In this session, we will be discussing the consumer medication information for benztropine, trade name CogentinTM.
What it’s for & How to take
Benztropine is used to treat the tremors associated with Parkinson’s disease. This medication is also used to help treat the involuntary movements caused by side effects from the use of anti-psychotic medications. Benztropine works by blocking the effects of a natural chemical in the body. Blocking this chemical decreases muscle stiffness and may help to decrease muscle spasms, twitches, and tremors.
Even though benztropine may be helpful in treating the Parkinson-like symptoms caused by antipsychotic medications, this medication is not to be used to treat a muscle condition known as tardive dyskinesia. Tardive dyskinesia is a long-term muscle movement condition and treatment with benztropine may make it worse.
This medication is usually taken as a single dose at bedtime or may be prescribed to be taken up to 4 times daily as directed by your doctor. Your doctor may start benztropine at a small dose and gradually increase the dose over a few days or weeks to get the best dose for your condition. It may take up to 3 days before you notice the benefit of this medication.
If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If it is near the time of your next dose, skip it and continue with your normal dose time. Do not take a double dose to make up the missed dose.
Take benztropine at least 2 hours before or 6 hours after vitamins or antacids such as TumsTM or MylantaTM. Some foods high in calcium such as yogurt or milk may also block this medication from working. Ask your pharmacist what you can and can’t have with this medication.
If you have taken benztropine on a regular basis for an extended period of time, you may find that the medication may not work as well. Notify your doctor if you notice that this medication is not controlling your symptoms as well as it did when you first started taking it.
Do not stop taking benztropine abruptly without talking to your doctor. If this medication is stopped abruptly, the Parkinson-like symptoms may quickly return.
Warnings & Cautions
- This medication may decrease your saliva which may lead to dental problems such as cavities and gum disease. Pay attention to dental hygiene and let your dentist know you are taking this medication at your next visit.
- While taking benztropine, your body does not sweat as much. In hot temperatures, the body may have a difficult time cooling itself. This may lead to heat stroke. Help prevent heat stroke while taking this medication. Avoid exercise in hot weather, saunas, or anything else which may increase your body temperature. Drink plenty of water.
- This medication may make you dizzy, drowsy, or blur your vision. Do not drive or do any activity that requires focus and attention until you are sure you can do them safely. Avoid alcoholic beverages while taking benztropine.
- You are more likely to get a sunburn while taking this medication. If you can’t stay out of the sun, cover up with clothing and sunscreen.
- The elderly and children may be more sensitive to the side effects of this medication, especially the dry mouth, blurred vision, and drowsiness. Talk with your doctor or pharmacist about this.
- Let your pharmacist or doctor know if you are pregnant or breastfeeding before taking this medication.
Interactions & Side Effects
- Tell your pharmacist or doctor all your medication allergies so they may determine if benztropine is safe for you to take.
- Avoid dangerous drug interactions. Tell your pharmacist or doctor all the other medication you are taking, including over the counter supplements, even if you don’t take them very often.
- Ask your doctor if this medication is safe to take with your current health conditions. Tell your doctor if you have liver or kidney disease, heart or blood pressure problems, difficulty with your urinary or gastrointestinal system, or have an eye problem called narrow-angle glaucoma.
- While taking benztropine you may feel some drowsiness, dry mouth, difficulty urinating and perhaps some constipation. If these or any other unwanted side effects persist, contact your doctor or pharmacist to talk about it with them.
- Call your doctor right away if you have any fast or irregular heartbeat, eye pain, severe dizziness or any mental or mood changes such as hallucinations, delusions or depression.
- Call emergency 911 if you have any symptoms of a heart attack such as chest and left arm pain, shortness of breath and sweating or if you have symptoms of a stroke such as weakness on one side of your body, slurred speech, sudden vision changes, and confusion.
If you have any questions about what you have heard, contact your pharmacist or doctor. This session does not include all the potential interactions or side effects that this medication may cause. Ask your pharmacist how your medication should be stored and how you should dispose of it when you are done taking it. Do not share your medication with anyone, ever. Remember, this is not meant to replace your counseling session with your pharmacist. In case of overdose, call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222.