Anticholinergics - Benefits, dosage and side effects

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Anticholinergics - Benefits, dosage and side effects
Anticholinergics - Benefits, dosage and side effects

Anticholinergics are a group of drugs to treat various conditions, from urinary incontinence, Parkinson's disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), to diarrhea

Anticholinergics work by blocking acetylcholine, which is a signal-conducting chemical between nerve cells (neurotransmitters). This way of working will affect many organs, including the heart muscle, lungs, gastrointestinal tract, to the urinary tract, so it can be used to treat various conditions.

Drug, Prescription, For, Treatment, Medication., Pharmaceutical, Medicament,, Cure, In, Container
Drug, Prescription, For, Treatment, Medication., Pharmaceutical, Medicament,, Cure, In, Container

Drugs belonging to the anticholinergic group can be used alone or in combination with other drugs. Anticholinergic drugs may be used to treat the following medical conditions:

  • Complaints from an overactive bladder, such as a sudden urge to urinate, inability to hold the urge to urinate, or incontinence
  • Digestive disorders, such as nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, stomach ulcers, or irritable bowel syndrome
  • Tremor experienced by people with Parkinson's disease
  • Asthma or COPD
  • Difficulty sleeping, anxiety disorders, depression, or schizophrenia
  • Uveitis or inflammation of the middle layer of the eye
  • Poisoning with certain foods, drugs, or chemicals, such as insecticides
  • Symptoms or complaints due to allergic reactions, especially for antihistamine drugs with anticholinergic effects

Anticholinergic drugs are available in various dosage forms, including tablets, capsules, syrups, gels, solutions, injections, patches, and suppositories. This medicine is only used according to the doctor's prescription.

Warning Before Using Anticholinergic Drugs

There are several things that need to be considered before using anticholinergic drugs, namely:

  • Do not use anticholinergic drugs if you are allergic to this class of drugs.
  • Tell your doctor if you have intestinal obstruction, urinary tract obstruction, benign prostate enlargement, glaucoma, Alzheimer's disease, hyperthyroidism, or myasthenia gravis. Anticholinergic drugs should not be used by patients with this condition.
  • Tell your doctor if you have dry mouth, constipation, heart failure, fast heart rate, liver disease, hiatal hernia, or Down's syndrome.
  • Tell your doctor if you are taking certain supplements, herbal products, or medications, such as allergy medications or antidepressants
  • Tell your doctor if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or planning a pregnancy.
  • Limit activities in hot temperatures and those that are prone to triggering you to sweat. Anticholinergic drugs can reduce the body's ability to produce sweat, which can trigger heat stroke.
  • Do not do activities that require alertness, such as driving a vehicle, as this medicine can cause drowsiness, dizziness, or blurred vision.
  • Do not consume alcoholic beverages while undergoing treatment with anticholinergic drugs, because it can increase the risk of side effects.
  • See your doctor immediately if you have an allergic reaction, serious side effects, or overdose after taking anticholinergic drugs.

Side Effects and Dangers of Anticholinergic Drugs

Some of the side effects that may occur after using anticholinergic drugs are dry mouth, dry eyes, fast heart rate, dizziness, drowsiness, insomnia, constipation, or restlessness. Immediately go to the doctor if the side effects that have been mentioned do not subside or get worse.

You should also see a doctor immediately if you have an allergic reaction to the drug, or a more serious side effect, such as:

  • Unable to urinate (urinary retention)
  • Lost memory
  • Seizure
  • Visibility problems, such as blurred vision or blurred vision
  • Hyperthermia
  • Hallucinations
  • Delirium

Types of Anticholinergic Drugs

Anticholinergic drugs can be divided into primary anticholinergic drugs and other drugs that have anticholinergic effects. Dosage and function will vary. Anticholinergic drugs should only be used according to a doctor's prescription. The following is a description of the types of anticholinergic drugs:

Primary anticholinergic

Primary anticholinergics are often also referred to as pure anticholinergics. Drugs that fall into this category are indeed used to inhibit the action of acetylcholine in some special conditions. Examples of drugs that are included are:

  • Atropine, to treat uveitis and reduce the production and secretion of saliva and mucus in the respiratory tract, during surgery
  • Darifenacin, to treat urinary incontinence
  • Aclidinium or ipratropium to treat respiratory disorders, such as asthma and symptoms of chronic pneumonia
  • Trihexyphenidyl and benztropine mesylate, to relieve symptoms of Parkinson's disease or treat side effects of antipsychotic drugs
  • Oxybutynin, to treat overactive bladders.
  • Scopolamine, to treat stomach cramps and relieve symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome
  • Glycopyrrolate, to reduce excessive salivation due to cerebral palsy

Other drugs containing anticholinergics

Drugs belonging to this type have anticholinergic activity, but are generally used for different functions and purposes from the primary anticholinergic types. Some examples of drugs that fall into this category are:

1. Antihistamines

Antihistamines are drugs intended to relieve symptoms and complaints due to allergic reactions. However, several types of drugs in this class have anticholinergic activity or effects, so they can be used to relieve nausea or vomiting due to motion sickness. Antihistamine drugs that have anticholinergic effects are:

  • Brompheniramine
  • Doxylamine
  • Chlorpheniramine
  • Cyproheptadine
  • Diphenhydramine
  • Meclizine
  • Dimenhydrinate
  • Promethazine
  • Hydroxyzine

2. Antipsychotic

Antipsychotic drugs are used to help relieve symptoms of psychosis due to schizophrenia or other mental disorders. This medicine should only be used according to a doctor's prescription.

Types of antipsychotic drugs that have anticholinergic effects include:

  • Chlorpromazine
  • Mesoridazine
  • Clozapine
  • Olanzapine
  • Thioridazine
  • Quetiapine

3. Tricyclic Antidepressants

Tricyclic antidepressants are intended to relieve symptoms of depression and bipolar. In addition, this group of drugs can also be used in the treatment of obsessive compulsive disorder, anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), or panic attacks.

Tricyclic antidepressant drugs that have anticholinergic effects are:

  • Amitriptyline
  • Amoxapine
  • Clomipramine
  • Desipramine
  • Doxepin
  • Nortriptyline
  • Imipramine
  • Protriptyline

4. Antispasmodic

Antispasmodics are generally prescribed by doctors to control symptoms in people with irritable bowel syndrome. Antispasmodic drugs that have anticholinergic effects include:

  • Clidinium
  • Dicyclomine
  • Hyoscyamine
  • Propantheline

5. Mydriatic Medicine

Mydriatic is a group of drugs used to dilate the pupil of the eye. This medication is usually used before eye exams and to treat uveitis or inflammation of the eye.

Types of mydriatic drugs that have anticholinergic effects include:

  • Cyclopentolate
  • Homatropine
  • Tropicamide

In addition to the drugs above, there are other drugs that also have anticholinergic effects, such as carbamazepine, cyclobenzaprine, or orphenadrine. Carbamazepine is used to control and prevent seizures due to epilepsy, while cyclobenzaprine and orphenadrine are used to relieve muscle spasms.