Anticholinergics – Trihexyphenidyl, benztropine, biperiden etc.

Anticholinergics: Trihexyphenidyl, Benztropine.

Brandnames in India: Pacitane, Parkin etc…

How do these medications work?

Dopamine has an enemy in the brain, called Acetylcholine. Acetylcholine actually is a good chemical with a lot of beneficial effects, but one of the things it does is to reverse some of the actions of Dopamine.

Anti-cholinergic medications
Acetyl-choline & Dopamine are both “nice” but are enemies of each other.

These medications are anticholinergic. That is, these medications by destroying the effect of acetylcholine, give Dopamine a free hand in the brain.

Uses / Advantages:

  1. There are no real advantages to the use of acetylcholine, over and above the usual Parkinson’s medications described earlier.
  2. Sometimes, symptoms like Parkinson’s disease produced by the side-effects of other medications (Medication Induced Parkinsonism). These medications are effective in that situation. But, so is Amantadine – and it is much safer.

Disadvantages:

Oh Boy!

First, they are not as effective as levodopa. And they cause serious side-effects!

I (and many other doctors) believe that Trihexyphenidyl (Pacitane) and related medications should not be used in the elderly, at least not routinely. Acetylcholine has many vital roles to play in the body, including proper functioning of the brain, passing urine and keeping your pupils at the appropriate size.

Therefore the most common, and frequently serious side-effects with the use of these medications are:

  1. Confusion – The patient may lose track of day and night. He/She gets confused easily, has trouble paying attention or remembering anything. In very severe cases, the patient can have visual hallucinations and become physically violent!
    Confusion
    Anticholinergics can cause confusion.
  2. Acute urinary retention – This happens more frequently in males. The urinary bladder fills up with urine, but because of the anticholinergics, the path for urine to get out is closed! The patient starts becoming very, very uncomfortable because of the ever-increasing size of the bladder, which causes severe abdominal pain. This sometimes requires the urgent insertion of a catheter.
    Acute urinary retention
    Anticholinergics can make it very difficult to pass urine.
  3. Glaucoma – Similar to what happens with urine, these medications can cause shut off the flow of fluid away from the eye. They make the pupil very large, blocking all the drainage pipes in the periphery of the eye. As a result, fluid keeps accumulating within the eye, and it starts becoming larger. The eye is not a very flexible, and therefore the pressure inside it increases rapidly, and this can cause severe eye pain and blindness. Immediate medical treatment is needed!
    Glaucoma
    Sometimes, anticholinergics can cause “Glaucoma” – which is uncontrolled increase in pressure inside the eye.

Bottom Line:

Who would you much rather have on your side? Arnold Schwarzenegger (Levodopa) or a potentially villanous side-kick (Trihexyphenidyl/Pacitane)?

Caution: This information is not a substitute for professional care. Do not change your medications/treatment without your doctor's permission.
Dr. Siddharth Kharkar

Dr. Siddharth Kharkar

Dr. Siddharth Kharkar has been recognized as one of the best neurologists in Mumbai by Outlook India magazine and India today Magazine. He is a board certified (American Board of Psychiatry & Neurology certified) Neurologist.

Dr. Siddharth Kharkar is a Epilepsy specialist in Mumbai & Parkinson's specialist in Mumbai, Maharashtra, India.

He has trained in the best institutions in India, US and UK including KEM hospital in Mumbai, Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, University of California at San Francisco (UCSF), USA & Kings College in London.

