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Benztropine is used to treat symptoms of Parkinson's disease or 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). This helps decrease muscle stiffness, sweating, and the production of saliva, and helps improve walking ability in people with Parkinson's disease.
Anticholinergics can stop severe muscle spasms of the back, neck, and eyes that are sometimes caused by psychiatric drugs. It can also decrease other side effects such as muscle stiffness/rigidity (extrapyramidal signs-EPS). It is not helpful in treating movement problems caused by tardive dyskinesia and may worsen them. Benztropine should not be used in children younger than 3 years.
Take this medication by mouth, usually 2 to 4 times a day with meals and at bedtime, or as a single dose at bedtime, or as directed by your doctor. Your doctor may start you at a low dose and increase your dose slowly to find the best dose for you. The dosage is based on your medical condition, age, and response to therapy.
If you are using the oral solution, measure your dose with a special measuring spoon or device. Do not use a household spoon because it may not provide the correct dose.
Take this medication regularly in order to get the most benefit from it. To help you remember, take it at the same times each day.
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 (e.g., levodopa). Follow your doctor's instructions closely.
When used for an extended period, this medication may not work as well and may require different dosing. 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). Do not increase your dose, take it more often, or use it for a longer time than prescribed. Properly stop the medication when so directed. Some conditions may become worse when the drug is suddenly stopped. Your dose may need to be gradually decreased.
It may take 2-3 days before the benefit of this drug takes effect. Inform your doctor if your condition persists or worsens.
Drowsiness, dizziness, constipation, flushing, nausea, nervousness, blurred vision, or dry mouth may occur. These effects usually lessen as your body gets used to the medicine. If any of these effects persist or worsen, contact your doctor or pharmacist promptly.
To relieve dry mouth, suck on (sugarless) hard candy or ice chips, chew (sugarless) gum, drink water, or use a saliva substitute.
Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.
Tell your doctor right away if any of these unlikely but serious side effects occur: high fever, decreased sexual ability, severe stomach/abdominal pain, difficult/painful swallowing, difficulty urinating, weakness.
Get medical help right away if you have any very serious side effects, including: chest pain, severe dizziness/fainting, fast/irregular/slow heartbeat, mental/mood changes (e.g., confusion, hallucinations, memory problems), eye pain/swelling/redness, vision changes (such as seeing rainbows around lights at night).
A serious allergic reaction to this drug is unlikely, but seek immediate medical attention if it occurs. Symptoms of a serious allergic reaction include: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.
This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.
In the US - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or at www.fda.gov/medwatch.
In Canada - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.
Before taking benztropine, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.
This medication should not be used if you have certain medical conditions. Before using this medicine, consult your doctor or pharmacist if you have: personal or family history of glaucoma (angle-closure type), blockage of the bladder/esophagus/stomach/intestines (e.g., bowel obstruction), severe ulcerative colitis.
Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: breathing problems (e.g., asthma, emphysema), diarrhea caused by an infection, heart problems (e.g., angina, heart attack, heart failure, fast/irregular heartbeat), high/low blood pressure, intestinal problems (e.g., chronic constipation, ileus, ulcerative colitis), kidney disease, liver disease, mental/mood problems (e.g., anxiety, dementia, psychosis), certain muscle disease (myasthenia gravis), certain nerve disease (autonomic neuropathy), seizure, stomach problems (e.g., acid reflux, hiatal hernia, ulcer), stroke, overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism), problems urinating (e.g., 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 drug may make you dizzy or drowsy or blur your vision. Alcohol or marijuana can make you more dizzy or drowsy. Do not drive, use machinery, or do anything that needs alertness or clear vision until you can do it safely. Avoid alcoholic beverages. Talk to your doctor if you are using marijuana.
To minimize dizziness and lightheadedness, get up slowly when rising from a sitting or lying position.
This medication decreases saliva production, an effect that can increase gum and tooth problems (e.g., cavities, gum disease). Take special care with your dental hygiene (e.g., brushing, flossing) and have regular dental check-ups.
