Highlights for benztropine

  1. Benztropine injectable solution is available as a generic drug and a brand-name drug. Brand name: Cogentin.
  2. Benztropine is available as an intramuscular (IM) or an intravenous (IV) injection. It may improve your symptoms within a few minutes of the injection. The injection is given by a healthcare provider.
  3. Benztropine can be used to treat all forms of parkinsonism. It can also be used to control some types of drug-induced disorders. These are movement disorders that may result from use of neuroleptic (antipsychotic) drugs.

Important warnings

  • Impairment warning: Benztropine can cause side effects such as drowsiness or confusion. These side effects can make you less able to perform risky tasks such as driving a vehicle or using machines.
  • Inability to sweat: Benztropine may keep your body from sweating, which means your body may not cool properly. You should take care to stay cool while using benztropine during hot weather. Your doctor can tell you more.

What is benztropine?

Benztropine is a prescription drug. It’s available as the brand-name drug Cogentin and as a generic drug. Generic drugs usually cost less. In some cases, they may not be available in every strength or form as the brand-name version.

Benztropine comes as an intravenous (IV) injection (into a vein). It’s also available as an intramuscular (IM) injection (into a muscle). Both types are given by a healthcare provider.

Benztropine may be used as part of a combination therapy. This means you may need to take it with other medications.

Why it's used

Benztropine is used to treat symptoms of parkinsonism. These include tremor, slow movement, stiffness, or balance problems.

This drug works quickly. It’s often used when parkinsonism symptoms are severe or considered an emergency.

Benztropine is also used to treat some drug-induced movements disorders. These are side effects linked to the use of neuroleptic (antipsychotic) drugs. Symptoms of these disorders include tremor, continuous spasms, and muscle contractions or loss of movement.

Benztropine should not be used to treat a side effect called tardive dyskinesia. This involves involuntary movement of the tongue, jaw, face, limbs, or torso.

How it works

Benztropine belongs to a class of drugs called anticholinergics. A class of drugs is a group of medications that work in a similar way. These drugs are often used to treat similar conditions.

Benztropine works by blocking chemicals in your body that cause the symptoms of parkinsonism or drug-induced movement disorders. This results in decreased tremors, muscle spasms, and stiffness, and better muscle control.

Benztropine side effects

Benztropine injectable solution may cause drowsiness and other side effects.

More common side effects

Some of the more common side effects that can occur with use of benztropine include:

  • fast heartbeat
  • constipation
  • nausea and vomiting
  • dry mouth
  • blurred vision
  • trouble urinating

If these effects are mild, they may go away within a few days or a couple of weeks. If they’re more severe or don’t go away, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Serious side effects

Call your doctor right away if you have serious side effects. Call 911 if your symptoms feel life-threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency. Serious side effects and their symptoms can include the following:

  • severe confusion or nervousness
  • dizziness
  • severe muscle weakness
  • being unable to sweat when feeling hot
  • numbness in the fingers
  • severe nausea and vomiting
  • changes in thinking or mental health, symptoms can include:
    • seeing, hearing, or smelling things that aren’t there (hallucinations)
    • depression
    • memory problems
    • severe confusion
    • severe nervousness
  • heat stroke, symptoms can include:
    • tiredness
    • fainting
    • dizziness
    • muscle or stomach cramps
    • nausea
    • vomiting
    • diarrhea
    • confusion
    • fever

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible side effects. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always discuss possible side effects with a healthcare provider who knows your medical history.

Benztropine may interact with other medications

Benztropine injectable solution can interact with other medications, herbs, or vitamins you might be taking. An interaction is when a substance changes the way a drug works. This can be harmful or prevent the drug from working well.

Your healthcare provider will look out for interactions with your current medications. Always be sure to tell your doctor about all medications, herbs, or vitamins you’re taking.

If you’re taking other drugs to treat parkinsonism, do not stop taking them suddenly after you start taking benztropine. If they need to be stopped, your doctor should slowly reduce their dosage over time.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs interact differently in each person, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible interactions. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always speak with your healthcare provider about possible interactions with all prescription drugs, vitamins, herbs and supplements, and over-the-counter drugs that you are taking.

Benztropine warnings

This drug comes with several warnings.

Allergies

Benztropine can cause a severe allergic reaction. Symptoms can include:

  • trouble breathing
  • swelling of your throat, tongue, lips, or face
  • hives
  • rash

Benztropine can also cause a milder allergic reaction. Symptoms can include a skin rash. In some cases, this will go away if the dosage is reduced. In other cases, the drug may need to be stopped.

