Cogentin is a prescription drug approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1954 to treat motor symptoms in all forms of Parkinsonism. Cogentin is often prescribed to younger people with Parkinson’s Disease. Cogentin is also referred to by its drug name, benztropine mesylate.
Cogentin is not suitable for use in people with tardive dyskinesia or angle-closure glaucoma, or who have previously shown hypersensitivity to benztropine mesylate. Cogentin must be used with caution in people with mental disorders, enlarged prostate, fast heart rate (tachycardia), liver or kidney disease, or problems with the heart, stomach, or blood pressure. Cogentin may not be appropriate for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Cogentin is a member of a class of drugs called anticholinergics. Cogentin is believed to work by influencing the balance of brain chemicals called neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters enable the transmission of messages between nerves.
Some medications are available both as generic and branded products. Although generic and branded formulations of a drug contain the same active ingredients at the same concentrations, your body may react differently to different formulations. Check with your doctor before switching between drug brands or between generic and branded drugs.
How do I take it?
Cogentin may be taken orally or as an injection. Orally, Cogentin tablets are taken one to four times a day. If you only take Cogentin once a day, take it at bedtime. Take Cogentin tablets at the same time or times each day with food or milk to prevent stomach upset. Be sure to drink plenty of water while taking Cogentin. Cogentin may also be given as an intramuscular or intravenous injection once a day.
Do not drink alcohol while you are taking Cogentin. Alcohol can increase the intensity of some side effects.
Avoid driving or operating machinery while using Cogentin until you understand how it affects you.
Cogentin may cause you to stop sweating, also known as anhidrosis. Consult your doctor about changing your dosage of Cogentin during hot weather.
Cogentin may increase your skin’s sensitivity to sunlight. Protect your skin and eyes from prolonged exposure to the sun while taking Cogentin.
Do not stop using Cogentin suddenly. If you decide to stop using Cogentin, form a plan with your doctor for gradually tapering off your dosage to avoid withdrawal symptoms.
Always follow your doctor’s instructions exactly when taking Cogentin.
A 2009 article reviewed the results of nine clinical trials investigating the effectiveness and tolerability of anticholinergics such as benztropine mesylate (Cogentin) for motor symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease. The review covered the results of nine trials with a total of 221 participants. Researchers concluded that anticholinergics are an effective treatment for motor symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease, especially tremors, but cause significant mental side effects.
Common side effects of Cogentin include drowsiness, dry mouth, difficulty or pain during urination, constipation, memory problems, nervousness, agitation, numbness in the fingers, or weakness in certain muscle groups such as the neck. Cogentin may cause some symptoms of mental disorders to become more intense. Tell your doctor if these side effects become worse.
Inform your doctor immediately if you experience a fast, pounding, or uneven heartbeat, fever, vomiting, weight loss, depression, extreme weakness, confusion, hallucinations, impulsive or psychotic behavior, vision changes, or eye pain while taking Cogentin.
Many drugs can cause allergic reactions that in the most serious cases, can result in death. Seek immediate medical help if you experience signs of a severe allergic reaction such as hives, difficulty breathing, or swelling in the face, throat, eyes, lips, or tongue.