Precautions and Warnings With Benztropine
There are several precautions and warnings with benztropine to be aware of before starting this medication. These precautions relate to topics such as pregnancy risks, drug interactions, and potential side effects. Precautions and warnings with benztropine also apply to people who have certain allergies, who are under the age of three years old, or who have certain health conditions (such as glaucoma, a rapid heart rate, or an enlarged prostate).
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You should talk with your healthcare provider prior to taking benztropine mesylate (Cogentin®) if you have:
- Difficulty passing urine
- An enlarged prostate (also known as benign prostatic hyperplasia, or BPH)
- Tardive dyskinesia (a specific type of extrapyramidal symptoms due to antipsychotic medications)
- An alcohol problem
- A rapid heart rate (tachycardia)
- A job that requires you to do manual labor in the heat
- Any allergies, including allergies to foods, dyes, or preservatives.
Also, let your healthcare provider know if you are:
- Pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant
Make sure to tell your healthcare provider about any medications you are taking, including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.
Some of the warnings and precautions to be aware of prior to taking benztropine include the following:
- Benztropine can cause drowsiness, confusion, or other mental problems that may interfere with your ability to drive or operate heavy machinery.
- Benztropine can inhibit the body's ability to cool itself by sweating. This can lead to heat stroke, especially in hot weather. People with alcohol problems and people who work in the heat may be especially prone to heat stroke. Let your healthcare provider know if you think this may be a problem for you (as it can be quite dangerous).
- Benztropine can worsen (or even cause) glaucoma, bladder or prostate problems, or a rapid heart rate. If you have such problems, benztropine may not be right for you.
- Benztropine should never be used to treat tardive dyskinesia. Not only is benztropine ineffective for this use, it can actually make tardive dyskinesia worse.
- Benztropine can cause hallucinations (seeing, hearing, or feeling things that are not really there) or other psychological problems. Let your healthcare provider know if you develop hallucinations while taking benztropine.
- Benztropine can cause confusion, memory loss, or other Alzheimer's-like symptoms.
- Benztropine can potentially interact with several medications (see Drug Interactions With Benztropine).
- Benztropine is usually considered a pregnancy Category C medication. This means that it may not be safe for use during pregnancy, although the full risks are not known (see Cogentin and Pregnancy).
- It is not known if benztropine passes through breast milk. Therefore, if you are breastfeeding or plan to start breastfeeding, discuss this with your healthcare provider prior to taking the drug (see Cogentin and Breastfeeding).