This drug can cause decreased sweating, which could cause a severe rise in your body temperature (hyperthermia). The risk of this serious side effect is greater in hot weather, during vigorous exercise, and/or if you drink alcohol. Drink plenty of fluids and dress lightly while in hot weather and when exercising. If you experience signs of hyperthermia such as mental/mood changes, headache, or dizziness, promptly seek cool or air-conditioned shelter and/or stop exercising, and seek immediate medical attention. Consult your doctor for more details.
Older adults may be more sensitive to the side effects of this drug, especially dizziness, drowsiness, heatstroke, memory problems, difficulty urinating, and constipation. Dizziness and drowsiness can increase the risk of falling.
Children may be more sensitive to the effects of this drug, especially effects on heart rate.
This drug should be used only when clearly needed during pregnancy. Discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor.
It is not known if this drug passes into breast milk. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.
Store the United States product at room temperature below 86 degrees F (30 degrees C) away from light and moisture.
Store the Canadian product (solution and tablets) at room temperature between 59-86 degrees F (15-30 degrees C).
Do not store any form of this drug in the bathroom. Keep all medicines away from children and pets.
Do not flush medications down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. Properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist or local waste disposal company for more details about how to safely discard your product.
Drug interactions may change how your medications work or increase your risk for serious side effects. This document does not contain all possible drug interactions. Keep a list of all the products you use (including prescription/nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicines without your doctor's approval.
This drug should not be used with the following medication because very serious interactions may occur: pramlintide.
If you are currently using the medication listed above, tell your doctor or pharmacist before starting benztropine.
Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist of all prescription and nonprescription/herbal products you may use, especially: anticholinergics/antispasmodics (e.g., belladonna alkaloids, clidinium), amantadine, certain antiarrhythmics (e.g., disopyramide, quinidine), corticosteroids (e.g., prednisone), MAO inhibitors (isocarboxazid, linezolid, methylene blue, moclobemide, phenelzine, procarbazine, rasagiline, safinamide, selegiline, tranylcypromine), motion sickness medication (e.g., meclizine, scopolamine), potassium tablets/capsules, tricyclic antidepressants (e.g., amitriptyline, doxepin).
Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking other products that cause drowsiness such as opioid pain or cough relievers (such as codeine, hydrocodone), alcohol, marijuana, drugs for sleep or anxiety (such as alprazolam, lorazepam, zolpidem), muscle relaxants (such as carisoprodol, cyclobenzaprine), or antihistamines (such as cetirizine, diphenhydramine).
Check the labels on all your medicines (such as allergy or cough-and-cold products) because they may contain ingredients that cause drowsiness. Ask your pharmacist about using those products safely.
This medication may interfere with certain medical/laboratory tests (including brain scan for Parkinson's disease), possibly causing false test results. Make sure laboratory personnel and all your doctors know you use this drug.
If someone has overdosed and has serious symptoms such as passing out or trouble breathing, call 911. Otherwise, call a poison control center right away. US residents can call their local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. Canada residents can call a provincial poison control center. Symptoms of overdose may include: unusually fast/slow heartbeat, slow/shallow breathing, unconsciousness, seizures, loss of coordination, fever, hot/dry/flushed skin, widened pupils, change in vision, change in the amount of urine, confusion, hallucinations.
If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If it is near the time of the next dose, skip the missed dose and resume your usual dosing schedule. Do not double the dose to catch up.
Do not share this medication with others.
Laboratory and/or medical tests (e.g., eye exams) should be performed periodically to monitor your progress or check for side effects. Consult your doctor for more details.
People with Parkinson's disease may have an increased risk for developing skin cancer (melanoma). If you are taking this drug to treat Parkinson's disease, tell your doctor promptly if you notice a change in the appearance or size of moles or other unusual skin changes. Ask your doctor if you should have regular skin exams.
Selected from the Licensed Solutions data included with permission and copyrighted by FDB, inc., 2014. This copyrighted material has been downloaded and Licensed data provider and is not for distribution in professional healthcare settings. This information is generalized and not intended as specific medical advice. Consult your healthcare professional before taking any drug or commencing or discontinuing any course of treatment.