2 hours between doses of benztropine and certain drugs for diarrhea (adsorbent antidiarrheals such as kaolin, pectin, attapulgite). Take this medication at least 2 hours after ketoconazole. Antacids and some drugs for diarrhea may prevent the full absorption of benztropine, and this product may prevent the complete absorption of ketoconazole when these products are taken together.

If you are taking this medication for side effects from another medication, your doctor may instruct you to take it on a regular schedule or only as needed. If you are taking this medication for Parkinson's disease, your doctor may change the dose of your other medications (such as levodopa). Follow your doctor's instructions closely.

When this medication is used for a long time, it may not work as well. Talk with your doctor if this medication stops working well.

Though it helps many people, this medication may sometimes cause addiction. This risk may be higher if you have a substance use disorder (such as overuse of or addiction to drugs/alcohol). Take this medication exactly as prescribed to lower the risk of addiction. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more details.

Before taking this medication, advise your doctor if you are allergic to Benztropine, or if you have any other allergies.

Speak with your doctor of your medical history before taking this medication, especially if you have had any of the following; intestinal diseases (e.g., Clostridium difficile-associated diarrhea, enteritis, ulcerative colitis).

It is best to let your doctor know of all of your medical history, especially of those listed below; personal or family history of glaucoma (angle-closure type), breathing problems (such as asthma, emphysema), diarrhea caused by an infection, heart problems (such as angina, heart attack, heart failure, fast/irregular heartbeat), high/low blood pressure, intestinal problems (such as chronic constipation, ileus, ulcerative colitis, bowel obstruction), blockage of the bladder/esophagus/stomach/intestines, kidney disease, liver disease, mental/mood problems (such as anxiety, dementia, psychosis), a certain muscle disease (myasthenia gravis), a certain nerve disease (autonomic neuropathy), seizure, stomach problems (such as acid reflux, hiatal hernia, ulcer), stroke, overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism), problems urinating (for example, due to enlarged prostate, neurogenic bladder), personal or family history of a substance use disorder (such as overuse of or addiction to drugs/alcohol).

This medication decreases saliva production, an effect that can increase gum and tooth problems (such as cavities, gum disease). Take special care with your dental hygiene (such as brushing, flossing) and have regular dental check-ups.

Benztropine may make you sweat less, making you more likely to get heat stroke. Avoid doing things that may cause you to overheat, such as hard work or exercise in hot weather, or using hot tubs. When the weather is hot, drink a lot of fluids and dress lightly. If you overheat, quickly look for a place to cool down and rest. Get medical help right away if you have a fever that does not go away, mental/mood changes, headache, or dizziness.

Drowsiness, dizziness, constipation, flushing, nausea, nervousness, blurred vision, or dry mouth may occur as your body adjusts to the medication. If any of these effects persist or worsen, tell your doctor promptly.

To relieve dry mouth, you may suck on hard candy or ice chips, sugarless chewing gum, drink water or use a saliva substitute.

There is some serious side effects to this medication, and if you are encountering any of them, notify your doctor right away. These side effects are listed below; high fever, decreased sexual ability, severe stomach/abdominal pain, difficult/painful swallowing, difficulty urinating, weakness.

Seek Medical attention right away however if you are experiencing any of these; chest pain, severe dizziness/fainting, fast/irregular/slow heartbeat, mental/mood changes (such as confusion, hallucinations, memory problems), eye pain/swelling/redness, vision changes (such as seeing rainbows around lights at night).

What happens if I suddenly stop taking this medication?

There may be a relapse in symptoms as well as side effects. You should speak your doctor before stop taking this medication.

 

What is the best dosage to take?

The diagnosis with your doctor will be able to determine the best dosage for your treatment. Work with your doctor closely for dosage and dosing schedules.

 

What happens if I miss a dose?

You should take the missed dose as soon you realize you have forgotten. If the forgotten dose is closer to your next scheduled dose, take the next schedule dose to avoid overlapping in dose.

 

What is the best way to store this medication?

This medication is stored at room temperature, and should be kept away from children and pets. Do not throw away this medication in the wastebasket. If you are uncertain how to dispose of this medication speak with your pharmacist for help in safely disposing of this medication.

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