Drugs for Bipolar: Benztropine Mesylate
Benztropine mesylate (sometimes sold under the brand name Cogentin) is a drug used in treating Parkinson’s disease. It’s also used to treat tremors caused by other drugs and conditions. This includes possible parkinsonian side effects of antipsychotic medications.
This drug is usually taken at bedtime because it can cause drowsiness, but when it’s being taken for secondary parkinsonism, it might be taken 2 or 3 times a day. That means you have to be very careful about doing tasks where sleepiness could be dangerous, like driving a car.
Generally benztopine begins to work after a few days. Your doctor should monitor you for side effects and whether your parkinsonian symptoms are improving.
Take benztropine with food to avoid upset stomach.
It’s essential that you tell your doctor about all other medications you’re taking, as there can be some serious drug interactions.
Benztropine can make your skin sensitive to sunlight, so avoid prolonged or unnecessary exposure.
Tell your doctor if you are pregnant, breast-feeding, are planning a pregnancy, or become pregnant while taking benztropine. Also, tell your doctor or dentist that you are taking this drug before you have any kind of surgery.
Before accepting a prescription from your doctor for benztropine mesylate or Cogentin, tell your doctor if you have, or have ever had, kidney or liver disease; glaucoma; heart or blood pressure problems; myasthenia gravis; or problems with your urinary system, prostate, or stomach.
Don’t store benztropine in a moist environment like a bathroom.
Don’t stop taking this medication cold turkey unless ordered to do so by your doctor. Withdrawal effects can be serious.
It’s common to experience side effects while taking benztropine or Cogentin. The most common side effects are:
- dry mouth
- difficulty urinating, and
Contact your doctor immediately if you experience:
- skin rash
- fast, irregular, or pounding heartbeat
- delusions or hallucinations
- eye pain
If you experience any problem side effects of benztropine mesylate, contact your doctor right away.
Disclaimer: This is not intended to be all-inclusive or to replace information provided by your doctor or with the prescription from the manufacturer.
For more, see Benztropine Mesylate Oral at the National Institues of Health.
Marcia wrote for HealthCentral as a patient expert for Mental Disorders.