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 by children younger than 3 years.
Take this medication by mouth as directed by your doctor, usually 2 to 4 times a day with meals and at bedtime or as a single dose at bedtime. 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 (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. Do not increase your dose, use 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. Tell your doctor if your condition lasts or gets worse.
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 last or get worse, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly. To minimize dizziness and lightheadedness, get up slowly when rising from a sitting or lying position. To relieve dry mouth, suck (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 you have any serious side effects, including: 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 (such as confusion, hallucinations, memory problems), eye pain/swelling/redness, vision changes (such as seeing rainbows around lights at night). A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, get medical help right away if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: 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.
Store at room temperature away from light and moisture. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep all medications 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.
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. Some products that may interact with this drug are: potassium tablets/capsules, pramlintide. 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 (cannabis), 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/lab tests (including brain scan for Parkinson's disease), possibly causing false test results. Make sure lab 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.