If you have an allergic reaction, call your doctor or local poison control center right away. If your symptoms are severe, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room.

Don’t take this drug again if you’ve ever had an allergic reaction to it. Taking it again could be fatal (cause death).

Alcohol interaction

The use of drinks that contain alcohol raises your risk of drowsiness caused by benztropine.

Warnings for people with certain health conditions

For people who sweat too little: Benztropine raises your risk of not being able to sweat when your body needs to cool off.

For people with tardive dyskinesia: Benztropine can make this condition worse. Tardive dyskinesia involves involuntary movement of the face and jaw. It’s caused by use of other drugs, such as phenothiazines.

For people with glaucoma: Benztropine may worsen glaucoma (an eye disease that can cause blindness).

Warnings for other groups

For pregnant women: Benztropine is a category C pregnancy drug. That means two things:

  1. Research in animals has shown adverse effects to the fetus when the mother takes the drug.
  2. There haven’t been enough studies done in humans to be certain how the drug might affect the fetus.

Talk to your doctor if you’re pregnant or planning to become pregnant. This drug should only be used if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus.

For women who are breastfeeding: It’s not known if benztropine may pass into breast milk and cause side effects in a child who is breastfed.

Talk to your doctor if you breastfeed your child. You may need to decide whether to stop breastfeeding or stop taking this medication.

For seniors: For seniors (ages 65 years and over), your doctor will likely start you on a low dose of benztropine. They will likely increase it only as needed and monitor you closely for side effects.

For children: This drug should not be used in children younger than 3 years. In children older than 3 years, there is an increased risk of side effects. Benztropine should be closely monitored by the child’s doctor if used in children in this age range.

How to take benztropine

Your doctor will determine a dosage that’s right for you based on your individual needs, as well as your age and weight. Some people benefit more from an entire dose given at bedtime. Others benefit more from a dose divided and given at different times during the day.

Your general health may affect your dosage. Tell your doctor about all health conditions you have before your healthcare provider administers the drug to you.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this list includes all possible dosages. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always speak with your doctor or pharmacist about dosages that are right for you.

Take as directed

Benztropine is typically used for long-term treatment. However, it may be used short-term in some cases.

Benztropine comes with risks if you don’t take it as prescribed.

If you stop taking the drug suddenly or don’t take it at all: Your condition may abruptly get worse if you stop receiving benztropine suddenly. If you don’t receive it at all, your condition won’t be well-controlled.

If you miss doses or don’t take the drug on schedule:Your medication may not work as well or may stop working completely. For this drug to work well, a certain amount needs to be in your body at all times.

If you take too much: You could have dangerous levels of the drug in your body. Symptoms of an overdose of this drug can include:

  • muscle weakness
  • trouble coordinating muscles
  • fast heartbeat
  • heart skipping beats
  • hallucinations (sensing things that aren’t there)
  • convulsions (rapid tightening and relaxing of muscles, causing the body to shake)
  • confusion

If you think you’ve taken too much of this drug, call your doctor or local poison control center. If your symptoms are severe, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room right away.

What to do if you miss a dose: Call your doctor right away to find out what you should do.

How to tell if the drug is working: Your symptoms of parkinsonism or drug-induced movement disorders should improve.

Important considerations for taking benztropine

Keep these considerations in mind if your doctor prescribes benztropine for you.

Administration

  • Ask your doctor how often you should take this drug.
  • You may get the most benefit from this drug by taking the entire dose of benztropine at bedtime. Or you may feel better taking it in divided doses, two to four times a day. Talk to your doctor about which option is best for you.
  • Administration of benztropine typically takes one or two minutes.
  • Benztropine may make you dizzy or sleepy. You may need a friend or loved one to drive you home after your injection.
  • You should not drive or use machinery while you’re on this medication until you know how this drug affects you.

Clinical monitoring

Benztropine may cause mental confusion, excitement, nervousness, or hallucinations. If you’re receiving benztropine, your doctor may monitor you carefully to make sure that you don’t have these side effects.

Travel

Talk to your doctor if you have travel plans that may interfere with your next scheduled benztropine dose. To avoid missing an injection, you may have to schedule it at a clinic in the location where you are traveling.

Insurance

Many insurance companies require a prior authorization for this drug. This means your doctor will need to get approval from your insurance company before your insurance company will pay for the prescription.

Disclaimer: Healthline has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up-to-date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or other healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.