What Is Benztropine Used For?
Benztropine is approved to treat parkinsonism, which includes Parkinson's disease and several other Parkinson-like conditions. Specifically, it is approved to treat the following:
- Parkinson's disease
- Postencephalic parkinsonism
- Arteriosclerotic parkinsonism.
(Please see Parkinsonism for more information on these different types of parkinsonism.)
Although other types of medications (typically carbidopa-levodopa medicines) are the mainstay of Parkinson's disease treatment, benztropine can be helpful when used in addition to these medications.
Benztropine is an anticholinergic medication. It works by blocking the effects of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter (a chemical in the nervous system). Normal muscle movement control requires a careful balance of acetylcholine and dopamine (another neurotransmitter). In Parkinson's disease (and with extrapyramidal disorders caused by antipsychotic medications), dopamine levels are decreased, creating an imbalance between dopamine and acetylcholine. By blocking the effects of acetylcholine, benztropine helps to re-establish a normal balance between dopamine and acetylcholine.
Benztropine also has antihistamine effects, but these effects are not considered important for treating Parkinson's disease or extrapyramidal symptoms.
Benztropine is not specifically approved for use in children, although the prescribing information warns that it should not be used in children under the age of three years old (and should be used with caution in children age three and older). Discuss the potential risks and benefits of the drug with your child's healthcare provider.