Anticholinergic Drugs

What are the Facts?

  • The oldest class of medications used to treat PD; first used in the 1900s.
  • Examples include Artane® and Cogentin®.
  • These drugs are most helpful to younger patients with PD whose chief complaint is a tremor.
  • Ethopropazine, an anticholinergic and an antihistamine, may have fewer side effects, but is not available in most U.S. pharmacies.

Anticholinergic drugs are most helpful to younger patients with tremor-predominant PD, though side effects may limit their usefulness

What are the Side Effects?

  • Confusion
  • Hallucinations
  • Decreased short-term memory
  • Dry mouth
  • Blurry vision
  • Urinary retention

Caution: PD medications may have interactions with certain foods, other medications, vitamins, herbal supplements, over the counter cold pills and other remedies.  Anyone taking a PD medication should talk to their doctor and pharmacist about potential drug interactions.

Want to Learn More?

Request a free copy of this NPF manual:
Medications

Watch this video:
Are there any interactions with non-Parkinson's disease medications?

Medical content reviewed by: Nina Browner, MD—Medical Director of the NPF Center of Excellence at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in North Carolina and by Fernando Pagan, MD—Medical Director of the NPF Center of Excellence at Georgetown University Hospital in Washington, D.C.

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