Call 022-4897-1800

Send Message


NeuroPlus Epilepsy & Parkinson's Clinic - Dr. Kharkar IconNeuroPlus Epilepsy & Parkinson's Clinic - Dr. Kharkar

near LIC, Dr Balabhai Nanavati hospital, near LIC, Swami Vivekananda Road, LIC Colony, Vile Parle

4.7 57 reviews

  • Avatar JAIKUMAR MANI ★★★★★ in the last week
    My experience with Dr Siddharth Kharkar was really awesome. It’s always great to be in the presence of someone who is a renowned expert in his field & … More it brings peace of mind that the advice will obviously be the correct one. In addition, his ability to convey complex workings of the human brain in such simple terms that a layman like me could easily understand was something I really appreciated. I heartily Thank Dr Kharkar for his astute advice & gladly recommend him to anyone who needs a neurologist.
  • Avatar Rohit shetye ★★★★★ 3 weeks ago
    Best Dr. we have ever meet. Dr. Listened to us patiently and gave us the proper solution. No unnecessary test or didn’t frighten us. Thank you so much … More Dr.
  • Avatar Ashish Patil ★★★★★ 4 weeks ago
    Great doctor!! Really appreciate.The doctor diagnosed me correctly and start treatment that will help me a lots to improve my condition. The doctor is … More really good, calm and his nature is down to earth, gives confidence to patient!!! Thank you!!!
  • Avatar Bianca D'silva ★★★★★ in the last week
    We had been looking for a specialist in parkinsons for a while now, for my father and when we found Dr. Siddharth Kharka's details on Google, we were … More partly relieved. Partly because, we were all very anxious not knowing how would our visit turn out. I appreciate Dr. Kharkar and his team. He was very clear in his explanations, his knowledge about parkinsons. He took the time to answer the questions we had, went over the diagnosis and started necessary treatment immediately. The only drawback we experienced was the waiting time. Overall, we left the clinic satisfied, knowing much more than when we walked in. We would highly recommend him to anyone looking for a specialist.
  • Avatar Neelam Satghare ★★★★★ 4 weeks ago
    I have visited the doctor clinic for the first timeBut he gave good advice and helped me overcomeMy doubts and queries. It was a good experience.I am very … More thankful for cooperation.
  • Avatar Nitin Ghotge ★★★★★ a month ago
    Dr.Sidharth Kharkar is one of the best neurologist i came across ....He is really genuine and focused .....We really satisfied after consultancy...
  • Avatar Krishna kumari Radhakrishnan ★★★★★ 2 months ago
    Hi Sharing my experience with Dr KharkarI had consulted with dr regarding my husband’sProblems of tremors. Dr immediately diagnosed on video consultation … More and could help him to control the tremors s of Parkinson’s disease.I found him genuinely polite and free to talk n patiently listening to the patients problem.Now my husband regained his balance n tremors controlled. Many many thanks to Dr Kharkar
  • Avatar a kumar ★★★★★ a month ago
    Dr kharkar is very nice doctor, sir explained each and every thing very nicely, and i am thankful for Dr kharkar for his treatment .
  • Avatar Nidhi Sonawane ★★★★★ 3 months ago
    I had a positive experience with the doctor. He was very sympathetic. His communication skills were good and listened with patience.
  • Avatar Ujwala Sawant ★★★★★ a month ago
    Because of Dr.kharkar sir my husband got new life. Tnx sir.
  • Avatar Mythili Balasubramanian ★★★★★ 4 months ago
    Consultation with the doctor was a very satisfying experience. Was empathetic in his approach, and responded positively to all the queries we had. Thank … More you doctor!
  • Avatar Govind Patel ★★★★★ 2 months ago
    Doctor explained very Good nice person give length time to check body
  • Avatar Sharmila Kumawat ★★★★★ 6 months ago
    Dr Siddharth is one of the best Dr I have ever met. He is kind, polite, helpful and very selfless person. I have migraine and I am his patient since more … More than 2 years. The staff is always helpful and Dr Siddharth is just beyond words for me. Thank you for ur selfless service and kindness u give to all ur patients.

1 thought on “Anticholinergics – Trihexyphenidyl, benztropine, biperiden etc.”

  1. I have read a few of the articles on your web page currently, and I like your style of blogging. I added it to my favorites blog listing and will also be checking back soon. Take a look at my site as well and let me know what you think.

    Reply

Leave a Comment

India Today Magazine - 2021Noted as one of the Best Neurologists in Mumbai