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The Anticholinergics are a group of medications that block the actions of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that is found throughout the body's nervous system. In psychiatry, these medications are used primarily to help manage the extrapyramidal side-effects that can be caused by other medications, such as Typical Antipsychotics.

Commonly used Anticholinergics include:

  • Trihexyphenidyl
  • Benztropine
  • Procyclidine
  • Diphenhydramine

Anticholingeric medications tend to cause a variety of side-effects of their own, especially when used in doses that are too high. These side-effects include (but are not limited to):

  • dry mouth and throat
  • decreased perspiration, which can lead to hyperthermia
  • dilated pupils, which can lead to sensitivity to bright light
  • blurred or double vision
  • increased heart rate
  • urinary retention (difficulty urinating)
  • constipation
  • unsteadiness
  • confusion and disorientation, especially in elderly individuals
  • difficulty concentrating
  • memory problems
  • delirium