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Anticholinergic Drugs

What Are the Facts?

  • Anticholinergics are the oldest class of medications used to treat PD; they were first used in the 1900s.
  • Examples of this type of drug 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.

Page reviewed by Dr. Joash Lazarus, NPF Movement Disorders Fellow, Department of Neurology at Emory University School of Medicine.